Re-Invention: What to do when things don't turn out the way we wanted
I want to talk about Re-Invention.
But first I want to talk about waking up to what is not working.
What do we do when things don’t turn out the way we wanted?
What do we do when life doesn’t “fit” our pictures.
When we have tried all the tricks: the potions, the rituals, the positive thinking, the books and the seminars. When we have tried the quick fixes and the long fixes. All the stuff that was guaranteed to work if we will just work it – and it still isn’t working – then what? We keep waiting for our “ship to come in” meanwhile we are getting more behind every day.
When things are still not turning out as we had planned, no matter how hard we try – or how much we believe that it is going to flow to us with ease if we could just sit back and meditate on our ideal life, then what? What if we get cancer anyway? What if we are infertile? What if we have to get false teeth? What if there isn’t enough food in the cupboard? What if there is no cupboard? What if we lose our house after years of good behavior at the banks? What if there was no house? What if we cannot get a good nights sleep and we see the whole world through wonky spectacles? What if the good die young and the bad keep toasting their champagne glasses? What if, after years of diligent action, our business fails anyway? What about running out of ideas? What then?
Where do we go when we feel we have already looked everywhere?
These love letters are born out of my own experiences and the sometimes tens and sometimes hundreds of others I work with whose stories inform my conversation. When considering what is relevant to write about – I tune into the predominant thread that I heard people suffering from…and this month, it was recognizing that life is not turning out as we had hoped. And…what we can do about it. Exploring the “dark side” of broken dreams is not focusing on the negative, on the contrary, naming what we FEEL is not working give us the vision to re-invent from a place of acknowledgement of how things are.
While it is true, that perspective plays a huge part in how our lives unfold and how we experience our lives, there are still certain realities, that cause a gi-normous amount of folks to feel despairing about their lives. Positive thinking only goes so far, when someone cannot go to the doctor or dentist, or they lost their job, and so on.
We can re-invent – but first, acknowledgement of what is might be something to consider.
This letter is addressed to the majority of folks I have experience with, average bears like me, not the top of their field, and not the most down-trodden. Middle of the roaders, an admittedly privileged view. But just because we usually DO have enough to eat and family and friends to support us does not mean our plight is not serious, indeed, it is quite serious. Why? Because we are the privileged ones who have the power to act and make change, and if we are too depressed to take action on behalf of the earth and our brothers and sisters – then – we got a problem!
I don’t know about you – but regardless of all the blessings I have, and they are many, I am in awe of how things are unfolding in the world. With all the hardship others are experiencing in the world, we still have to wake up and face ourselves every day and really look at – WOW. This is not what I expected for my life. I thought I would be somewhere else – other than I am. Regardless of what we think about where we are – still, it might not be what we thought we wanted and it is time for a picture adjustment. Feeling the pain of others with compassion, while it informs our very steps daily through this world, does not change the basic reality of our lives and how they’re going right now. Today. We do however, have the power to shift our perspective.
I am a firm believer in ‘count your blessings’. I am a firm believer in a gratitude journal. I am a firm believer in never giving up. I am a hopeless optimist. I know how to talk about and teach about the miracles life brings, most especially when we choose to live from the heart and WAKE the blank up. But I also know that at some point…
If we don’t check our realities, they will check us, and it is not always pretty.
My friends whose businesses and lives are going super duper, are continuing to sing the praises of “how to think” our way to the top or giving thanks to God who makes it all happen. The friends whose businesses are failing and whose customers aren’t buying wonder why all that they are doing is not working any more. What used to work isn’t working the same way – and they even set up a Twitter account to try to keep up with the fast pace of technology.
Maybe…just maybe…there isn’t a pattern? What if the pattern is more random than we think.
What if life is a crazy quilt?
So what do we do when things don’t turn out the way we wanted? Well, there are lots of ideas out there, and my solution is that I invent a practice to hold the changes I want to make.
I confront my beliefs and realities with practices of art and language. Now, I don’t allow the “what is not working” to fester without delving into it. I don’t think we can afford to let things “go” (or we wake up one day and wonder where our lives have gone.) If we keep the challenges and victories PRESENT, our quality if life will be better regardless of the circumstances because we can CHOOSE to reframe our experience.
