I am bringing love to a situation that I had deemed loveless many years ago.
I can, on occasion, recall expressing gratitude for the situation because it brought money into my bank account. But love? I don’t think so. I hated the guy’s guts.
Honestly, I don’t know whether love has a chance in this scenario. I have remained repressed and largely unexpressed in this client relationship, and that’s something I can take responsibility for. I have expressed my needs when it was urgent that I do so, but I have largely remained agreeable to any requests that have come across my desk, even if they were completely unreasonable. At this juncture, they are only becoming more unreasonable and even incoherent.
I can’t do that anymore. My finances have suffered. Last year, I filed for a consumer proposal. My health has suffered. Just this year, mid-October to mid-November was specifically tough, and I am still on the tail end of recovery.
Being fully self-expressed in this client relationship could mean arguments. It could mean setting boundaries. It could mean the end of a workable working arrangement. I have already put my notice in for the end of December.
But that’s what bringing love to the situation looks like right now. Being honest and truthful about my needs. Being clear about what I’m willing to do and what I’m unwilling to tolerate.
I have enjoyed helping many people build their careers and businesses to this point. But many times, I have sacrificed myself to do that. And it’s not fair to me. Love has been missing there too. I have failed to recognize myself.
For the first time in a long time, I can see the insanity cycle at work, and love was the missing piece. And I’m tired of banging my head against the wall, trying to make a dent in the Universe where I am not appreciated, respected, or valued.
But I am not just bringing love to myself. I am bringing love to my client also. Because sometimes love is letting people know when they’re egomaniacal and bat-shit insane (in the kindest manner possible).
Spirit has brought to my attention that, even with an experiment that’s been designed around love and positivity, there are some potentially toxic downsides to it that I hadn’t originally thought of.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. Experiments are like that. You try, you learn. You fail, you learn. You succeed, you learn. It’s part and parcel of the process.
I cannot and will not diminish all the amazing things that have already happened on this journey so far, much of which I attribute to a) surrendering, and b) being rather than merely doing. Getting to be, especially in the last month or so, has been one of the greatest gifts in my life.
But reflecting on the possible downsides of the experiment has been giving me some pause.
The Invisible Stress of Failing Publicly
Stress is invisible, I know, so maybe the expression is a little redundant.
But as I’ve already shared, I have not been doing this experiment perfectly. I kicked it off at a time when I was just beginning to recover from burnout, and I’m not completely over it yet. I don’t think I have had any all-out dicey days, but I have had some dicey moments.
If I had started this experiment at my physical and mental best, failing may have held considerably less significance for me.
But right now, I don’t need more stress in my life, and I didn’t know that failing you was something that could weigh on me.
To be fair, failure was not something that was explicitly defined in the beginning. It would be more accurate to say that I haven’t been following all the rules I laid out for myself all the time.
But it is a potential downside to an experiment that was supposed to be healing and joyful. Feeling guilty for my stumbles isn’t going to produce healing or joy.
“Positive” to the Exclusion of “Negative”
This was never supposed to be a “positive thinking” experiment contrary to what the title might lead you to believe.
It was more based on the idea that the Universe responds to everything we think and feel, so all things being equal, better to dwell on the “uplifting, inspiring, and informative” versus the fluffy or negative.
Of course, life presents us with people, circumstances, and events that occur to us as positive, negative, or shades of grey in between all the time. How we define good or bad is up to us, but one inescapable truth of life is things happen. They just do.
Life tends to be more enjoyable when we feel good. And it is even possible to train ourselves to view potentially negative events as positive. But thoughts do not negate circumstances.
When I stop to think about it, the most inspirational moments in life are the ones where someone had to rise out of hardship, challenge, or adversity. In that sense, such events aren’t necessarily “bad,” but they can appear that way initially.
I don’t necessarily have the answer. It would be a cop-out to say, “Life is always in balance” or “Life is always in harmony,” but that is the closest thing to truth I can muster as I contemplate what “uplifting, inspirational, and informative” really means.
Ultimately, you never know what people, events, and circumstances might turn out to be “uplifting, inspiring, and informative” when they didn’t appear that way at the outset.
The above realizations don’t discourage me. Rather, I feel like I’ve discovered something about myself I’ve been unaware or unconscious of. I even feel like I may have understood a deeper spiritual truth.
