Being completely present means that I have to let people experience the totality of me. It’s easier to say a half truth than it is to let people see all the way through me. What if they don’t like what they see? What if I don’t like what I think they see?
The best mentor I’ve ever had recently shared some basic truth. “Knowledge without Action = Nothing”. That about says it all in terms of personal and spiritual growth. It sums it up in terms of success and relationships too. I can’t emphasize enough, the importance of action and movement in our lives. So often we attend a seminar, read a book, watch an inspiring video or listen to a podcast and are inspired to make changes. But then most of the time we fail to act.
I think that because we feel so inspired at times we feel like we have to make massive change immediately. But the desire to make massive change can often become the very paralyzing factor keeping us in the same place. We feel like we need to meditate and plan and motivate ourselves for this massive effort that we want to enact. But this sense of being overwhelmed can keep us paralyzed and unable to move at all.
So here’s my advice…
Do something! Do anything! Make motion in your life! Move! Take the tiniest step in the direction you desire to head! There is a difference between knowledge and application. Knowledge is having information… application is taking knowledge and information and using it to better and deepen your life. Knowledge is about sitting, application happens only when we are in motion.
The first thing I do when I get out of bed each morning is make my bed. Now, you may be thinking ‘whoopty doo Bradley’. Well thank you, because it actually is a big ‘whoopty doo’. It’s not that my mom or anyone else for that matter is going to be pleased because I’ve made my bed. But I’ve started my day with action. I’ve proved that I have already made a choice within moments of starting my day that I am in motion. Not to mention, that when I do the simplest thing in the world, making my bed, my most intimate living space has a sense of order and progress. Also, when my bed’s made, my room feels like it’s halfway cleaned. This also helps me create momentum that carries over into every other area of my life.
It’s a feeling. Feelings are powerful. Feelings are experienced not only in our hearts and heads, but in our bodies as well. This isn’t a hunch on my part; it’s a scientific fact. Now I know that my bed physically only takes up 15% of my bedroom. But emotionally it feels like I’m halfway there to keeping my room clean and in order. And if my room is in order I have another feeling. Freedom. Freedom to create and freedom to dream. I have a difficult time dreaming about my life and how I want to live into my purpose and a hard time in the creative process if my room is a mess. Do you see how powerful one small action can be for my personal relationships, business, creative world and much more?
What is something that you’ve recently learned but have yet to apply to your life? What are some tiny but significant ways in which you can put that knowledge into action? What’s one small thing you can do as soon as you’re done reading this that will create momentum in your life?
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"Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you." - Thomas Jefferson
"Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often." - Mark Twain
"If you have the guts to keep making mistakes, your wisdom and intelligence leap forward with huge momentum." - Holly Near
Recently I had been feeling some anxiety and I couldn't pinpoint where it was originating. When this happens it becomes sort of a heavy feeling in my chest and a relentless weight on my mind. Whenever I experience this sensation I know that something is off center in my life. So with great persistence I process and analyze until I discover where the anxiety is coming from. I’m careful to allow every feeling, even ones that are distressing, to flow through me so that I can become more aware their origins. And then it dawned on me. The anxiety was coming from a desire to be liked and to have the approval of others. This is something I've battled my entire life and for the majority of my life it's a battle that I lost more than I won. This is what drove me to alcohol abuse and constant cocaine use when I was younger. This is what had led me to a pattern of destructive relationships. This is what had me hating myself in the past. However, many years ago I became aware of my destructive behavior and did something about it. What's more, these last two years I’ve also become aware of the things I need to do so that I am on guard against this and I had found a distinctly profound sense of freedom from it. And for the most part I had been doing really well. However, the desire for approval is a crafty one. We all want to be liked and we all want to be approved of by others. Those who say they don't struggle with this are either lying to themselves or aren't aware of it.
But there it was, rearing its ugly head again. I began to think through the different people that I wanted approval from and the list seemed pretty long. Not as long as it had been in the past, but long nonetheless. The incredible news is that just knowing where the anxiety came from was 80% of the battle.
I knew I had to get centered and connected to my true source and to myself. I reminded myself that I am enough, just the way that I am and that this world is better off with me being my authentic and true self. That guy that I am who tries to win the approval of others doesn't really bring life to anybody, especially himself. But when I am my true self, life abounds. When I am connected to the divine and loving myself from that place, something incredible happens, Divine energy if you well, that flows through my life.
As I connect to the true source and to myself, the anxiety dissipates almost immediately. All the energy that I was spending worrying about how I'm perceived and if people will like me is no longer wasted on that useless endeavor.
We never add value to ourselves, the world, or those we love by trying to win the approval of others. It's only in affirming our authentic selves that we have the energy to care the way the world needs us to care.
The feeling of freedom that comes with casting off this anxiety and weight of desire for approval is almost blissful. I can be me, and that's enough. I'm grateful.
What about you? Who do you want to like you? Whose approval or you after? Go ahead and write out their names. Then once you're done ripped the paper up or burn it or whatever it is you do.
How do you connect with the source or with yourself? What is it that you do that that grounds and centers you and your true self? Do it. Do it today. Do it now. And then enjoy the freedom.
"A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval" - Mark Twain
I don’t know what your profession is. You might be a sales person, engineer, talk show host, musician, plumber, clergy, artist, etc. (I didn’t want to miss anyone, hence the etc.). I don’t know if you love your job, hate it, are ambivalent towards it or if it sucks the ever-loving life out of you. I don’t know if your job is mostly about brains, muscle, or a mixture of both. I don’t know if you have a boss or own your own business. Or if you do have a boss if you can’t stand working for that person or if you are way too comfortable with that person.
Regardless of your job, I am certain there are days where you just don’t have the resources, mentally or physically to accomplish what you need to accomplish. This is where having an open heart can make all the difference in your world. If your reaction to trouble at work is to close down, avoid confrontation, complain out the whazoo, or day dream about being somewhere else, then your heart is closed. And I believe the problem with a closed heart is that nothing can enter it and nothing can leave it. It’s like a double whammy.
I remember being stuck in a job that I couldn’t leave simply because of the need to provide for my family, yet it was a terrible fit. I was in sales. I am not a sales person. On top of that, I wasn’t necessarily thrilled about the product I was selling. I literally would walk into meetings with clients already depressed because I had to give them a sales ‘pitch’ for a product I didn’t like and didn’t really believe in. I can’t tell you how bad I wanted to move on from that particular position and company. It was depressing. I rarely felt like I had the resources internally to accomplish what I needed to throughout the work day.
Back to the double whammy. With a closed heart, not only are you trapping all of the frustration, anger, disappointment, and fear within you… but you are also making it impossible for the Source, the Divine (or whatever name you use), to flow into you and provide for you. There was a time when I lived everyday of my life with a closed heart. I was always dreaming of another job, angry with the position I was in, feeling less than adequate, and totally ungrateful.
So how do you have an open heart? First, believe that whatever you subscribe to as far as a higher power actually cares for you and wants to provide for you. That alone can make all the difference in your day if you face every obstacle knowing that you have access to the resources needed to overcome. Secondly, relax and be grateful. Be grateful that you are alive and have the faculties to be hired to actually work. There are so many who don’t have a job in these difficult economic times.
Finally, proceed on with your day expecting to be resourced beyond your limits. I realize I’m telling you something you already know. But sometimes, we need reminders.