Honor Your Dark
For a while now I’ve had a vision of what it is I want – where it is I want to go in various areas of my life from my career to my relationships. I’ve visualized it, I’ve meditated on it, I’ve talked about the steps I can take with my life coach and I’ve taken huge steps towards those goals. And, what I’ve noticed is the more work I’ve done towards the dream, the moment I step out of what it would feel like to be there, I’m brought back to where I am and the startling contrast between the two: Where I am is very different than where I want to be.
Anytime we have a vision, a goal or a dream, we’re using our mind to think beyond where we currently are. When we visualize our goal, or put ourselves in a meditative state, we prime our brain to see things differently. It’s quite exquisite to step into the feeling and reality of the dream, and if you’ve ever truly gotten yourself into this place where it feels like you are actually there doing the thing you most want to do, the only way to describe it is awe-inspiring. But, something we forget, in the midst of being awe-inspired, is that in addition to creating the magic of the vision, what we’re also creating is tension.
The tension is the reminder that we’re not “there” yet. It’s the pain staking tug-a-war reality that even though we want to pull ourselves instantaneously into the future, our physical reality is grounded in this present moment. It’s our Higher Self going, I see it, I feel it, I’m there and our Brain responding, The F you are. Open your eyes and look around. And for us, this tension between our vision and our reality shows up in our physical bodies as fear, stress and overwhelm.
While I’ve had the vision of being a master trainer, teaching teachers and creating and designing programs for quite some time, the potential of stepping into that reality was something that only recently became viable (PS – for those of you inquiring, I still haven’t heard anything about my Master Trainer submission and should know by the end of the month). I had known for some time that this was the path I was meant to be on, but it was only during the intenSati retreat in Mexico this past April that I finally put it in writing – and it was just a few weeks ago that the opportunity to step into this role within LifeTime Fitness showed up. I remember putting it in writing while I was in Mexico and the amount of emotion that came up in doing that – the fear, the excitement, the tension between the two. But, what I felt in Mexico was nothing compared to the fear, stress and overwhelm I’ve felt over the last two weeks after submitting my videos for the Master Trainer role.
When I’m in my meditative state and I’m visualizing my future, it’s big and bold and bright. But here in my reality, when I’m not in that meditative state, when I’m pulled out of the vision because class sizes are smaller than they usually are or I feel like I delivered less than my best or when I feel like someone is trying to take something away from me with their own self-interests, I’m like F*#! this is hard! How am I going to do this? How is this going to work? The tension between where I am and where I want to be leaves me feeling frantic. And the more I try to combat the fear and overwhelm, the more I find myself in it.
As I caught myself in yet another battle of overwhelm and stress this past week, I realized I was criticizing myself for not being there yet
You’re not good enough
You’re always stressed
You’re quick to compare
You get jealous
You’re too emotional
It’s all too easy to get caught up in the voice of criticism and so often when I find myself there, I allow myself to get swept away in it. But, this week I was just too tired, too tired to keep fighting against it and so I gave in to listening. When I stopped trying to silence my criticizing voice, when I gave up becoming a slave to it, something amazing happened, I was able to hear another voice, one that said
You can do this
You’ve done hard things before
You always come out stronger
You like to learn and grow and you know it only happens in the challenge
You’ve accomplished amazing things in your career in a relatively short amount of time
There’s always going to be other people, but you can only do you and what you do best
It was like watching a tennis match in my mind. One voice would serve, the other would respond and back and forth it would go.
The major realization I had was there was always going to be two voices, just like there was always going to be two places: where I am and where I want to be – and that the access point to where I want to be, the access point to being in the voice that says I can more often, is only made available by accepting and acknowledging the other side of things.
Here’s the deal: If I hate those negative qualities about myself or if I think I’m not really good enough, and then on top of that I’m criticizing myself for those things, I put myself in the gap between where I am and where I want to be or think I should be. If I think I’m not enough, and then I criticize myself for having that limiting belief, I’m caught between having the thought and not wanting to have it and that keeps me stuck. But, if I can acknowledge those negative qualities – that yes sometimes I do compare myself to others and feel not enough – that those negative qualities are only part of who I am, that those qualities and thoughts are just the fear and stress and tension of where I am – if I can acknowledge that those less than desirable qualities also exist alongside some pretty awesome ones, I put myself in a place where I can choose actions that align with where I want to go. Rather than throw myself into the gap, I become the bridge between the gap.
My friends, there’s both light and dark within each of us and it’s remembering that there cannot be the light without the dark – that it’s both our light and our dark that make us whole, perfect and complete. It’s only by listening in to the voice of doubt and tuning in to what we believe are our negative qualities – it’s only by listening to those qualities and not becoming a slave to them – it’s only by accepting all parts of ourselves, that we can move ourselves toward who we are and where we want to be.
This week, rather than criticize, get curious. Ask yourself, “What’s the number one thing I think I shouldn’t be?” It is lazy? Jealous? Angry? Distracted? Reactive? And, rather than isolate those parts of yourself that you dislike, integrate them. Let your dark parts guide you on a path toward the light, so that you can take the actions that will align you with your best self.