Raising Awareness of the Opportunities Around Us
All too often we wander through life stuck inside our own minds. We struggle through problems and challenges, oblivious to the fact that solutions are sitting there, waiting for us to notice them. Most of the time, they wait patiently, like a dutiful child waits for an adult to invite them to speak. But when the Universe becomes tired of waiting, its impatience manifests in ways we can’t ignore.
Whether we make the connection between those irritants, both major and minor, and the problems we’re letting our mind wrestle with is entirely up to us.
Physical Challenges are Indications of Personal Challenges
Lately, I’ve had a frustrating time with a plumbing leak. First it was, then it wasn’t. It was here, then it was there. I lived with two holes in my slab, only to have the leak reappear in an entirely different place. At least the leak is now fixed and the holes are patched, all but the surprise hole in the wall I found when I was replacing the contents of the closet where the repair was made.
I spent a lot of time thinking about the issues with the plumbing in my house. I thought about the way I’d used excessive amounts of water and natural gas before becoming aware of the problem with my pipes. I realized that while my house was hemorrhaging natural resources, so was I, in my own way. But where were the leaks in my personal life? What resources (aside from the obvious one, money) was I hemorrhaging?
Recognizing When Plumbing Leaks Tell you to Look Within
While waiting for the leak to reappear and get fixed, I spent a lot of time meditating. I found it really tough to actually sit quietly and focus when I felt like my world was coming apart at the seams. Yet, I knew the only way to get things back in balance was to work through the frustrations calmly.
I began asking myself questions. How did the initial inaccurate locating of the leak apply to me personally? Where was I inaccurately locating my own dwindling or misused resources? While I was waiting for the leak to re-appear, I asked myself what I might be using to mask the real problem.
Not surprisingly, once I started asking myself the right questions about my personal life, the leak re-appeared, was accurately located, and repaired. I don’t see this as a coincidence.
When a new issue arose, the unmentioned hole in the wall, I asked even more questions.
How are other things affected when my attention is diverted? What am I still avoiding or neglecting?
Hidden outflow of resources
In the midst of hyper focusing on the leaks without and within, I completely missed another area where things were out of balance. My cat Toby suddenly lost a lot of weight and was refusing to eat more than a few bites. For better or worse, the vet I see now tends to look at worst case scenarios. Though the tests pointed to pancreatitis, she felt there was reason to test for lymphoma as well. Though an ultrasound revealed a couple of masses in Toby’s abdomen, the minimally invasive tests failed to turn up any cancerous cells. I’ve been treating the pancreatitis and am seeing a marked improvement in his appetite and behavior in only a week. He’s even regained almost a pound of what he lost!
Yet again I was forced to recognize that working through everything with only my brain and emotions was a sure-fire road to failure. As long as I focused on how upset I was instead of how sick he was, we made no progress. As soon as I made it about him and his comfort, he started making more effort to eat, and I got the encouraging lab work back. We put him on appropriate medication for the pancreatitis, and now, he’s acting like his old cuddly, demanding self again. He has enough energy to eat solid food, and lets me know in no uncertain terms when it’s time to give him more of the deli turkey he’s taken a fancy to.
And boy, did everything else suffer while I wallowed! I didn’t dance, I didn’t talk to anyone, I didn’t write, and I didn’t do a single thing to help my business grow and thrive.
Pay Attention to Opportunities that Arise
Recognizing when your focus is misdirected is the first step towards recognizing the opportunities which have been right in front of you the entire time. How many did I miss while my focus was too narrow, too self-involved? How many do you miss when you forget to look at the whole forest and not just one sickly little tree?
Our lives ebb and flow in a constant, ever-changing cycle. We only truly recognize it when we look back and see how what appeared to be a disaster at the time turned out to be one of the best things ever. It brought a kaleidoscope of color into our black-and-white life. We found things within ourselves we’d never have found had we not been forcibly ejected from the comfortable rut we’d dug ourselves.
Whether it’s a job you’ve lost or a relationship that ended, they all lead us to where we are at this moment. A song by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band which was later re-recorded by Rascal Flatts epitomizes this idea. Our broken roads truly do lead us to where we are today.
Laws of Attraction Doesn’t Happen in a Vacuum
If you believe in the Laws of Attraction (and not everyone does), you are probably setting intentions and seeing yourself in better situations than you currently experience. You visualize like crazy, flip your attitude, and a dozen other tools you’ve learned from the books and videos, and perhaps a webinar or two. You might also have figured out that visualizing and positive thinking alone aren’t enough.
Laws of Attraction is not now, nor ever has been about sitting around on a lily pad visualizing a better life and expecting it to drop into your lap with no effort on your part. In order to attract the life you envision (or an even better one) you have to recognize what I like to call the stepping stones.
