The bumps on the road are stepping stones

Something very special happens when you take responsibility for your life and personal evolution, and set goals in all three major arenas: body, mind, and spirit/emotions.

It is IMPOSSIBLE to keep all three arenas going simultaneously without boring deeply into your true self.  Your problems, issues, and obstacles will manifest somewhere along the way.  By noticing the patterns of avoidance, you will begin to use “failures” as X-rays that peer inside you, or “mirrors” that let you examine the back of your own head.

I had a client who was over a hundred pounds overweight.   We noticed that every time he started a new weight-loss regimen, it was successful for the first twenty pounds.  Then…his work would explode.  Either something particularly good or extremely bad would happen. The stress would knock him off center as he rushed to take advantage of the opportunity, or patch the leak.   Why?  Because from his internal values, his work was more important than his health, so his ego, unwilling to change (fear of death) knew that it could use that aspect of his life to distract him from the discipline necessary to dig deeper.

Why?   Fear.   What kind of fear?   I can think of multiple possibilities:

  1. Fear of being physically smaller (being attacked or unnoticed)
  2. Fear of releasing trapped emotions (anger, fear)
  3. Fear of being more attractive (found this one more often with women.  Literally: “if I’m skinny, men will be attracted to me.   I will be hurt/vulnerable/cheat on my spouse/ etc.)
  4. Fear of being more attractive II: (I resent my spouse and will withhold my sensuality/sexuality from them)

Those are off the top of my head.   You can probably think of a dozen more.  And there are similar negatives that emerge concerning finance, love, career. And unless you see them, you are stumbling around in a dark room filled with sharp objects.  Even worse, you are numb to the pain, and cannot feel the damage until it is too late to staunch the wounds.

The answer?   

  1. Start with loving yourself.   BEGIN there.   Know that everything else flows from this.
  2. Ask “who am I?”   In other words: how has this love manifested in the world? The deepest level is love, but our experiences shape us into both healthy and unhealthy expressions.
  3. When we find a pattern of broken self-promises, it is a matter of conflicted values and beliefs, emotional obstructions or concealed secondary benefits.  By grounding yourself in love, you find your power and strength. By asking ‘who am I?’ you clarify your value, which will lead to your goals and actions.   What you DO is who you ARE in the world.  If your actions do not reflect your values, and will not lead to your goals, you get a schematic, a road map of your inner world–warts and all.
  4. Forgive yourself for not being perfect.  None of us are.  Never met a human being who aligned 100% with their goals, values, beliefs, emotions and actions.  And I’ve known some extraordinary people.  What we DO see is high efficiency and effectiveness–but not perfection.
  5. Commit to taking small actions every day that will teach you who and what you are, and what the world is.  And then gather the allies and knowledge necessary to slowly, slowly move you in the directions of your goals.
  6. Have fun along the way.    EVERY DAY you should learn something, improve something, enjoy something.  Aim at changing 1% a week, minimum.   Care about all three areas of your life minimum (for me, its four–body, mind, spirit/emotions, finances) and watch the static and “chop” arising from Kshir Sagar  halahala (my Hindu is nonexistent, but this is roughly the translation of the term “ocean of poisoned milk”, the vomiting up of our damage, fears and the “demons” within us. This ocean can be purified by daily discipline, asana, devotion, prayer, etc.)
  7. Remember that the obstacles appear because you are progressing. The ego thinks it is you. Shed a false shell, manifest a purer, truer self and the old shell “dies”.   It will try to slow you by using fear, lust, pleasure, or pain. Whatever works. It has a different recipe for every human being, and a different menu every day.  Only by watching your patterns over time will you start seeing what is happening, and stop thinking you are dealing with totally different things every time.  LOOK FOR THE DEEP PATTERNS.
  8. Positive emotions are rooted in love.  You can be distracted in this fashion.  Dig deep: love of what?  Your very finest nature?  Does this love make you stronger? Are you proud of it?  Would you proclaim it from the rooftops, or do you need to hide it in the shadows?  Are you in a context where you can righteously proclaim your love and true self?
  9. Negative emotions are rooted in fear.  You can be distracted in this fashion.  Dig deep?  Fear of what?   Change?  Death?   Rejection?  Loss?  Fear is a survival drive–is it reasonable to be afraid of this? Does this fear stop you from being a loving Steven Barnes and wife Tananarive Due on beach.person?
  10. As you “churn” the poisoned ocean, you will create floating islands of butter.   Hah!  That just slipped out, but I like it.   Climb up on the butter, sit quietly, and contemplate your life. This is meditation or journaling, some sense of centered flow in the midst of the constant action. Rest.  Restoration.  Sleep deeply.  Love fully. Laugh like a jackass.  Let it go.  And then…when you are connected to love, can clearly see your goal on the horizon, are deeply rested, have aligned your values, beliefs, and emotions…

Get back in there and start swimming.




One comment

  1. I agree the bumps are stepping stones. As you write. reaching for perfection is a waste of time, and keeps one from moving along their path. I read in “Kale & Coffee” to give myself a 100 year plan, to help see the long game, and to understand that the process involves repeating patterns that work. Thankfully, we are never finished, but always are floating on our path. It’s a great idea to take some stress out of reaching goals in life.


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