I’ve discovered that many of my clients have the impression that “being in the flow” means “everything is always easy.” That if you’re in the flow, people and opportunities show up unexpectedly at just the right time, doors open and there is a magic quality to life.
Yes!! That happens. All of it. And it’s fun and freeing.
Being an entrepreneur, being a leader, working to make a difference in people’s lives, is hard work. That’s why so few people do it, and even fewer are able to make a sustainable living at it.
There’s a reason that you have hard, shitty times.
It is NOT because you’re:
- a screw-up
- not as good as other people
- have made mistakes in the past
- there’s something wrong with you
You may be very attached to one or more of those points of view, but they aren’t true. They’re just something you tell yourself to stay small and feeling safe.
The reason that you have these tough, shitty times is that you’ve chosen to live a conscious life, which means that you’re working to expand your understanding, your abilities, your leadership, and how you show up in the world.
Layers of an Onion — NOT
For years I’ve heard people talk about mindset and energy issues as being like peeling off the layers of an onion, working to get to the core.
I see it as just the opposite.
YOU are at the center. As you expand outward, you encounter layers of the limiting beliefs and fears that have felt like protection in the past.
I use the metaphor all the time with my clients that it’s like a coat you wore when you were 6 or 7. Remember how snuggly, warm and protective it felt?
If you put it on now, how would it feel? Constrictive, tight and uncomfortable, right? There was nothing wrong with how it felt before, and nothing wrong about how it would feel now. It’s simply that you’ve grown.
Your limiting beliefs and fears have kept you comfortable and protected up to this point. That kept you safe in ways that you needed to feel safe. Now you’re ready to expand beyond them. You’re noticing them because they feel restrictive and limiting and out of alignment with who you are becoming. You’re outgrowing them.
That’s a big part of your discomfort right now – releasing those things that have felt comfortable up until now.
What’s Wanting to Happen?
The thing is, it’s not just some thoughts that you’re releasing. Sometimes it means releasing relationships, aspects of a lifestyle or your business (employees, clients, ways of doing things) that have felt safe and comfortable, yet are not fully you.
You may not have been aware that they were out of alignment before. In fact, they may not have been out of alignment with who you were before. But you’re in the process of becoming, so you have to release what’s not in alignment with who you are becoming.
This can bring sadness. Sometimes it brings pain and even guilt. You may feel in deep conflict about it because you see how it would be easier and more comfortable, and (it may feel like) more kind to people around you, to stay where you are and not make waves. To stay with okay.
And yet at the same time, something within you is crying out for something else, for something that’s more authentic for you. Crying out for what’s in alignment with who you’re meant to be.
It’s hard. It takes a lot of faith in yourself and where you’re guiding yourself to go. It takes a willingness to go through the discomfort, to feel the sadness and pain, to cry tears you need to cry. Sometimes you have to let your heart break so that it can break open and let this more expanded, more aligned and more powerful version of you emerge.
You can’t create the life you’re dreaming of while staying the person you are in the life you’re living right now. You have to get uncomfortable. You have to be willing to do things differently. You have to be willing to change.
Tweet: When we don’t fully feel our pain and sadness, we don’t fully feel our joy.
Remember that caterpillars go through a period of breaking down in the chrysalis, so that they can emerge in a new and different form. It’s so easy to stop at the breaking down. To stop when things get uncomfortable, or REALLY uncomfortable.
It’s okay if that’s the choice you want to make. Just know that the choice not to change comes at the cost of not experiencing the butterfly that you are.
The good news is that this tough time won’t last. This is a phase you’re passing through on the way to something bigger and more authentically YOU.
This article is the first in a series about how to mindfully, healthily and powerfully move through hard situations. This will NOT be “3 Steps to Make this Fun and Easy.”
Not dealing with the fact that it’s hard, not giving yourself the gift of compassion and being fully present to the experience is a disservice to you. That just creates resentment and unprocessed stuff that will come up later.
Going through it mindfully, with presence, allows you to fully live your life and to experience the full range of what it means to be ALIVE. When we don’t fully feel our pain and sadness, we don’t fully feel our joy. Have you noticed how vibrant nature looks when the sun comes out after a thunderstorm?
So here’s recommendation #1 for getting through difficult situations – Remember WHY you’re doing this, and TRUST.
You’ve got a big commitment here. What is it? Greater service to your clients? A fuller expression of your life’s purpose? Making a bigger difference in the world? Modeling something better for those around you?
Trust that inner calling of your commitment. If you start to feel caught up in doubt and strong emotions, give yourself the time and space to feel all of it.
Then, when the storm has passed, reconnect with WHY you’re doing this, with the bigger picture.
You’re moving through this phase. It won’t always be this way. You WILL come out on the other side and, just as with a sunrise, there will be light again.
Very nice article Sara. I think you can be “in the flow” when things aren’t going your way, but you know you will get through them and be just fine. It is about faith and trust and knowing that you have all you need.
Thank you, Corinne.
I agree with you about trust. What I often see when people hit a hard spot is that they add on a layer of beating themselves up for “not being in the flow”. As you said, you can be “in the flow” AND in a rough spot. Having faith, staying present to what you’re feeling, and taking the next step is key. Oh, and breathing.