I learned some time ago that we choose our state of being. We are not helpless victims bobbing in the ocean of life aimless and fearful of being eaten by sharks. In college I used to be annoyed by the sunny "glass half full" and "isn't life grand" personalities. I was more of a "holy shit I need to get good grades, make enough money for rent and food, and be what everyone expects of me" person. Always concerned with measuring up, being good enough, smart enough, and working hard kept me at a lower fear-driven energy. As I got older and more experienced, I became tired of the striving and knew that I wanted to feel more comfortable in my own skin.
Decades ago a friend invited me to a women's conference where they had a guest speaker who was a "life coach." I hadn't heard of that profession before but the brochure sounded promising "Slaying the "Thou Shalt" Dragon to Find your Purpose and Passion." Ding ding ding! It was in that one-hour workshop that I had the realization that I was living my life playing it safe, secure, and predictable. That's what good girls do, right?
We were challenged in an exercise "What is your body telling you?" to notice if your body was giving you subtle "signs" that something was out of alignment. There was a short guided imagery meditation where we were to "check in" with our bodies and see the signs. We had to write them down on paper, I wrote: sore jaw from clenching teeth, sleepless nights exhausted and overusing caffeine, heartburn with the occasional angry ruminating about small things, this damn itchy rash on my hands I always get in winter, and heart pounding anxiety about doing this stupid exercise.
Then we had to make a list of the "Thou Shalts" we were living by. Thou Shalt climb the corporate ladder and buy a bigger house. Thou Shalt always be productive. Thou Shalt work harder and smarter than everyone else to get ahead. Thou Shalt make shit happen. Thou Shalt put everyone else's needs above your own. Thou Shalt be thin to be beautiful. Thou Shalt do great things to be loved. Thou Shalt be the best.
When I saw the list on the paper in front of me I knew why I came to this conference - for this lesson. The Thou Shalt Dragon was leading my life - and I needed to slay that dragon! I had been feeling angry a lot before I signed up for the conference. I knew when I left there that I was angry because I had been carrying a heavy load of "Thou Shalts" and I resented it. Why did I always have to carry this heavy load? Why couldn't others step up and do their share? I judged people around me, I could be bold and intimidating. I tried to hide my brooding anger but those around me could see right through it. I could see that I had done this to myself - taken on too much, always stepping up, then hating everyone around me for letting me do it. Ouch.
I knew I had to change my state of being - how could I be happy and at peace? I needed to slay the Thou Shalt dragon! The life coach told us our "homework" was to answer The Miracle Question. It was a fabulous exercise for me to get my thoughts together about what I wanted and how to take action to get there.
The Miracle Question
Imagine that tomorrow morning you wake up and find that a magical transformation has taken place. It's a miracle! Your world is just as you'd like it to be, you have resolved all your problems and come to terms with all the things that were bothering you. Describe what is different and what is the evidence that shows you things have changed? Write this in as much detail as you can.
What can you do now that would help you move (even if baby steps) towards the miracle future you have described?
Little did I know that women's conference would be so valuable - but I was ready to learn and the Universe provided an opportunity at just the right time. Of course!
Try answering the Miracle Question for yourself - what comes up for you?