Yesterday when I checked my voicemail, there was a message from Margaret, a customer in one of my businesses. She calls rather frequently as she struggles with technology, and when something doesn’t work, her first instinct is to call me to walk her through the issue. Typically, I call her right back, we spend 10 minutes to click a checkbox or something, she apologizes profusely for not seeing something so obvious, and I justify this time-suck as a “small cost of doing business.”
So upon hearing her long-winded message, my stomach sank. Ugh. Not again. Reflexively, I hit the re-dial button to connect with her, rationalizing how I should just call her and get this over with as quickly as possible.
Her phone rang once before I realized what I was really doing. I hung up.
The simple truth is that in that moment, I did not want to call her back. I could list all the reasons to justify my feelings (and you would likely be nodding in agreement with me), but it’s the very habit of justifying our feelings that takes us further from having our desires.
Here’s how these dynamics played out in my example…
Even though I could feel myself bristling very clearly when dialing the phone, not calling her back wasn’t an option. Right? Well, that’s how it seemed to me. Allow me to list my perfectly logical reasons why I simply HAD to call her back…
First, I am a good, helpful person. I help people. That’s what good people do. She needed my help. So I needed to call her and help her.
Second, Margaret’s a customer. Gotta keep the customers happy. Timely service is good customer service. And I am good person, remember?
Third, (and likely most important to me) by using my service, her company puts a few dollars in my pocket every month. In other words, she’s paying me. Cash money. And because there’s money involved, well, everyone knows that every so often (or perhaps, always), you just gotta suck it up, bite that bullet, and do some shit you’d really rather not do. That’s just how money works, right? And to the larger point, isn’t that just how life works?
Well, recently I hit my threshold of approaching my life this way. I’m weary of biting the bullet in hopes of feeling some relief later on. The main reason (which I’ll expand on further in a moment) is that in the longview, this strategy never really works out. Biting the bullet just cracks my teeth.
So I’ve decided to give up. To quit. To surrender. In this context, I’ve decided that to the best of my ability, I’m going to enter the practice of doing only what I want to do — what feels better to ME — in every moment.
The most fascinating thing about diving into this decision is noticing how many butterflies the thought launches within me.
Whoa… Can I really do this?
Um, should I really do this?
Sounds kinda risky, for sure…
Oh, phucket! Something about this feels so right… like complete letting go and relief.
Yes. I’m in.
Back to my example, after hanging up the phone and not connecting with my customer, I rose from my office chair and walked outside to my garden (I really love seeing things grow). Back in the house, I stepped into gym and did 30 minutes of Pilates exercises to awaken my body. I mixed up a wonderful fruit smoothie and returned to my desk where my phone blinked with another voicemail from Margaret. Picking up, I listened to her laughing, telling me she’d figured it out, all was well, and to disregard her past message.
Now this may not seem like a big deal. But to me… well, this was kinda huge. This was the evidence I’d asked for.
By setting aside my logical programming regarding what “I had to do” in favor of what felt better to me, my desire was fulfilled. And I really like having my desires fulfilled, especially in ways that feel the easiest to me. While deep in my bones, I know how easy my life can be, up until now I’ve still been entertaining the voice that lectures how a life of freedom isn’t really free, especially on “big” subjects like relationships and money.
I think if you decide to start paying attention to all the times you do things you don’t really want to do — for whatever reason — you’ll notice that you’re doing things that you don’t really want to do A LOT. And it’s perfectly understandable.
Most of us were taught that you had to shovel a some shit today if you were to hope for a flower or two tomorrow. Most of us have interpreted our experiences to conclude that it’s what we DO that determines what we GET (rather than who were are choosing to BE). While these belief systems still dominate, there’s also an emerging subculture that’s awakened to the truth that suffering is optional, that the purpose of life is to be free and have fun, and that you never have to justify your desires in any way, ever. And, of course, these are the folks I am writing this for…
Now the big cultural taboo pushing against the idea of doing exactly what you want is the looming accusation that would indeed make you THE SELFISH ONE. The one with the audacity to be happy all the time. The one who believes that if they take care of their own happiness by prioritizing it, that they have a full tank of happiness to freely share with others. The one who’s not willing to swim around in the suffering, the self-sacrificing, and the continual grumbling like all the rest.
Look closely and you’ll notice that those who would bother to call you selfish for following what makes YOU happy are only irked because you’re not living the way THEY want you to. So who’s really the selfish one in this scenario? If you want to feel the freedom of living in the full faith of your intuition, you’ll just have to get over any concerns about “them.”
Make no mistake, doing exactly what you want to do is not always easy. Paying attention to how you feel and acting in alignment with your preferences takes effort. It’s work. It’s THE work. The truth is because it’s work, because it takes deep courage, most people aren’t interested in the adventure of creating their lives on purpose. And that’s all well and good.
However, if you are interested in the very real possibility of living in total alignment with your preferences, you’ll want to explore the real reason you don’t trust yourself to do exactly what you want. I’ll give you a hint to start…
The real reason you don’t trust yourself to do exactly what you want to do is because you fear you would lose something.
Here’s the awareness that gave me the confidence to let go in ways I’d never allowed before… When you live in the fear of losing something, you can never feel the freedom of really having it.