I need to give myself some grace for being imperfect, and for doing this experiment imperfectly. It would be amazing if I managed to pull it off without effort, but then would it even be worth doing?
It has also occurred to me that these missteps are part of the journey – they are supposed to happen, so my life is reflected back at me like a mirror. I get to see how I do things and why. And there is much to be learned from that.
So long as there are things wanting to emerge out of this experiment, I’m going to keep going. And for the time being, more things are emerging.
This past Sunday, I completed my two-year intensive leadership program. I must admit it was a little anti-climactic, but I’m happy to be done and I’m starting to settle in for a couple of low-production weeks (most of my time will be – and already has been – dedicated to laying in bed).
As I’m starting to find my personal equilibrium again (though gradually), I thought a productive use of this space might be to share some of the “inspiring, uplifting, or informative” videos I’ve been watching and what I’ve been getting from them.
If I have any massive breakthroughs or “aha” moments I will be sure to share those with you too, of course, though I’m embracing more and more that healing (healing of the mind, the body, past trauma, etc.) can be a gradual thing.
I’m all for miracles, and I’ve already experienced many in the last 23 days, but I am also surrendered to the sometimes-necessary journey to recovery.
Habits of the Rich
This was bar none the best video I watched recently:
In it, Ralph Smart shares five (six) habits of the rich, which are as follows:
The rich create twice as much as they consume. They focus on service and giving back, not on the money. This was my favorite insight, but that probably doesn’t surprise you. After all, I love making things.
The rich don’t keep all their money in the bank. They invest in themselves, in tools, in real estate, and so on. I continue to invest heavily in myself, but after watching this video, I also feel like I have permission to invest more in my passions.
The rich prioritize their health. They prioritize their health so they can spend more time creating wealth. This has literally been my top priority in the last month or more.
The rich associate with movers and shakers. They surround themselves with people who can help them, especially mentors and teachers. Thanks to the previously leadership program, more than ever, I am surrounded by successful people, willing collaborators, and loving mentors.
The rich are lifelong learners. They always want to learn more. They realize that one insight can take them to the next level. And wouldn’t you know it, I learned something from this video!
The rich work smart. And they even work on the weekends. They are willing to put in the time to become masters of their craft. I have not yet found a way to do this in a healthy, sustainable way, but I’m open to learning.
So, I know we’re only 18 days into this 90-day experiment, but I felt like it was time to hit the “reset” button on the entire thing.
No, I’m not starting over, but I felt like I was getting off track a bit. So, for my sake, and yours, I’ve decided to revisit the intention of the experiment while addressing relevant questions and concerns.
Here’s what’s up:
What Happened to You?
In a word, burnout.
I was in denial of this fact because I worked very hard this past year to avoid burnout.
But as they say, whatever you resist persists. Avoiding is a form of resistance.
The goal should have been to be healthy and to be healthier. There’s no resistance there.
I can’t deny that the leadership program, along with a punishing work schedule, has taken its toll on me physically, emotionally, mentally, and psychologically this past year.
Has it been worth it? Yes. Because I feel I have uncovered what has been at the root of agoraphobia and anxiety all this time. I realized the other day anxiety came knocking at my door because there was something much deeper waiting to be dug up – childhood trauma.
That’s the good news. The bad news is I did not know that digging up the trauma would mean opening Pandora’s Box. I’ve experienced headaches, physical and emotional exhaustion, depression and anxiety, and many shades of grey in between.
But at this point, I am closer to the end of the tunnel than the beginning. Most days I still feel like being a hermit, but I’ve been around people a lot as of late, and it has mostly lifted my spirits.
What is This Experiment About?
It’s about recognizing that everything we read, listen to, or watch has an impact on our lives. Therefore, choosing our inputs is critical.
The experiment is also about love. In this burnout, I have come to a point of surrender I don’t think I ever have before. Achievements no longer matter to me. Attaining wealth and material things matters less and less.
What matters is love. Loving myself, my past, others, and the Universe or God.
As I focus on love, the discoveries, opportunities, and blessings keep coming, seemingly without effort. But I am not seeking those things.
I am also not “doing” the experiment perfectly, but I keep having new cognitions. So, it has been worth the time and effort, and I’m going to keep it going.
I suppose the experiment is not about doing at all, though, and rather about being. In that sense, I am doing it exactly as designed.
