There’s no better time than now to enjoy your life and experience it as an exciting journey of discovery. Nothing needs to happen-it’s an internal shift of consciousness. Dancing on the River, is an attitude that is a reflection of a life decision to be happy in the moment that you make over and over again. Unfortunately too many of us find a litany of reasons and excuses not to be happy. We focus on what’s wrong or what might go wrong rather than on what’s right. We often think to ourselves, if only this were different, I could be happy. We are constantly reminded by the 24/7 media of what’s wrong in our society. Many of us feel boxed in and our options seem limited.
The good news is that we have the power to change our attitudes, once we change the underlying beliefs behind them. When we live from our center and expand our sense of self, we begin to consider possibilities in our lives that at one time we didn’t know existed. It’s like climbing a mountain. When we begin our climb what we see is limited. It’s only when we reach the higher peaks that our view is expanded. We’re able to see things that we’ve never seen before.
There is a natural evolution to life’s unfolding. Changing how you think is the result of many years of self-exploration and inquiry. Many of us struggle with a negative self-image that limits what we think is possible in our life. As a result we’re reluctant to make changes or try anything new. We play it safe, remain stuck in our comfort zone and watch the river of life flow by without us.
These limiting beliefs, which are at the core of our negative self-image, affect our relationships, our careers and what we believe is possible. I’m sure you’re familiar with most of them. The phrase “I’m not” is common to most all of these beliefs.
I’m not lovable
I’m not good enough
I do not deserve to be successful
I cannot make enough money
These beliefs are the filters through which we see the world. If you want to see life differently you need to change your lens. The lens isn’t going to change overnight, but at some point you have to begin the process. For many years, I struggled with the belief that I wasn’t successful. I was in a profession that ranked you by wins and losses, how much money you made and who your clients were. The problem was that no matter how well you were doing , there was always someone who was doing better. I got over it. I created my own definition of success. Here’s what I came up with: It’s more than making money. It’s more than being recognized by your peers in a career. It’s about liking who you are. It’s about being happy. It’s about having loving relationships. As I continued to focus on the inner work, my expanded view of success and what’s possible became integrated into my belief system. I was no longer restrained by my comfort zone. I let go of my resistance and became curious about what was next. It was no longer a question of if, but a question of when. Soon after, I took a leap of faith and made the career change from trial lawyer to life coach.
What helped me in the integration process was that after meditating, I expressed gratitude for the success that was in my life. Focusing on what you are grateful for shifts your focus from what you don’t have or what isn’t working to what you do have and what is working. Eventually I began to think of myself as successful. My success didn’t depend on the circumstances of my life, but was an inherent belief about who I was as a person.
Not only did expressing gratitude help me see myself as successful, it helped me overcome my tendency to worry. I know this tendency places me in good company. When I feel myself worrying excessively there are three questions I ask myself:
• The first is, what is the worst that can happen? Remember
worry is an irrational emotion.
• I then ask myself, “How likely is it that what I’m worrying
about will occur?” This question gets me out of the irrational mode. When you are in the irrational mode you usually imagine the worst-case scenario. This inquiry forces me to detach from what I’m feeling, even if just for a few seconds. Once I’m feeling calmer, I’m ready to explore the likelihood of the particular thing I’m worrying about actually occurring. Usually I come to the conclusion that there is little
likelihood of it happening.
• The next inquiry I have found quite powerful. Ask yourself what the result would be if everything went your way. Very few of us consider this possibility. When you allow yourself to fully explore and imagine the possibilities of everything working out in your favor, with the same intensity of emotion that you have when you worry, before you know it, you’re out of your funk and excited again. More often than not I am pleasantly surprised.
We have no way of knowing what will happen in the future, yet for some reason when we worry we think we do. We don’t like uncertainty. But it’s learning to play the edge of uncertainty that is so liberating. We have a desire to know what the future might bring, yet it’s being curious about where the river is taking us that will give us a feeling of excitement and adventure. This feeling of aliveness is what I call Dancing on the River. The truth is that none of us really know what’s ahead. But when we’re curious life becomes less of a struggle and more of an exciting journey of discovery. We welcome what’s next.
Eventually there is a turning point, when most of our thoughts are on what’s right, rather than on what’s wrong; on possibility rather than limitation. We’ll still have concerns and moments of doubt, but we’ll be excited by what we discover as we continue to explore this great mystery that we call life.
Mark Susnow, is an executive and life coach, who inspires others to believe in themselves. A former trial attorney for 30 years, he integrates what it takes to be successful in the world with the inner wisdom unfolded to him through years of yoga and meditation. He is the author of, Dancing on the River:Navigating Life’s Changes.