Leave the Path Open

I’ve been wrestling with the idea of failure recently.  Apparently I have some emotional backlog in this area.

Failure is the conclusion I reach when I set out to accomplish something but I don’t.  This is only possible when I believe that I know how to accomplish something.

For example, I exercised rigorously for about a year and half with a goal to slim down my waist.  I knew that modifying my diet was a component of such an endeavor, but I was so attached to eating that I chose to ignore that part.  I thought that if I exercised the right way I could slim down without having to change what I eat.

I’m embarrassed to admit but I was wrong.  30 minutes of exercise, 3-4 times a week, without modifying my diet, didn’t accomplish what I wanted.  Sure, I gained some muscles, and my energy level was higher.  But I was fixated on the one result I wanted, I thought I knew how to get it.  When results didn’t show up over a long enough period, my motivation wilted.

Now, don’t get me wrong, failure-free life isn’t my goal.  Failures are our best teachers.  I’m simply trying to learn a lesson it’s trying to teach.  The above is not an isolated incident in my life.  I can point to many other similar patterns, which points to an emotional backlog.  So I’ve been consciously feeling that disappointment of failure every time it crops up.  If my stuck emotion is flushed then even when I run into setbacks I will stop getting upset about it and letting it affect my motivation.  All I need is a tweak in the approach, abandoning it is entirely unnecessary.

All that being said, I am realizing that there is too much reliance on the path, or how to get there.   Not only do I get fixated on a certain result but I get too attached to a particular path.  While it takes a while to figure out if a certain approach is working or not, I didn’t have to spend a year and half before realizing that that how needed reconsidering.  I wasn’t enjoying myself and I hurt my back a few times.  Instead of reevaluating I doubled down with heavier resolve and willpower, until those ran out.  (remember, willpower is a finite resource.)

Here is a better approach:

  1. Identify the experience you’re trying to create.  Be very clear on how that feels but not get as attached to how that will happen.
  2. Identify an enjoyable approach that you think will create that experience.  Pursue it regularly but in the spirit of “here I am!  Show me how to do this” instead of “I’m going to make this happen by doing this.”

I’m learning that my intellect and will both have limits and by relying exclusively on them I am not incorporating my intuition and spiritual antenna in my pursuits.  And I consider myself intuitive and spiritual!  Instead of trying to figure out the what and how solely by performing calculations and executing with willpower, what I need to do is to ask the question and show up regularly for the answer to arrive.  I can start trying but more in the spirit of playful experiment rather than heavy commitment.

You never know what will bring the result or what form it takes, but being open to it will leave room for those pleasant surprises.  The path will be filled with more wonder and discovery this way.  It’s a paradigm shift for me but I think I can change now that my emotional backlog is getting drained.

I’ll try it and will let you know how it goes.