What Are You Working on?
So, you might assume that I’m not working on anything right now, or that I’m avoiding work completely.
Trust me, that is tempting…
But it has been my experience that ironically, you need “burnout projects” to get yourself out of burnout.
So, here are the key things that are keeping my mind occupied:
Clean Slate: The event has yet to be announced in an official capacity, but we’ve laid much of the groundwork, and we are currently tracking down a viable venue for the New Year live music and multi-media event.
A new composition: I have been working on this since September. It has been taking a while because of burnout, as well as the fact that it’s one of the more sophisticated pieces of music I’ve worked on in a while.
Comedy writing: I can’t say too much right now, but I am preparing some comedic video content for Clean Slate.
A joint venture: I have a new product in the works in the domain of skincare / aromatherapy.
I am very gratified that my various creative passions are finding expression.
Why Are You Not Getting Back to Me? You Hatin’ on Me, Bro?
I’ve had very little willpower / emotional resilience, making the whole “depression and anxiety” piece hard to predict and manage. At times, one little disturbing thought could send me down a spiral that would force me to meditate to reset.
I know it may seem like I’m okay and I’m still doing stuff, but I think my work quality and output have suffered some because of this entire ordeal.
I’m still trying to put my best foot forward, though, and I apologize to anyone who has been impacted. My priority now is to get the rest I need to get back to my former self.
I’m not trying to ignore your email, but in the world of priorities, unfortunately, I can’t place it any higher right now.
Besides the above-mentioned projects, I am mostly going with the flow. I have learned a very important lesson about being and not just doing, and as counterintuitive as it feels sometimes, I plan to lean into that.
Doing too much can impact my health and well-being. Being has helped me connect with more people, uncover new opportunities, find opportunities to unplug and enjoy life, and importantly, spend less time at the computer (which is why it feels counterintuitive).
I feel closer to God, or Spirit, or Universe, or whatever is out there. It has been responding to me, and miracles have amazingly become commonplace. I plan to follow the leadings and the promptings of the divine that has seen to it that I find my equilibrium again.
The weekend was eventful, at least to the extent that documenting the experience day to day would have been impractical.
It has been a couple of days since my last update, so, let me get you caught up.
The Universe is the Very Expression of Love
This is what came to me in my sleep the other night. I can’t think of the exact words or even the extent or depth of the revelation. What I discovered is that the Universe’s only expression is love. As much as we like to entertain the notion that we are living in duality, the Universe does not know anything other than love.
How to apply this? I don’t know. But if we can accept that everything that’s happening is happening for us, we’ll move into alignment with the love that’s ever-present.
I started this experiment with the intention of loving (myself, my past, others, and God) and found the ultimate source of love, which is beyond compare.
A Good Shove
Like a professional basketball player who just finished rehab and is reluctant to return to the court, I’ve been reluctant to embrace social outings again.
But I went to the acknowledgment party for my leadership program Saturday night, and though I thought it would only make me feel worse, it made me feel better. I ended up becoming the life of the party, without ever trying to.
Some people also had timely messages for me.
On Sunday, I followed through on the short film festival I was planning to attend. For the first time in a while, I felt good about going out. I arrived at the venue early (before the doors opened), and even found the perfect parking spot without effort.
As more and more people started showing up at the venue, I felt as though I would be swallowed up in the energy, but I managed to tune it out. As the films started playing, I felt a little overstimulated at first, but the feelings were mostly temporary and nowhere near as bad as they once were.
I was introduced to one film director and ended up meeting another. The friend that I joined for the evening also told me he might be able to use some of my music in his current project.
Other opportunities kept showing up as well – potential clients, opportunities to promote a forthcoming product, networking opportunities, and more.
I am very grateful for the community right now.
The Tapping Solution
I woke up feeling “just okay.” I was pretty sure that the social outings from the weekend had tired me out. So, after feeding the dog, I decided to meditate. My meditation was interrupted by a phone call, but I still got about 20 minutes in.
I still wasn’t feeling that much better. So, I turned to tapping again.
My TFT efforts have mostly been limited to tapping sequences for depression. Today I tried a sequence for anxiety and was blown away by the results. I felt better almost instantaneously, and I even got my energy back. This is what I’d heard TFT could offer, but I almost couldn’t believe it when it happened to me.