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Why Surrender is the most Challenging, Important Step Toward your Dreams

Aerial Adventure Leap of Faith

Surrender is the most challenging, important step toward manifestation. Our minds usually give enough attention to something we want, and intention happens merely by wanting it and dreaming about it. These three combined – intention, attention and no-tension – is the formula to bring any true-self desire into form.

So why is surrender so hard? Why do we try to control everything we can get our graspy hands on? Why do we fear releasing our grip?

My hunch is that we mistake our own emotional or mental imbalance for instability in our lives. That instability causes us to hold on to whatever is perceived as stable for dear life.

On a weekend trip to Catalina with my husband, we decided to experience its Aerial Adventure obstacle course suspended high amongst a eucalyptus grove. While each climb, swing and slide was challenging, I found that the rope free fall to be the hardest.

I knew the pulley system would catch me after a few feet, but standing 30 feet in the air on the platform, I did not want to jump off. I stood frozen while contemplating whether I should go backward through the course, where I could hold firmly to ropes and chains and maneuver my feet along the steps, in order to come back down. The leap was the last obstacle to overcome.

Giving up control and being willing to lean into whatever happens next is like taking that trust free-fall on an obstacle course. We must have faith that the pulley system will work in our favor.

I eventually jumped, and after a second of feeling my stomach in my throat, the ropes caught and I lowered to the forest floor as gently as a leaf while laughing at my prior self’s fear.

We can over-effort over an extended period of time and it’s still not as effective in creating what we want as it is to simply let go. Some of the most respected coaches and spiritual guides (such as Martha Beck, Deepak Chopra, and Gabby Bernstein) all attest that the not-so-secret ingredient to manifesting our dreams is simply surrendering and trusting the Universe/Source/God to coordinate details.

I read a blog by Master Coach Abigail Steidley about what she has dubbed the Slacker Vision Board. It’s no more than writing “Vision Board” on a dry-erase board with subsequent visions listed underneath, and then walking away and forgetting about it. And it works! Brilliant!

I don’t know about you, but I want more of that ease in my life. With all the over-efforting our society has engrained in us and how we place busy-ness on a pedestal of importance, our problem is not will power or dedication. It’s that we don’t have an equal amount of rest, pleasure and play. We are unbalanced.

And when things feel off balance, we have a tendency to hoard perceived stability in the form of things we can control like money, material objects, and salaried jobs. So we amass and we work and we amass some more, but are never satiated. In fact, we continue to throw off our balance and the co-dependent cycle is strengthened.

As scary as it is to give yourself permission to rest, play and then leap, trust that the Universe/Source/God will carry you gently to your intended destination and your dreams will meet you there.

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Distinguishing Between Core & Surface Desires

Manifesting what you want

Have you ever really wanted something to work out – new job, new relationship, someone’s approval – and it simply didn’t? Where you’ve put a great deal of time, energy and effort into making it happen and yet it dissipated as quickly as boiled water vapor into the air?

The disappointment can be tangible. And it can seem at odds with the belief that you can manifest whatever you want. So what’s the difference? Why can we manifest some things and not others?

Desire is a complicated and interesting emotion. It’s important to notice the underlying current beneath the object of what you desire. Often what we think we want is based entirely on something else.

For a new job, are you really looking for more stability, more security, more mental stimulation and fulfillment, or to be supported and praised for our achievements? With the new relationship, are you truly seeking love, acceptance, or feeling valued? In regards to someone’s approval, are you looking for validation that you’re enough?

What’s at the base of your desire? What is the feeling state that you hope to achieve?

Once we can identify that, we can address our core needs head on. Otherwise, even if we get the specific outcome we were hoping for (job, relationship, approval — all surface desires), it may not actually satiate our core desire.

With the core feeling state held gently in our attention, like you would cradle a fragile shell. Then set an intention for yourself. That could be any of the following:

May I feel stable. May I feel fulfilled. May I feel supported. May I feel loved. May I feel valued. May I feel that I am enough.

May I…(use your own words).

Then envision already having all the circumstances that you believe will provide you with that feeling state.

Now notice how you feel in your body. Are you looser? Holding less tension? Lighter?

You have just given yourself exactly that core need you identified.

I invite you to meditate on that visualization, including repeating the mantra of choice (from above) for 10 minutes a day for a full week. Then notice how you pull other circumstances toward you that support this emotional state.

You may not get what you asked for, and yet you may find you’re getting exactly what your core self wants.

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Claim Your Independence

American Flag

As we contemplate the 4thof July holiday, celebrating our independence from British taxes and tyranny, I invite you to consider the areas of your life that you feel symbolically overtaxed. What areas of your life do you feel you’re bound and beholden to a tyrant?

That could be regularly putting in overtime at work, so much so that it’s your new norm and you believe you can’t backslide into a more manageable 45-50 hours a week. Maybe it’s feeling unappreciated in your job by your colleagues or a highly condescending and demanding boss. Brilliance by end of day, or else!

It could be that certain relationships are out of balance. Your aging parents need more care, time and attention than you have to give — let alone available for your own needs. Maybe it’s that one friend who is always in an emergency situation and calling you for something she needs, but doesn’t pick up the phone when you’re in a bind. Or that significant other, who can’t seem to find a job so is quite comfortable sitting on your couch all day and letting you pay for meals.

Maybe it’s society’s demands that you “do it all” – climb the career ladder; tend to the household maintenance, cooking and cleaning; be the perfect spouse/partner; volunteer in the community – all with a smile on your face while maintaining your high school physique.

It could even be your own lizard brain that rules the roost and tells you all sorts of fantastical lies that keep you up at night or kill your self-confidence. You’re not enough! You don’t have enough money! You’re going to get fired! There’s not enough time! No one likes you! You should have known and done better – you idiot! Who are you to think that you can go out on your own and start your own business?

Do any of these sound familiar?!

Whatever tyranny and taxation you’re experiencing, let July 4th be your Independence Day!

Feel into the boundaries that are right for you!

I invite you to start with a meditation to become still and present. Bring awareness into your body and physically notice where those boundary lines are with your job, your relationships, society’s expectations of you, and even your own self-talk thoughts that continue to pop up and cause you angst.

If any of these feel physically constricting or heavy – that’s not your truth.

If it physically feels freeing and light – that’s your truth.

Discover what is right for you. (And let me add that what is right for me, is not right for you, nor is it right for the next person. We each need to determine what our individual and unique boundaries are.) And then stand in your truth, be willing to have your own back.

If it’s something, or someone, you believe you “have to” deal with, then how can you better your situation (or trade it with someone else to handle)? Become your own creator!

Another helpful tool to implement is replacing “I have to” with “I get to” for the things you willingly choose to do. It not only shifts your attitude from helpless to empowered, but also elicits gratitude. After all, unless you’re being held at gunpoint, every decision and action is a choice. Free-will is a freedom and we are blessed with many options and opportunities.

This is your one and precious life. Take it back. Claim your independence!