A client I’ll call Paula came to me because she said she had heard about “this allowing thing” but she didn’t have a clue how to do it. She told me “This ole’ dog wants to learn some new tricks!” She wanted to “learn the tricks” about allowing, because there were some things she wanted in her life that weren’t there now. She had heard that allowing was the way to get them.
Allowing is a very tricky business. It is amusing in a way, because allowing is actually a natural state of being. Infants are experts at allowing. They communicate their needs, and then they allow themselves to receive. Allowing requires no effort at all. But most of us have learned unnatural ways of being. Getting back into a state of allowing after we have spent all our time and energy “trying to make things happen” can be a real challenge.
Paula is in sales…a real “go-getter”. She is very sparkly, very extroverted, very bright. Paula is used to going after what she wants, and getting it. She is very successful, the number one sales person in her company. But there were some things that she hadn’t been able to “get.” She wanted a love relationship. While she dated often, that special someone had not come along. Somehow the men she wanted didn’t seem to want her and the men who wanted her did not interest Paula.
And there were certain prospects, big accounts, that she really wanted to land, but had not been able to. She had tried everything in her bag of tricks. But in these two areas no amount of “doing” was getting the job done. “What else can I do?” Paula asked me.
We have become so focused on doing. What to do, how to do it…these are questions we have come to center our attention on because we can control this. If we don’t know how to do something we can learn. If that thing is a skill, we can practice. We can get a coach or a teacher or a mentor to help us.
We can set goals around it, strategize about it, think about it, talk about it…endless activity around it. We understand this. To some extent it is comfortable, or at least familiar, to do and do and do, to “make it happen.”
Our drive to control life is often unconscious. We don’t identify this endless activity as a control mechanism. It seems normal to us. We can fall into living a kind of robotic life where you are on an endless treadmill of doing more and more, which is very stressful. You feel like no matter how much you do it is never enough. Addictive patterns are likely to form in reaction to the frustration and stress of endless doing, as a way of losing control. You feel deeply dissatisfied and empty, always wanting more.
In terms of her lack of a lasting love relationship, Paula did feel empty. She came to me right after her fortieth birthday. She felt she had to make some big changes, but she just didn’t know what they were. She heard about this “allowing thing” and decided to give it a try. She thought is was just one more thing, one more trick, for her toolbox.
But allowing is something else altogether. We can’t control it. We can’t make it happen. Although it can be modeled for us, no one can really teach us to do it. It isn’t something “to do.” Allowing is a way to be.
Allowing is a saying “yes” to the unfolding of life with total trust, total openness, total acceptance. It is an experience in the present moment, each present moment. It is the equivalent of opening the door to your heart to whatever is going on. You open your heart with the inner knowing that this moment is leading you where you most desire to be. Obstacles and challenges and disappointments don’t necessarily look like beneficial occurrences. But they can be, when held in an attitude of trust and acceptance.
We have desires, and many of us shut them down immediately. For years Paula had focused on her career and put her personal life last. She dated, but the men in her life were always considered after her work was done. They were always in second place in her heart. Paula believed she couldn’t have both. She put her dreams of a love relationship out of her heart. So many of us do this. We already believe we can’t have our deep desires, so we don’t want to feel them.
As Paula’s fortieth birthday neared she realized that she had to make some changes. A friend referred her to me. As we worked together she let go of this false belief that “I can’t have what I want.” She asked herself “How can I allow my desire to manifest?” That is a very powerful question.
Again, it is a little tricky, because allowing is not something to do. It is a way to be. So use your imagination now and imagine your desire manifesting. What do you feel in your body? When I asked Paula this question she burst into tears. “I feel so sad,” she cried. “I feel so much regret for wasted time, even though I have enjoyed my work so much. It’s just that each night, when I go to bed alone, I feel so empty. My clients, my accomplishments at work, all the awards I have won, they don’t seem to mean that much to me anymore, even though it was enough for years and years.”
