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.
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.
I am convinced at this point that this experiment has taken on a life on its own, and in some ways, it has become more about documenting the journey than doing or not doing anything specific. It’s as if the Universe has been bringing everything to me, and I get to respond.
Love has been showing up. And a shift in perspective, from yesterday, means I get to notice all the ways love is already here.
Here’s what else showed up for me today:
2 Steps Forward…
I had a good day yesterday. It wasn’t all smooth going, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s one of the better days I’ve had in a while.
Alas, I ended up waking up in the middle of the night feeling a little out of sorts.
I prayed for mischievous and malicious spirits to leave, as I felt led by the spirit. Fear eventually left and was replaced by a sense of calm and peace in the pit of my stomach.
Don’t ask me how the spirit realm works. I just know that it does.
Getting back to sleep didn’t pan out but either way, today still turned out to be a good day. Not all smooth going, but productive.
I’ve noticed more and more that he likes to hang out wherever I am in the house.
It could be that he’s a little less depressed in the absence of his owners. It could also be that it’s taken me a while to notice his tendencies.
Either way, he’s a wonderful, healing companion to have around.
I’ve got two outings lined up for the weekend – one for tomorrow, and one for Sunday.
Tomorrow’s gathering will be the equivalent of a house party, so I think I should be okay.
The Sunday outing could be a different story, as it will be at the playhouse. It sounds like it should be a fun event, though, and if I do need to back out, I’ll only be out $30.
While I have been taking baby steps, I haven’t exactly been feeling like coming out of the cave. But I know I need to emerge eventually, and the Sunday outing could be connected to opportunity.
It’s been said that planning is essential, but plans are useless.
I set out on this experiment with a plan, even if it was a bit mercurial. And now I’m finding reason to course correct, even if only slightly.
But we’ll get to that. Here’s what there is to share regarding the experiment for today:
I’m nearing the end of my intensive two-year leadership program. Last night, we had a classroom (one of the last I’ll be participating in), and I broke down while sharing that I finally understood what I’ve been feeling lately – it’s depression.
It put a lot of things into perspective for me – the fact that I wake up tired, don’t have as much energy, don’t want to go out, sometimes can’t sleep, obsess about nothing, and so on.
This confession, however, was like a load off my back. Because I didn’t feel like I needed to judge myself anymore for the way I’ve been feeling. Sharing with others also created an opening that wasn’t previously there.
There is an opening for meaningful actions as well.
I was invited out for drinks last night. I almost didn’t go.
As I shared yesterday, I’ve been tending towards isolation. Even though staying home hasn’t exactly made me happy, it has felt like the lesser of two evils. The alternative is going out and risking overwhelm and overstimulation. Plus, I didn’t sleep well the night before.
But I decided to go. I was almost instantly blown away by the amount of support and gratitude I felt for having a friend who didn’t just care but was willing to listen and contribute to me.
Talking with him and partaking in some late-night snacks and beer took my mind off the day I’d just had. And I returned home feeling closer to normal than I have in weeks.
I am very glad I went, and I’m also happy to know I might be ready to start getting out a little more too.
Before leaving the restaurant, my friend sent me off with some tapping sequences. When I say “tapping,” I mean Thought Field Therapy (TFT).
He shared with me how anxiety used to be his kryptonite, and how he would pull over by the side of the road to tap, no matter where he was.
At first, he spent a lot of time administering TFT to himself. But eventually, it blew out the anxiety completely, to where he taps maybe once per month or not at all.
I’ve known about the benefits of tapping for a long time and have even used it now and again. But I was not aware of any sequences, and I didn’t know the technique could be used for physical conditions too.
I’ve been trying a few sequences today and have been persistent in trying them.
I watched this video today…
And my thinking was challenged on one point.
Part of this experiment has been intentionally choosing inputs that are inspiring, uplifting, and informative.
But in the video, Teal Swan says whatever makes you smile and laugh increases your vibration. I recognized instantly this has been missing from my content diet so far, and I may need to rethink what inspiring, uplifting, and informative means.
I’m beginning to think that “clean” comedies might be okay. I’d still want to stay away from the late-night variety though.
It would be very healthy for me to laugh, especially in my condition.
On a separate note, after I came home from drinks last night, out of habit, I turned on an audio program while playing a game on my smartphone. And then I started to ask myself – I’m listening to something that can benefit me, but am I breaking the rule by playing a game on my phone at the same time?
For the time being, I’ve concluded that yes, smartphone games are “fluffy entertainment.” But this is a point deserving of more thought as well.
I have not had any major stumbles on this journey so far. But I am realizing that even if I do mess up, I should be kind to myself. The core of this experiment is love, so anything less would be perpetuating a separate insanity cycle.