19 Apr DEVOTION TO THE JOY OF LIFE
Words: Snežana Prokić, Professional Coach
Photos: Anima Mundi
“You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself.” Galileo
What prevents you from having what you want, right now?
Until now, I can’t count how many times I have said to myself: Starting tomorrow, I am going on a diet. As of tomorrow, I’m going to exercise every day… and tomorrow’s start somehow usually eludes me. Sometimes, I do actually start, and after a few days of success, I quit. Not to mention how many wonderful ideas I have had, that were realized by other people in the meantime, while I waited for the right time to come, and to make my way towards achieving them (well, at least I have the satisfaction that I first thought of them). And as the cherry on top, there are the started and never finished projects that I have since forgotten, only to remain listed as New Year’s goals in the journals of the previous years.
Looking back on my life, on the other hand, I’m a very successful and joyful woman, considering all aspects of life. I have a huge number of successfully completed goals, achievements, and many wishes have come true.
Wondering what it is that boosts a desire into an accomplished goal, while others remain at the level of fantasies, I have only one answer: JOYFUL, ACTIVE, DAILY, DEVOTED INTENT. Whenever I was dedicated (in thought and deed) to something that depended upon me, my success was assured.
The first few questions I ask when I get to know a client are: What would you like to improve in your life now? What do you want? What do you want to dedicate yourself to? And then the main question: What prevents you from having what you want right now?
Today I will not write about achieving the goals that you have, but about all of the resistance (the obstacles) you encounter on the path towards them. And how to gladly dedicate your attention to said obstacles, in order for them to become your friends, as well as your source of strength and energy.
Joyfully invite your “enemies” for coffee
Step 1: Seek out all your “enemies” that prevent you from having what you want now.
Fear of Dreaming: Delays
Old habits and negative experiences of the past create delays: As soon as my children start school, I will start…Tomorrow I will quit smoking …As soon as my relationship with my husband is better I will … As soon as I finish this project I will begin to workout… As soon as all the celebrations are over, I will start my diet … Are you crazy to think that in the middle of this crisis I will start new work… Come on, I can barely keep my current relationship healthy, how can I look for a new one… I’ll be disappointed again, a hundred times I tried and failed… I’m a loser. Imagine how many times I failed. And what has changed now that can help me to make it. Look at the situation around us … scarcity, poverty, despair, depression…
Fear of success and failure: Negative beliefs
Beliefs that we have inherited from our parents and fellow citizens, that if we succeed, something bad will happen to us, and if we fail, everyone’s going to laugh at us. If you succeed, you will lose your head. Do not be bad, you’ll get a spanking. Someone like me will never be able to accomplish much because I am too bright, too dark, too fat, too thin, poor, uneducated, educated … I’m not capable. And even if I am capable, my success will attract the attention of bad people, and they will hurt me…
Fear of harassment: Excuses
If I devote more time to myself, my husband, children, home, parents, friends will suffer, and I will be irresponsible towards them. If I have more work to do, I will have no time for my children. My husband does not support me. It’s not my fault.
Fear of conflict: Prioritizing
I have no time for exercise, I need to make lunch. I have a lot of work, I have no time for meditation and coaching. If I start a diet, I need to make food for myself, and I have no time. If I quit smoking today, I’ll be stressed, and I just started an important project. And I will gain weight. I do not have time to consider, and devote myself to, my goals, because the government is starting to fire people, I have to prove myself more there…
Step 2: Invite all your “enemies”for a coffee. “If you can’t beat them, then join them”
Where is your focus (attention), there is your energy. If you are focused on solving problems (resistance, obstacles), you add more power to them. However, if you look at your fears, your dark spots, and ask them what their purpose is, i.e. what is their good intention, you’ll find the reason for their existence. Talk to your resistances. When you accept them as your strengths instead of considering them your weaknesses, they lose their meaning and power, and your attention becomes focused on the goal.
Take a large sheet of paper and divide it into three columns: RESISTANCE-BENEFICIAL INTENTION OF RESISTANCE-NEW USEFUL SUBSTITUTE. Write down everything that prevents you from having what you want today. Make a list (one below the other) of all the fears, all the negative beliefs, all the reasons for the delay, and any excuses, which prevent you from starting or finishing what you started. Be honest with yourself.
I’ll tell you a secret: A high percentage of our obstacles are there, in our bodies and our minds, to protect us from something, or to teach us something! Yes. And when we realize that all of our obstacles in fact are our guardians and teachers, we begin to love them. And then easily you will find something else that can also protect you, and your resistance will become your encouragement and strength to move forward toward the goal.
Step 3: Convert your “enemies” into your friends
For each of the obstacles on your list, find another useful replacement. Imagine a symbol for both the resistance and its replacement. Imagine that you put one symbol in your left palm and the other symbol in your right. Let each of them say to the other which are the useful properties (skills, beliefs) that can be exchanged between them. Exchange at least 3 properties. And then bring your palms together and visualize both symbols being placed in your heart, to be your strength and energy. Say: Thank you both for protecting me. You’re in my heart, as my strength and protection. Feel that both dissolve in your heart and strengthen you.
Do this for any resistance from the list. Make a list of obstacles for any wish (goal) you already have. Dedicate half an hour to this exercise daily, for each goal you have.
Let me give you an example:
Fear of success: If I succeed in business, I will spend a lot of time at work and will not have enough time to devote to my children.
Useful intention: sabotaging project for new job in order to protect your identity of devoted mother.
What you need as the lesson: How to find a way to rearrange your time for bothchildren and your new job.
New useful replacement: When I love my work, I have more energy and motivation. I will find ways (more income, new friends, new knowledge) to delegate to other people all other obligations (house keeping, cooking etc), and in my free time, I will spend quality time with my children (talk, walk, trip, vacation).
Symbol of fear of success: wet sponge (or contracted stomach, or nicely dressed doll with dark circles)
Symbol of useful replacement: a book with lots of pictures (or dove or smiling and nicely dressed doll with baby dolls).
Speaking from my own experience, and that of my clients’, I can suggest that you stay focused on what you want to achieve. The goal, i.e. the image of joyful you, once you achieve what you intended, is your driving force, your motivation, your enthusiasm and reason for devotion. From this joy, look at your resistance and transform it into your friend. Then take action towards the fulfillment ofyour goals. GOOD LUCK!