When you don’t allow yourself to let go and stop pushing in your approach to your desires, those desires remain at arm’s length from you, just out of your grasp. Metaphysically speaking, when you resist the idea of NOT having something, it moves away from you. In other words, if you’re pushing to get something because you don’t want to feel its absence in your life, that desire will continue feel elusive to you. (For instance, if you’re working to get more money so you don’t feel poor, you’ll never feel like you have enough money). So as always, the key to allowing yourself to have what you want now, is to drop your resistance by letting go.
If you resonate with the idea of doing only what you want to do all the time, then take a moment to think about a specific aspect of your life where you’d really like to let go… Consider the soldiers of reason that arise, ostensibly to protect you from doing something foolish, if you were really to allow yourself to do exactly what you wanted in any given moment.
Would your source of money evaporate and leave you worrying about money?
Would someone not like you, or maybe leave you?
Would you eat yourself into the shape where they’d have to roll you into your grave?
Would your business go down the tubes while you sat on the beach, eating grapes and reading a good book?
Would you wreck your relationship by jumping on top of anyone who would have you?
When you identify your chief concern if you really allowed yourself to do what YOU wanted in any given moment, I’ll wager that you’re already dealing with that concern.
In running this revelation past my wife, she told me the story about a woman she’d just connected with who was afraid of letting go of her emotions. She was angry and afraid that if she let go, she’d tell everyone around her exactly how she felt and be perceived as a bitch. It took courage for her to admit this, and yet it was clear to all around her that by trying to stifle her feelings and desires for so long, she was already acting like a bitch for a long time now. The logical straw man she wanted to protect herself from had already taken up residence in her living room.
Likewise, if you fear that you’d eat every cookie in sight, you’re already torturing yourself with negotiations over every cookie you allow yourself. If you’re worried that you would never work in your business, you’re likely always worrying about how your not working enough in your business now. If your concern was that you’d run wild and ruin your relationship, you’re already concerned about your relationship. The point is that despite your fears and your best defenses to protect you from yourself, the fox is already living in the henhouse.
Biting the bullet only continues to break your teeth.
Returning to my example with Margaret, the bottom line as to why I reflexively called her back was because I didn’t want to lose the money she represented as a customer. While this makes some logical sense, I know that the whole reason I want lots of money is to feel the freedom I believe having that money would bring. Yet even though my desire is to feel free, I picked up my phone with a heavy sense of obligation, somehow believing that if I carried the cross of worrying about and working hard for my money long enough, someday I would reach the freedom-filled promised land where I didn’t have to worry about money. And I’ve awakened to see what total bullshit this is.
You don’t suffer or worry your way to freedom. That math just doesn’t add up. Instead, you decide to be free, and then freedom expands all around you. And deciding to be free means choosing to live in alignment with taking actions that feel free to YOU.
Now I know the idea that you can live very, very well by doing exactly what you want pushes people’s buttons. By now you’re likely either dismissing the idea out of hand (“This is not possible.”), or you’re quite attracted it (“Hmmmn. What if…?”). Either is fine, and I’m not trying to win over any skeptics.
In this piece, I’ve tried to lay out how the dynamics of letting go work and made the case as to how the logical excuses we use to keep ourselves “safe” don’t really hold water. If you can hear what I’ m saying here, and you feel the thrilling spark of resonance in the idea of Letting Go, then the next step is to begin experimenting.
You’ll need to begin to honor how YOU feel. And it’s likely that you’ll want to start saying No to lots of people and things you would have said Yes to in the past. It’s likely that you’ll have to start saying Yes to lots of people and things you would have said No to before. There are two key ingredients to entering into this new way of being…
First, we’re talking about living in a very leading-edge way here. That requires courage. That requires living from your heart. That’s the cost of living a very cool life. It’s edgy, and thrilling, and it will also test your courage for sure.
Second, this is not the kind of change you can make with a finger snap. Living according to your preferences takes awareness, focus, time, and practice.
I can write about this, but that will never do anything but introduce you to an idea. To feel the full sense of freedom, relaxation, and ease, I am talking about, you need to experience that for yourself. So if deep down you know like I do, that you can have exactly what you want by only doing that which you want to do (even if you’re not sure quite how it all works), then I’d love to guide you along the path.
That’s the basis of my work and the conversations in my coaching community. It’s easy to join (and easy to leave if it’s not super valuable to you).
Here’s a couple snippets from one my recent Freedom Sessions.
In the first you’ll hear me sharing about the basis of this coaching group while I’m channeling…
…and in this one, you’ll hear first-hand what it’s like to be a part of these conversations…
If you’d like to be personally coached by me in this way (and be part of a super-supportive community of like-minded people), then please join the experience by going here:
(The next calls for this month are July 15th and July 31st)
In any case, I hope you’ll make today the day your start living your life in the exact way that pleases you, in every moment.
* As an addendum, as I was finishing up this piece, Margaret appeared on my Caller ID once again. Upon seeing her name, I went inward and checked how I felt about answering it, and there was no resistance. I picked up the phone and yes, she needed another rather obvious question answered. But in answering the phone because I wanted to answer it, there was no resistance, no clenching…