Did you know there are ROADBLOCKS to living your dreams?
Yea, who’d a thought?!
You wanna know the first 3, the “tricky triplets” I call them:
How many of you can relate to those tricky triplets?
Yea. We’re going to address these in a 3 part series at our next DREAM: Gathering – a new name for this group!!
Lemme put it this way: It’s nearly impossible to clarify, let alone manifest a life of your dreams if you’re too busy avoiding what you want.
Truth be told: We avoid things for all sorts of reasons and we are not only going to determine the who, what, where, when, why, and how we avoid but I’m also going to support you in strengthening your own levels of awareness.
“The key to growth is the introduction of higher consciousness and awareness.”Lao Tzu
“Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness.”James Thurber
So, today we’re first going to talk about avoidance.
Avoidance, by definition, is the act of keeping away from or not doing something.
Wanna know what I call it?
I call it prolonging the pain.
As long as we are “keeping away from,” running from or “not doing something,” the more we are actually prolonging the inevitable, we are prolonging the pain. We think if we ignore it, it will go away… We think if we just don’t have that conversation and let it be “water under the bridge,” it will go away, but does it?
You know those moments when your kids are just being kids and they spill and we freak out…
Or when your husband doesn’t put his clothes in the laundry basket, just right next to it but heaven forbid, not in it…
Or when someone cuts you off in traffic…
Or when you don’t get the answer you want…
Or you lose your job, income, or business deal… and you just kinda of lose it? Freak out? Shut down? Isolate yourself?
Have you ever considered that it’s not “the thing” but “the thing under the thing?”
Lemme put it to you this way… IT’S NEVER JUST THE THING.
IT’S ALWAYS THE THING UNDER THE THING.
And often, it’s the lack of consciousness and awareness about what “the thing under the thing” really is that stops us, NOT the thing itself.
I know… but go with me on this…
It’s not “the thing,” so you know when your kids are just being kids and they spill and you freak out… it’s not the spill, it’s the story you put behind it: I’M OUT OF CONTROL. NOBODY LISTENS TO ME. I’LL NEVER HAVE TIME. I’M UNDER – APPRECIATED.
Or when your husband doesn’t put his clothes in the laundry basket, just right next to it but heaven forbid, not in it… AGAIN, it’s not the laundry on the floor, it’s the story you put behind it: I’M NOT VALUED. NOBODY SUPPORTS ME. I’LL NEVER HAVE TIME. I’M UNDER – APPRECIATED.
Or when someone cuts you off in traffic… it’s not that guy, it’s the story that says: PEOPLE CAN’T BE TRUSTED. I’LL NEVER AMOUNT TO ANYTHING. I’M WORTHLESS.
And here’s the real kicker: these stories don’t just show up on the scene, we actually create them and then we duplicate them.
Our stories, like beliefs, come from experiences that we give interpretations to and then so we can be “right,” (our ego LOVES being right) we go out into the world and look for confirmation that we are (“right”). That’s when the stories grow and grow and grow and when we aren’t conscious about it, we shift into avoidance.
Cuz that’s really what it is, a shift into avoidance.
Something I want you to be paying attention to in the weeks to come… the shift.
Imagine driving a manual car. You’ve got 5 gears and to really get up and go, you’ve got to shift in order to increase speed. When you shift gears what you’re doing is matching the engine speed to the speed you want to be traveling down the road.
That means, if I’m in 3rd gear, and I want to shift up to go faster but emotionally I am disconnecting because of avoidance, what I’m actually going to do is shift down into 2nd gear. I am going to shift myself into a lower pace, my output will feel like the same but all of a sudden, I’m getting somewhere slower.
Why do we do this? WHY DO WE AVOID?
We shift down (avoid) for a multitude of reasons. Consider which one it is to you…
To protect ourselves…
to be right…
to avoid pain…
to avoid judgment…
to not have to face the truth…
to not be wrong…
to stay “comfortable,”
to blame someone else or not take responsibility…
to tap out of the “hard”…
because we crave certainty…
But if you want to OVERCOME it, you can’t avoid it. You have to shift up.
So how does one OVERCOME it?? How do you shift up?
You overcome by focusing on Awareness.
You consciously choose Awareness OVER Avoidance.
You don’t get to do both.
So lets talk about awareness then so we can get a good handle on what it is (an what it’s not):
“Fix your eyes on what is UNSEEN. NOT on what is seen for what is seen is fleeting but what is unseen lasts.”
What that means is you fix your eyes on greater levels of awareness and ONLY that. You have to look UP so you can shift up.