When you open to experience your deepest desires do you feel warm, and soft and open, eager even? Do you feel excited, enthusiastic, welcoming? If so, you are on the right track! These feelings are indicators that you are allowing these desires.
But maybe you feel tense, tight, sad or angry, shut down. Maybe your stomach churns, or your chest feels tight and it is hard to breathe. Maybe, like Paula, you feel grief or regret. These are signs you are not allowing.
When you feel something, no matter whether the feeling is pleasant or unpleasant, this is great feedback. It lets you know where you are. When you feel unpleasant emotions you are feeling resistance. Some part of you is definitely saying “NO.” Confusing, isn’t it?
One would think if you desire something, that all of you would desire it, and would welcome imagining having it. But in this situation imagining having your desire creates unpleasant feelings, the inner answer is “no,” or at least, “not yet.”
What to do?
The most empowered response to these kinds of shut-down body sensations is curiosity. “I wonder what’s going on with me?” And then a gentle, compassionate conversation between you and the sensations you are having physically.
If you have never done it, it might sound weird. Paula laughed when I made this suggestion to her. “No way!” she said. After discussing it a bit, Paula decided to give it a try. She asked her sadness “what are you trying to tell me?” Sadness replied “I feel so empty, so alone.” Regret replied “It is too late. There will never be a special someone for me.”
As the inner dialogue deepened false beliefs emerged. “I am not lovable. I am too old. Men only want younger women. I’m too loud. I’m too set in my ways.” And then the conversation moved deeper. “I’m afraid of being close. I’m afraid to share who I really am.”
Like Paula, if you find the courage to try it, you will find that your body has all sorts of communications and information for you. As you gain its trust, it will reveal the energies that have been hidden from your conscious awareness.
Now you are allowing the resistance. And that is a huge step forward. Most of us try to dominate or manipulate or force ourselves forward toward a desire.
This is the opposite of allowing. You may get your desire this way, but it is not likely. And if you do get it, you may be surprised to discover it wasn’t what you thought it would be at all. That ugly question arises “Is this all there is? I thought it would be more….”
As Paula and I explored these beliefs and fears we were able to reconcile the desire for intimacy and the desire to be free. Paula was able to let go of old habitual responses to her desire for intimacy and find the courage to be vulnerable. She became a softer, more inviting version of herself. Although it took practice, and working to see new options and possibilities, Paula evolved into a fuller expression of herself as a woman. And men definitely noticed.
About 7 months after Paula and I began to work together she met David at the opening of a friend’s photography exhibit. David, too, is in sales. And they both enjoy golf, and boating, and water skiing. They have been dating steadily for two months, and they seem to be growing together more each week.
So just for today, try to allow whatever is present in your present moment to be there. Be curious about what shows up. Get to know it. As you do, you will become more and more in touch with your authentic self, and saying “yes” to who you are will become easier.
This is the way to flow through life. When you begin to say “yes” to life, to allow life to be exactly as it is, you open the door to the ability to co-create your life. That is why I want to invite you to download my checklist “The 5 Keys to Conscious Co-creation.” This checklist enables you to assess your co-creation skills.
Key #1 is the ultimate stress reducer: eliminate exhaustion and overwhelm. Paula found that allowing life to unfold was a much more relaxing way to live.
Key #2 makes change smooth and effortless. As Paula allows her resistance to speak to her, areas where false beliefs stop her are easier to identify and transform.
Key #3 causes anxiety to dissolve in mere seconds, allowing you to rest in the peace that passes all understanding. Paula is learning to keep her focus on how her body feels, and this gives her the ability to assess what her emotions are and what she needs.
Key #4 reconnects you to your passion for living. Paula is opening up a softer and more receptive side of herself that is transforming the way she relates to both men and women. This has made her more approachable in both business and personal settings.
Key #5 opens the door to the experience of beauty, and why you are desperate for it. Paula feels much more in the flow of experience as opposed to trying to swim upstream. Within this flow she has much more awareness of her environment, and the beauty that is expressing through each moment.