What to do when you give it your best shot but nothing is working
There are basically three options:
1. Give up. Pretend you don't care. Ignore your feelings and just do your best to enjoy life as it is.
This usually results in engaging in addictive patterns like: people-pleasing, over-eating, over-spending, over-working, relationship drama, drinking, gambling, excessive facebooking, etc.
Eventually you have no time or energy to wonder about your dreams anymore anyway.
2. Stand your ground. Be firm. Make a commitment to MAKE IT HAPPEN.
Focus on the external and work your ass off to change your life. Follow all of the expert advice and work harder.
Eventually you'll either get what you wanted and then wonder why it's not as fulfilling as you'd hoped it would be or you'll burn out from exhaustion.
3. Trust the process. Focus on your inner world. Embrace the journey.
Bringing a dream to life is a healing journey, you have to follow the journey and do your best to not judge it. Assume that everything is happening to serve you in the journey, stay curious about why things are going the way they are going.
Eventually you'll either get your dream or you won't or you'll find a new dream. Either way you'll end up more connected to your self, more creative, more intuitive, more grounded and much, much happier.
So the way I see it #3 is actually the only option.
But that doesn't mean I always take option #3.If you follow me on Instagram you already know that I love skating.
Winnipeg in winter is magical. The river turns into this little enchanted village along the skating path. Every year there's an art + architecture contest where people from around the world design "warming huts" - small structures that go up along the river so people can go in and be protected from the wind. So as you're skating along the river there are all of these works of art that you can go inside to take a rest.
Last year I re-structured my days so I could so skating almost every weekday at sunset.
I'm not a good skater, in fact before last year I hadn't skated in about 30 years. I fell a lot and when I was moving I wasn't moving very fast.
But that didn't matter, I had an amazing time.
This year I was starting to get better at skating. I was moving faster and hardly ever falling. This year I have an awesome boyfriend who goes skating with me. This year I was having so much fun on the river!
But then my back started hurting. Like, really hurting.
Determined to not miss out on any of my winter joy, I went to a network chiropractor, thinking a few sessions would fix me up and I'd be back on the ice in no time.
I was wrong.
I mean, the treatment helped right from the beginning.
But it didn't just fix me up and get me back in my skates.
The next thing I knew I was in a "healing process" which was the last place I wanted to be.It was awful. As the network chiropractic treatments were working to unwind my lower back and hips sometimes my shoulders and upper back would stiffen up in response.
Sometimes I'd start to get a little better and I'd be optimistic about getting back in my skates and then wake up the next morning barely able to un-fold my back and get out of bed.
And I was so incredibly tired. Never mind skating, just going out for coffee felt like too much most days.
I was frustrated and miserable and fighting the process every step of the way.
I was taking option #2 except there was nothing I could, like, DO to change my situation. So I was just mentally being all "I'm fine! This is no big deal. I'll be better tomorrow" which means I wasn't being present with what was actually happening. I wasn't in the process.
I was seeing the process as the enemy - I wanted it done. I wanted to feel normal again.
I felt sorry for myself and tried to fight against how tired I was and still do the things I wanted to do.
Of course, fighting the process doesn't tend to make it go faster.And it wasn't until I could embrace the fact that I was in a healing process that I started to see improvements in my back.
The funny thing is that embracing the healing process looked like:
- taking lots of epsom salt baths
- daily nap
- more time reading in bed
- going to bed crazy early (which I love)
- more quiet
Once I embraced it I wondered why I was ever fighting it. I enjoyed the permission to slow down.
And then I pretty quickly started feeling better.
All of the magic is in option #3 but it won't reveal itself until it's time to reveal itself.This is a question that comes up from time to time in the Creative Dream Circle and it has come up again now.
One of my members has been giving it her all, making the most of the tools in the Circle really diving in and doing the inner work for the past five months and.... nothing is changing.
She isn't any closer to her dream.
So we had a live coaching call yesterday and she asked me what to do about it and we're continuing that conversation in our forum this week. (For Circle members, join our conversation about it right here)
Conventional wisdom says, like in my story above, that when nothing else works it's time to surrender.Except surrender is the worst.
In the story I shared above the journey was asking me to surrender in pretty small ways but I still fought it pretty hard.
Because giving up control is the worst.
Except we're not actually in control anyway so giving up the illusion of control is actually super empowering.
So how does this help you when you're in that hard place and surrender is too scary?I remember being in a REALLY rough spot. Sitting on my kitchen floor, crying.
I was doing my best to take option #3 but not only was my life not changing in the ways I wanted it to it was actually getting worse.
Everything was falling apart.
And I asked myself this question: "WHAT IF everything ACTUALLY WAS happening for my highest good? What then?"
That question opened something up inside me.
What if things were falling apart so something new could be born?
What if the universe actually was literally dreaming a bigger dream for me than the one I was dreaming for myself? Like what if that's not some bullshit platitude but a real thing that means I can't even see the bigger dream?
What if I stopped trying to control the process?
I'd love to say that from that moment on everything just magically came together for me, but it didn't.I had to take each and every step on the path - even the crappy steps.
I had to work through all the stuff I had to work through.
And yes I got to where I wanted to be. And yes it took way longer than I wanted it to.
But all those crappy steps taught me and stretched me and grew me in the ways I needed in order to get to where I am today.
Just because you're not SEEING progress does not mean you're not MAKING progress.
Ask yourself: WHAT IF everything ACTUALLY IS happening for your highest good? What then?