Awareness by definition is knowledge of a situation; fact; well informed interest…
It’s what I call: KNOWING.
Truth be told, our avoidance is none of those things… if I’m avoiding it or putting my own story on it, I have ZERO knowledge, I don’t have fact only perception, and I’m not well – informed because I am making stuff up… I don’t know jack squat. I think I know.
“It’s not what we know that hurts us it’s what we think to be true that just ain’t so.
But it’s happened before, we say… doesn’t mean it’s going to again.
But I’ve failed before, we say… but it doesn’t mean you will again.
So how do you KNOW?
How do you become aware.
One of my favorite verses that I love to hate in the Bible is: Psalm 46:10 which says “Be still and know…”
BE STILL AND KNOW.
If avoidance gets you running,
Awareness gets you sitting still.
If avoidance is like that jonsin’ feeling,
Awareness is a grounding energy.
If avoidance keeps you spinning, striving, pushing, trying,
Awareness keeps you surrendered, accepted, ready.
In Psalm 23 it says, “He make me lie down in green pastures: he leads me besides still waters.”
I love that it says he make me lie down and he leads me… Can’t you just see God almost forcing us to sit down?! Why? Because he knows the power in being still. He knows the power of no longer running and avoiding but sitting and seeing the truth.
Know the truth and the truth will set you free.
Avoidance will never set you free so here is your daily choice:
Do you want to be free or do you want to be right?
Freedom will come when you consciously choose awareness – knowing.
As long as you’re avoiding, we’ll put it this way, you’ll never know.
Awareness therefore is the way THROUGH. You’ve got to go through it. You can’t run from it, you have to face it head on to find the actual truth. Which means:
Have the conversation. Not the “hard” conversation, just the conversation.
Seek the truth. Sure, it may piss off your ego and you may find out that it (your ego) was wrong all along but I guarantee you it will set you free.
GO for it and even when you fail or have to try 100 times in 100 different ways, the process is not breaking you but strengthening you.
Do the things you think you cannot do and show yourself that you actually can – we just don’t give ourselves enough credit.
This is what you do in game time moments.
Get in the game.
Put no story behind it and trust that whatever happens you, and the God in you, can fully handle.
Now, in more intentional moments and practice sake, I want to share with you my way of becoming aware, of knowing. It’s called “going in.” And I talk a lot about this in my upcoming book, DREAM – I Dare You.
When I say create space and “go in” what I mean is creating an environment around you and within you that enables you to tune in to yourself and God in you while tuning out the rest of the world. It’s about blocking out all the noise—the excuses, the reasons, the judgment, the opinions of others, your past, future, fear, doubt, worry and/or justification and just going quiet with yourself.
Because, when was the last time you did that?
My point exactly…
So first things first, I am going to ask you to create space in any way you can. Go to your favorite place in your home, go outside and find your most favorite beautiful view, anywhere that provides the peace and serenity you need to clear your mind and tap into yourself. It’s likely that you are going to have to intentionally block out time on your calendar to do this or for others, you can do this every morning before the hustle and bustle of the day begins.
Once you’re in your space, you will begin the process of “going in.” This may be in the form of meditation. This may be prayer. This may be journaling. This may just be sitting still, quiet, by yourself. However you approach this, the reason we are settling into this place is because when you meditate, “go in,” pray, sit quietly, you are actually changing the brain because the prefrontal cortex actually shuts off. This is the part of the brain that holds your mental chatter. Research has shown that these meditative states lower anxiety, stress and any level of angst because we are literally turning off the parts of the brain that create unchecked thought processes, resulting in misaligned emotions. That’s why, when you’re in these quiet, meditative states, you will find your heart starting to share its answers with you. It doesn’t share these matters with you prior to being in this state because it’s too kind to compete with all the other noise. It won’t. It will stay still until you are. We do this also because it helps us find our wisdom and strength at our source.
1 Chronicles 16:11 says, “Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.” Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” 1 John 5:14 says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” The Bible uses a form of the word prayer 375 times. There is a reason. It’s in these quiet moments of going in that we align with the heart of God, we hear him speak, we capture the voice of our very own dreams.
I have found that I have three layers to this process – the chatter layer, the constructive layer, and the creation layer.
When I sit down to “go in,” I first approach my chatter layer. This is usually a rather disruptive, awkward five minutes. My mind is going crazy. Like the top of my head, where my brain is, actually feels like it is on fire. It’s screaming to be heard, vying for my attention and like the painful process of someone going through withdrawals, it’s really loud until it stops resisting and finally gives in. It does give in, I promise. You have to remember that the enemy uses our thoughts and the chatter of our mind to distract us from the purposes of God in our lives. The last thing he wants you to do is to get quiet with yourself and with God because he knows the power of this quiet place. The enemy knows that when you know, you are an unstoppable force. “Be still and know.”
