If you’re anything like me, when I set a goal, I mean business—I want the results TODAY!
While some goals can manifest quickly, others take the long road, like an investment. When I put money in stocks, I can’t expect my money to double by the end of the day! I have to have patience, detachment, persistence.
What is a goal you are working toward right now? Losing weight? Saving money for a new car? Forgiving someone in your life? Embracing more positive thoughts throughout your day? Or some other goal that will take more than a few hours, days or even weeks to accomplish?
These long term goals require us to have a long view of our achievement process. We are changing patterns, some of which have been with us for some time, and our progress will naturally look more like a Dow Jones Industrial Average chart, with the characteristic ups and downs. Our objective isn’t to climb with daily perfection, but to trend toward our goal.
We have our great days, when our new outlook seems easy and attainable. We take great strides some days! Other days can leave us feeling like we have taken one step forward and two steps backward. These are the days when we have the opportunity to have compassion on ourselves, strengthen the areas that need more work, and keep our eyes on the bigger goal down the road.
We are always moving forward in consciousness; whether we feel the truth of that or not can vary day to day. Our job is to remember that we are slowly but surely trending toward our good, and that goal will give way to a new good to achieve.
Your potential is far greater than you could ever imagine for yourself!
Years ago, I was struggling with a need to make a change, but everything I attempted was not working out. Finally I said, "Ok, God, I can't do this anymore. I give up. What do you want?" and I let it go. Days later, I was speaking with a friend about a desire to help people, but not being in a position to do so. When she suggested I go back to school for my Master's degree, a light went on in me--I knew it was the right thing! Everything fell into place, and I started classes two months later.
Another time, my family had moved to a new location and I was looking for a job, sending out dozens of resumes with no success. One day I said, "God, I know becoming a therapist was the right thing for me to do so what do You want me to be doing?" I sat down on my couch, and instantly an outline for a counseling center came into my consciousness. The divine idea of the Interfaith Counseling Center awakened in me. I knew exactly what needed to be done and exactly how to do it!
In both of these instances, when I let go of my own efforts and asked for ideas, ideas came! Everything was then aligned: my desire, my will and my cooperation! If you have something that you are trying to accomplish, take time to release your current efforts and open yourself to new ideas. You can use the Spiritual Power Tool of journaling or the Seven Steps to help you release your current situation, clearing the way for a new idea that is greater than what you might have thought up otherwise.
There is a fun song on the internet called “You Are a Pirate. The words are, “Do what you want ‘cause a pirate is free / You are a pirate / Yar-har-fiddle-de-dee / Being a pirate is alright with me / Do what you want ‘cause a pirate is free / You are a pirate” then repeat, continuous loop-style, ad nauseum.
The song originally comes from a children’s television program in which the town villain disguises himself as a pirate to lure the children away from their good behavior. He makes being a pirate sound fun with his happy pirate song and promises of freedom from discipline and rules. The children, of course, enthusiastically take their places as his crew mates. Who doesn’t want freedom?
On the spiritual path, one of the skills we learn is distinguishing between short-sighted egoic impulses and the true promptings of our soul. We start learning this by more closely observing the thoughts and feelings that arise and incite us to act. When our ego pulls us toward personality freedom, often it can excite us and feel good on a short-term basis. Ego pulls don’t take into consideration the needs of those around us or long-term consequences of our actions. We can liken this to the pirate from the song, and the children who happily followed along.
Soul freedom leads us toward greater responsibility for what is ours to do this lifetime. It also aligns us with our higher potential. Hmm…Not as enticing at first, is it?
Paramahansa Yogananda, the great Indian mystic, once said, “The mind is so powerful, it can make you taste salt and think it is sugar, and when you eat sugar, it can make you think you taste salt.” Our ego pulls are the salt that tastes sweet at first, but then we feel disappointed when we discover it wasn’t what was in our best interest. Our soul promptings taste a bit salty at first, but as we stick with them, how sweet it is! Everything flows better when we are aligned with our soul responsibilities!
How much time and energy do you spend following the piratey impulsiveness of your personality self? How long does that satisfy you?
The children who followed the pirate to his false “freedom” (and were subsequently captured) quickly learned that the rules they ran from actually provided structure so they could play more freely! Likewise, our intuition is there to help us learn the best structure and steps to take to free our souls from ego-captivity, allowing greater energy to flow into a more joyful expression of who we truly are!
How many of you make New Year’s resolutions each year?
I stopped making them years ago, when I finally felt disempowered enough to end the madness, since I wasn’t following through with them anyway! Daniel Goldstein, a research scientist, says “It’s not that your goals are impossible to reach, but that you lack the self-discipline to stick to them. It is physically possible to lose weight, it is physically possible to exercise more, but resisting temptation is hard.”
He goes on to explain that we have two parts of us, our present self and our future self. Who is in control? Our present self that often wants immediate gratification! So what can we do to defend our future self that wants the positive outcomes of our goals?
The wonderful news is that life is always providing us with opportunities for change right NOW—and in every NOW moment! Instead of imposing behavior alterations on ourselves at the beginning of the year, why not make a commitment to embrace the changes that arise throughout the year?
Often, not exercising is not the problem, but not feeling worthy of this self-care is. Eating too much is not the problem, but that which you are avoiding in consciousness is. Let your commitment for the New Year be, “I embrace the changes I need to make throughout 2012.” Believe me, you will be aware of what those changes are as they arise! And, you will be supported, because embracing change when it comes is participating in the process, instead of controlling how it happens.
Give this new resolution a try for 2012: “I let my resolutions come to me!”
Happy New Year!
Lynn Barrette, LCSW Blending psychology with spirituality, I offer tools for forgiveness, acceptance, meditation and relaxation, and positive parenting solutions.