In this issue ~~
Going after your dream is a labor of love. But even when you're following your heart and doing what you love, there are times when you're going to encounter obstacles. These may be big ones or a myriad of small ones, and they can be disheartening. You may not know how to get through them and give up in despair.
With any ongoing, long-term pursuit, there's a constant stream of short-term tasks. While we may see our dream out there in the distance and feel energized and excited thinking about it, when we shift our focus to what's right in front of us, it can seem like a mess of endless details and insurmountable hurdles. We may get so caught up in dealing with the difficulties that our dream starts to feel burdensome or unreachable.
There is a solution. We can develop the skill of keeping alive our vision, and all the passion and anticipation that goes with it, while simultaneously dealing with the day-to-day details. It's like driving a car. You have to keep your gaze out in the distance to anticipate what's coming up, and at the same time be able to swerve in an instant if an obstacle materializes right in front of you. It's not one or the other; you need to do both.
The Law of Attraction says that what we put attention on increases. This seems simple, in theory, but how we pay attention makes a difference. Most of us tend to spend a lot more time thinking about what we don't have, rather than what we want more of. For example, many of us pay a lot of attention to money, but more often than not, we focus on the lack of money, or what we don't have because of it, so it's the lack that we perpetuate. A subtle, but crucial difference.
In the same way, if you're focusing on the obstacles, rather than the dream, your life is going to be about the obstacles, and you'll find them expanding. Thoughts and feelings are like magnets that draw like objects to them, and negative, self-defeating thoughts will attract undesirable results. Focusing on your vision with strong intention, while dealing with the details, will carry you through the discouraging moments and bring hope about the future.
Knowing that the Law of Attraction brings you what you put your attention on, you can retrain your thought process to make it work for you. Begin by observing your thoughts. As a recovering worrier, I've become acutely aware of how relentless negative, frightened thoughts can be. They become so much a part of us that we don't even notice them. If you find it hard to remember to notice your thoughts, set a timer to go off at half-hour intervals, and write down what you're thinking. This will help uncover your habitual thought patterns.
Next, retrain yourself to phrase your wants positively. Say (and think), "I experience and enjoy excellent health," rather than, "I am no longer sick." If you want to lose weight, picture yourself enjoying playing tennis without getting winded, rather than having pictures of pigs on your refrigerator. Have something positive you can aspire to, rather than something that makes you feel bad about yourself.
Writing affirmations can reinforce your thought processes. Pick out 2 or 3 negative thoughts that you want to turn around, and write positive affirmations that counter them. For example, if you fear that your creative work isn't good enough to sell, you might phrase an affirmation such as, "The perfect buyers, who will enjoy, appreciate and benefit from my work, are attracted to it now." Once you've composed your affirmations, write each one 15 times a day. When you feel you've exhausted those, pick out new thoughts to work on, or write different affirmations that reinforce the same issue in a fresh way. In the beginning, it may take time to see results, but persistence pays off.
Changing your thoughts is a start, but there's another step: You need to bring your feelings into alignment with your thoughts. It doesn't work to think and write positive statements when you feel a knot in your stomach every time you think or write it. As you work with your positive affirmation, pay attention to your body. Notice if you feel a tightening in your throat, chest or stomach, a shallowness of breath or a sinking feeling. This negative feeling has the same effect as a negative thought.
You can turn around negative feelings in the same way that you turn around negative thoughts. Think about the things you want, and feel the excitement and joy around having them. If you start to feel fear, doubt or dread, pull yourself firmly back to positive feelings. When you feel defeated by obstacles, shift your focus back to your dream. Hold tenaciously to it and get in touch with the enlivening feelings around it. Keep your attention on an ultimately positive outcome – even if it doesn't seem likely right now. Tap into the joy of success. You may have to "pump it up" at first, but the more you do it, the easier it will get. "Fake it till you make it" does work!
Engage your senses to reinforce your thoughts and feelings. Record your affirmations on tape, and play them back in the car or as you fall asleep. Use visual aids, such as pictures and quotations that inspire you. Make a "treasure map" by collecting images and phrases and putting them into a collage that you can keep on your bulletin board or refrigerator, where you see it often. If there's a taste, touch or scent that engages your passion, work with that, too.
Speak enthusiastically about your dreams, if only to yourself and people you can trust to support you. Daydream about it. Find examples of people who have accomplished your dream, or something similar, and hang around with others who are on a similar path, with whom you can safely speak your vision and receive positive reinforcement. Keep alive the feeling of joy and possibility.
And last but not least, work with gratitude. Rather than dwelling on what's wrong or what's missing from your life, feel gratitude for all the good things you have and look forward to. When you get your paycheck, instead of begrudgingly wishing it were more, feel thankful that you're getting it! When you're paying your bills, feel grateful that you have the money to pay them, and feel the enjoyment you get from the things they're paying for. There may be times when you really have to stretch to find something to feel grateful for, but the more you do it, the easier it will get. By living in a state of gratitude, you begin to attract more of the positive things you want, and the things you don't want seem to lighten up and disappear.
Develop the skill of relentlessly shifting your thoughts and feelings to the positive. Sure, there are times when you will feel scared, discouraged or defeated. Keep shifting your focus back to your goal. Be tough with yourself. Develop a powerful will, and be unwilling to let the obstacles sidetrack you.
Keep your attention on your vision, and at the same time,
deal with the immediate concerns. Dealing with the details will
move you closer to your dream, and holding the vision will keep
your dream alive when momentary defeats get you down. Have a
strong intention about what you want, and pursue it persistently.
You'll continually get closer to your dream and receive all sorts
of unexpected rewards along the way.
Having trouble refocusing? Get quiet. Stop whatever you're doing, go to a quiet place and just sit for 5 minutes. Close your eyes to eliminate visual stimuli. If your thoughts are still racing, focus on your breath – the inhale and exhale. When your thoughts calm down, redirect them to the positive thought or feeling you want to focus on. Take a minute or two to immerse yourself in it before you go on with your day.
"Focus more on your desire than on your doubt, and the dream will take care of itself. You may be surprised at how easily this happens. Your doubts are not as powerful as your desires, unless you make them so."
"When you have too much month for you paycheck, then what you need to do is realize that there is abundance all around you and focus on the abundance and not your lack, and as night follows day, abundance will come to you."
"The quality of your life is a result of what you choose to focus on. Focus acts like a magnet. When you're grateful, you're focusing on all the things that are good or right in your life. You give those aspects of your life more power. Your world begins to feel more full and more alive."
"What I focus on in life is what I get. And if I concentrate on how bad I am or how wrong I am or how inadequate I am, if I concentrate on what I can't do and how there's not enough time in which to do it, isn't that what I get every time? And when I think about how powerful I am, and when I think about what I have left to contribute, and when I think about the difference I can make on this planet, then that's what I get. You see, I recognize that it's not what happens to you; it's what you do about it."
(click on the book graphic to see a description at Amazon.com)
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