The second layer is the constructive layer where usually where I grab a pen and paper because it is beyond the rather psycho, chatter layer and becomes rather constructive. At this layer, I’m not yet in a heartfelt layer but I do come up with some pretty cool ideas. This is the layer where I all of a sudden I remember to call someone I forgot. I come up with a cool branding idea. I think of a cool Bible story I want to tell my kids. I’m reminded of past ideas and strategies that came to me that I haven’t put into action yet. For me, this is a progressive state so I capture the thoughts and reminders it brings to me and I jot it all down on a piece of paper with no additional planning or energy. Just write it down and let it be. This layer can take 5 minutes, it can take 15 but believe me, it too runs itself out and once it does, you’re “in.”
The third layer is where I am “in.” This is the creation layer. This is the heart phase where my ego is not allowed. It’s not about being “right” or “wrong,” it’s not about the “can’s” and “cannot’s” and it’s way beyond any fear, worry or ping of doubt I could experience. This phase is about the nudge, the gut feeling, the intuition, following the lead of my knowing, hearing the voice of God speak to me and through me. Oftentimes at this phase you’ll see images and pictures, get a full download of insight, gain understanding you’ve never had before, tap into deeper levels of curiosity, and/or you’ll begin to clarify your realest, purest, wildest dreams without any effort whatsoever. It’s pure, gentle, subtle and lot of times even blank. Here, you never hold back, you never criticize yourself or your imagination, you don’t compare, reason or even ask “how.” You are just being one with your findings. You are being one with yourself. You are being one with the God in you.
Once this phase is done, again, this can last 5 minutes or it can last 30 minutes, and I have seen all I need to see (even if that means nothing), I grab my journal. I will encourage you to do the same. This is when I write down every single thing I saw, felt, noticed, and experienced. I write it all down, doing my best to leave nothing behind. I capture every last word and I write the visions of my heart. Here’s why. When you come out of this state, real life is going to hit you. Mind chatter, distractions, “reality,” all the things. You are going to have to keep close to you the things that came to you while you were “in” so you can begin to manifest those when you are “out.” You are going to have to hold the vision and trust the process.
NOTE: I did have a coaching student say to me once, “I’m not as profound and deep as you. I mean, I’m a tactical guy and I need more of a 1, 2, 3 step guide to praying and talking to God.” Oh Lord in Heaven I thought. This proves my point exactly. We don’t need a “1, 2, 3 step guide” because that would defeat the purpose. Just as a relationship with a husband and wife is unique and fashioned only for them, so is the relationships you have with yourself and with God. There is no other you and there is no other relationship like the one you have with yourself and with Gods which means, there is no “1, 2, 3 step guide.”
“Well how will I know when it’s a dream? How will I know I am hearing God?” You practice. You practice and you practice and you practice. Sometimes you won’t recognize your own voice or even God’s voice because you’re so used to hearing everyone and everything else’s. Begin this process and let it be more about gaining familiarity than getting it right. It’s about learning to trust yourself and trust His leading and that will only come when you begin this process, start your journey and reflect as you go. That’s why this is a daily process. I once heard someone say that the goal of meditating is not to be good at meditating, the goal of meditating is to be good at you. The goal of “going in” is not to “get it right,” the goal of “going in” is to “go in.” Don’t do this just to be good at it, don’t do this to just check something off your to do list, do this because it’s a practice in becoming a better version of you, a practice to hearing yourself, hearing your God and hearing the deepest dreams within you.
“What if I don’t hear anything in this quiet space?” This isn’t always about hearing and cognitively understanding. Often it’s about knowing. In Proverbs 25:2 it says, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter and the glory of kings to search it out.” What does that mean? It means that God is not keeping anything from you. It also doesn’t mean he’s not answering your prayers. It simply means that He is God and you are not. It means that he wants to be in a relationship with you more than he wants to even give you answers. It’s opportunity for you to want the healer more than the healing. There’s a song that I love by Natalie Grant that says, “Help me want the healer, more than the healing. Help me want the Savior more than the saving. Help me want the give more than the giving.” If you understood everything, you wouldn’t need God. If you could comprehend and hear every next step exactly when you needed to then there would be no need for God in your life. This space is designed to build and develop intimacy between you and God, you and yourself.
Now it’s your turn. Can you take the time and can you create the space to “go in?” To find the answers you’ve been avoiding so you can stand in your truth? And live in awareness?