Each time you complete a step, an opportunity you’ve been given and acted upon, you’ll be given another. But you won’t even reach the first step in your journey unless you pay attention to the signals, opportunities, and even warnings you manifest when you set those intentions. You probably won’t achieve those dreams or have the opportunity to set new ones. You’ll sit in your hovel joining the ranks who write endless posts debunking the Laws of Attraction, The Secret, and others who insist the process works.
It’s pretty simple, really. You don’t learn to dance by sitting on a bar stool and you don’t improve your life by wishing it into existence alone.
Solve the Mysteries
What’s holding you back? What challenges are you facing in your outer life that point to issues within? What signs have you been ignoring? What steps aren’t you taking to manifest your dreams? Let your mind drift. Watch those thoughts and emotions float by without engaging. They’re there, certainly. But we needn’t allow ourselves to live a life of conditioned responses. Do you really want to react to things the way you did when you were 5? or 12? or heaven forbid, 16? Feelings we formed as children and teenagers will continue to arise unless we teach ourselves that what triggered the conditioned responses no longer carries the same emotional impact.
Look at the feelings when they arise without reacting. Put on your detective hat and trace them back to their origins. See how they no longer serve your best and highest purpose—and let them go!
Embrace Periods of Uncertainty.
What about those gut feelings? The ones we feel as physical discomfort or even pain. What do they mean? Try looking at what’s happening in your life to find the trigger. Did you have a fight with someone? Is your job in jeopardy? Bills piling up? Is someone close to you ill? Is something in need of repair?
Have you experienced any of this before? How did you feel? Most important, how did you deal with it? Did you come out OK in the end?
Know that you don’t have to have all of the answers. Sometimes, you have to let something play out without reacting, or more likely, over-reacting. Be OK with not knowing. The answer will come at the right time and no amount of pushing, prodding, or worrying will make it come any faster. Accept that the information you need may not be available yet. Remain open so you’ll be ready.
Taking time to Be
Many of us are conditioned to be, do, solve, and resolve. We think we have to come up with all of the answers; all the solutions. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Even the most isolated among us can’t possibly do or solve everything. Yet learning to receive is often one of the toughest lessons we ever have to learn. And yes, we have to learn it. It’s scary because we’ve told ourselves asking for help makes us vulnerable. Maybe we can even cite an instance where doing so kicked us in the pants. If we gave up on everything that knocked us down, we’d never learn anything new. If you take it back to the very basics, we’d still be depending on someone to feed us pre-digested food which we’d poop out into a diaper!
Life is about doing things that scare us. It’s about taking chances, and making mistakes. We take a chance every day when we get out of bed. We could fall. We could cut ourselves. All the calamities we risk just moving around our own homes could bring on a full-fledged panic attack—if we let them. But we don’t. We take chances. We put ourselves out there. We learn new things.
Sometimes, what we learn is how to let go. It’s OK to do nothing at times. Though it might be hard to sit back and wait, sometimes that’s exactly what you need to do. Give yourself permission to step back and wait. It is a better answer than trying to force things. Let things unfold naturally. Let someone offer to help, and take them up on it without dissolving into a quivering mass of fear over what you mistakenly perceive as vulnerability. Because what you’re really doing is giving someone a chance to fulfill a need in themselves to help someone else!
Challenges Come to Us For a Reason
To sum it all up, the challenges in our lives aren’t really challenges at all. They’re opportunities to move further along our path. Each one mastered brings us closer to one of our dreams. Sure, they may not seem like opportunities at the time. Sometimes, we just have to take what’s before us at face value, putting one foot in front of the other until we get past the bumps in our road.
Some are gentle and others are what I like to call “Universal Head Slaps”. They kick our butts and force us to put everything we have into learning the lesson. I believe those are truly the best ones because afterwards, we’re left with not only some new skills, but a tremendous feeling of accomplishment. Anyone who has been through a divorce or a death in the family knows the sense of pride that comes with weathering one of life’s tougher storms. You get to add another “I got through that!” to your list of outstanding accomplishments. You’re stronger and smarter for the experience. You’ll need those tools for the challenges and opportunities to come.
Whether You Call Then Challenges or Opportunities, Gratitude Makes Your Road Less Rocky
My gratitudes today are:
- I am grateful for the challenges which became opportunities to be stronger, smarter, and closer to my dreams.
- I am grateful for the times when the road was smooth and the times when it felt like I was herding cats.
- I am grateful for the people who are helping me learn the joys of receiving.
- I am grateful for the gift which allows me to communicate the lessons I’ve learned.
- I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, challenges and opportunities, sharing, caring, compassion, vulnerability, strength, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.
Love and Light
The Facebook Live on this topic can be found here.
Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information.
Photo courtesy of Russellstreet via Flikr