If you’ve been following along this little new year’s adventure with me, you might have a whole list of honesty. Of feelings, needs and/or wants. As as we talked about last time, this list might scare the crap out of you. I know mine does. I bet that, like me, you’ve got that list safely tucked into a journal where it can’t hurt anybody, because opening it up is like one of those movies where light pours out of the pages and magic crackles in the air. Those feelings are powerful, right? Like at any moment they could jump off the page and throw you in front of a bus.
Well, not literally a bus. The bus being more like the way your life is going while you’re sitting on the sidelines, waiving to the driver like a good girl, not making any sudden movements.
But this is your life. Isn’t it time you made some sudden movements?
There’s a famous quote by Anais Nin that goes,
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
Let’s be real – you’ve seen that quote out and about, and thought it was pretty, and well written, and poignant. But with all this honesty work, doesn’t it resonate even more? Doesn’t it being a bud seem almost painful? Isn’t that why you’re looking for freedom anyway?
Anymore, I’m terrified of about 90% of the shit I do everyday. Maybe that’s an exaggeration – it’s probably more like 87%. I have fear constantly – even as I write these words (these scary, scary words), but I think that’s just what happens when you start to believe your feelings. You can’t not do it anymore. You can’t not be yourself anymore. You can’t be the bud anymore, it’s time to bloom.
As for The Freedom Equation, you’ve arrived at the plus sign – that place between honesty and courage that marries the two together. You’re at that place where you need that extra something to allow you to be courageous, to give you permission to make that big move, and to give you a freakin’ sign from the universe that it’s a good idea.
That something, my dears, is faith.
Remember, fear is part of your life. It’s what keeps you alive (thank you, fear!). And in that space between honesty and courage, fear gets set on its haunches and leans back, ready to leap forward and face palm you before you go to far. Faith is what gives you the power to float over the fear. To ninja your way out of its range. Faith is what gives you the power to see fear coming, put it in an arm bar, throw it to the ground and step over it on your way to courage. Faith is what gives you the vision and the plan. Hell, faith is the vision and the plan.
In the psychology of yoga, there’s one thing those ancient dudes talk about over and over in the Yoga Sutras. No, it’s not downward facing dog (which doesn’t even warrant a mention, by-the-by). It’s called bhavana, and it means positively visualizing a lovable future. They also talk a lot a lot about faith – meaning confidence – and how it’s crucial for reaching any goal you set for yourself.
Your goal is freedom. You’ve got your honesty, so the pathway to freedom is through the door of courage. Bhavana is what helps us gain the faith we need to knock confidently on courage’s door.
The positive effects of visualization are well known – it’s used by professional athletes, actors, millionaires, artists and your average go-getter. The key to doing it well is to make it a full body exercise – to get your whole system used to the future so that it believes you – which makes your fear quiet down, allows you to have more confidence, and before you know it you’re skipping up to the door of courage. They say that mindset is everything – but there’s more to it than that. Having the right mindset is nothing if you don’t believe your own mind. Bhavana can help with that.
Bhavana is pretty simple. Take out your journal again and look at all those honest feelings, needs and wants. Let them sink in to your whole body; meaning, don’t just see them, feel them. Next, allow yourself to imagine your life if all those feelings, needs and wants were recognized, acknowledged, validated and loved. Envision the perfect scenario.
It’s extremely important that, during this visualization, you evoke your emotions and feel the whole thing happening. Feel it in every cell of your body.
(If you need help with this step, try this meditation.)
Next, using a clean journal page, write out statements about your future in positive, concrete and specific terms as if you had your goals right now. Take a moment between each one and let the feeling of each statement sink in.
Let’s try an example. Let’s say my honesty journalling tells me that I’m really not happy in my job – I feel under appreciated, over-qualified, and feel very conflicted about the values of the place I’m working for. I’ve always wanted to nourish and delight other people, and have dreamed of opening a little gelato truck called, “Lickity and Split.” But I have all the fears about doing it.
Remember, you want your statements to be positive, meaning using positive framing – instead of “I don’t want,” say what you do what. You want them to be concrete and specific, meaning that they’re set in reality and targeted. Instead of, “I want lots of customers,” say, “I see 800 customers a week.” Finally, make your statements set now – instead of, “It will be,” use, “It is.”
So, following our example, a snapshot of your bhavana might look something like this:
- Lickity and Split is registered as a business through all the appropriate channels.
- I have sufficient (and more!) capital to get started and to sustain me.
- My brand is strong and people love to know more about what I’m about.
- I make daily profits.
- My family is supportive.
- My work reflects my values.
- I feel amazing everyday when I wake up for work.
- Work feels fun and rewarding.
Make your bhavana specific. Keep it open so you can add to it. Remember to dive into the feelings surrounding each statement. If you want bonus points, take this one step further – create To Do lists for both you AND the the universe that includes what you can do to get started (things like getting a business license, applying for loans), and what you need the help with from the powers that be (meeting someone with connections, helping you find the perfect location, etc).
Look over your bhavana daily for the next few weeks. Feel into your statements, stick with your visualization, and start to notice the difference in how your life feels. Remember, we’re building faith – the magic juice that ties honesty and courage together. If this feels hard, try doing a bhavana for smaller things in your life – parking spaces, a chat with friends, or a good day at work. Show yourself that it’s okay to trust yourself – to have confidence and faith that things can work out.
Once you’ve got faith, you’ll be able to saunter up and
politely knock loudly bang down the door to courage.