When I feel blue the best thing for me is not to hear someone telling me it is all going to be all right. Evidence suggests otherwise – I first like to be heard as I am. And then, afterward, to be gently lifted from my puddle and dried off with a soft towel.
What do we do when things don’t turn out the way we wanted? We re-invent our thinking, our lives, our work, our homes. And first – we do a reality check practice because to powerfully Re-Invent, it is good to know where you are now and what you have to work with.
RE-Invention Reality Check Practice
1. name what isn’t working, with gentleness
2. name what is working, with gratitude
3. choose to move towards what is working, with commitment
4. choose to lean into the edges for a better look at what isn’t working
5. forgive yourself for what isn’t working and what you didn’t pull off
6. contact and apologize and make amends to those you may have hurt
7. find new language which allows for reframing of the problem/challenge
8. re-invent through writing down a hopeful, do-able, course of action
9. continue to evaluate daily, what you can and cannot do about it
10. develop and nurture a creative or spiritual practice to give context
And celebrate every single victory. Give thanks!
Perhaps the most important one is #5 – forgive yourself. Because if we don’t do this step, it carries on into the rest of our work and continues to infect our progress with things like guilt and shame.
For each of the ten reality checks above there are ways to approach them. For example when you name what isn’t working you can do it in a meditation or you can make a list. You might even start a reality check journal, don’t call it that of course – choose something much more exciting, mine is: A Year of Great Promise and everything goes in there, the good the bad and the not so pretty. I also suggest writing a Re-Invention Declaration, a guideline that you can move from, it could be as simple as a sentence or two or a few pages.
Have you tried positive focused obsessive behavior has coping tool?
The work of Re-Invention is a journey like anything else, and it requires a certain amount of focus-pocus, a combination of diligent action with mindfulness and a heap of hope and prayers. And, my final recommendation, positive obsessive behaviour. Choose a project or business to work on that helps you hold your re-invention focus. Approach it with heart, passion, and a little obsessive action which helps to hold the patchwork of re-invention. I truly and profoundly, almost obsessively believe in the power of a project to ‘hold’ fragments of our life together. When we get into something, really INTO something, that inspires and provokes, causes us to research and stay up late, makes us probe and think and ask different questions – it creates a hold, a weave, which weaves through our days. Give us a “something to live for”.
And then there is turning to God, which I always recommend,
but that is a topic for another day…
I live project to project -happily obsessed with the work of giving, and of visionary business. Tomorrow we begin our first ever online visionary business course, Big Dream Cafe, featuring women whom I love and most of whom I would call my friends, including SARK, Christine Arylo, Shakti Gawian, Juila Stege, Danielle LaPorte and Alice Walker to name a few…woman visionaries gathering to share their wisdom. Visionary business is one of my happy obsessions, working on how we can thrive in a world that does not value heart based business choices. It is a grand endeavor to translate matters of heart and math into a textural loving experience – so if you think of it, send a prayer our way as we embark on a grand adventure. Or, come on over and work for 8 weeks on your own business or idea…we guarantee to provoke, inspire, inform and give you things to happily obsess over. Also this weekend, on the sacred day of May 1, we are having Speaking Her Truth for Women and Girls. Scholarships are available for both. Want to participate in my re-invention – which is to create miracles with others?
This letter is invitation to Re-Invent.
I want to say I am truly sorry for what you have suffered – whatever it is. I am really truly sawwwrrrryyy… I know it is hard, and harder still to keep believing in you – but, I do. I believe in you, in us, and in humanity. And in a loving Creator.
Things for me have been stunningly beautiful, and profoundly push-me-to-the-wall-esque. Hence the title of this post. But I am a diligent worker bee, you won’t find me a single day without my re-invention hat on.
All of this is an exploration, as I navigate my own life and turn my challenges into opportunities.
Blessed Pink Moon To You – don’t miss going out to see the moon tonight and make a wish upon your star…
Learn more about the upcoming courses at http://www.cosmiccowgirlsuniversity.com