It is part of the human condition to work for and initially enjoy a gift, then over time be susceptible to the incorrect thought the gift is an “entitlement”.

In my teens I wrote a plan.  The “What I will achieve to be happy plan.”  I executed the plan; step by step.  I announced the plan.  I denounced anyone’s “negativity” of the plan immediately.  I was laser focused.  Life was grand. The first success was intoxicating “I did it, look I did it.”  Calls were made.  Celebration plans set.  Raw emotion, glee and gratitude expressed.

Over time, I just ticked off “complete”.   Successes got a stoic nod. Egoic corruption slowly creeped in with thoughts like  “I worked hard for this” rather than a feeling of deep gratitude and thanks.  Success became monotonous. Each achievement viewed as an “obstacle to clear out of the way” to the ‘real prize’.

Eventually, success became an expectation. 

A defiant demand!  Delays to “the plan” became an irritation.  A “problem” to “fix” to get back to the plan. I become more serious.  Victories felt laborious.  Life was work.  Since I was “so busy” I took little time for “review”.

I did give a lot back, and have always been extremely generous with my heart, time, expertise and finances.  Even this “giving unconditionally” became an autonomic response and therefore felt as flat as the rest of ‘the plan’ masquerading as ‘my life’.

I had given up on having children (we tried for years) giving me license to further indulge in my workaholic egoic belief system.  And as work had peeked, the news came I was pregnant (another to do item on the list checked).  This caused more anxiety than joy.  Three children, in four years, and four businesses (50 employees) and even with a full staff, was simply too much to manage.  Though I did not acknowledge my humanity and just dug in harder to “work hard” and “make it happen”.

One morning I woke up feeling numb. 

Self said “how strange, I have everything I said I wanted and yet none of it makes me happy.  I worked very hard.  I gave a lot.  I set goals and smashed them.  I got exactly what I said I wanted.”  Then Self asked “So what gives?” and that’s when everything changed.

Questions open doors; just often not the specific door we imagined or in the way we are often conditioned to expect things “should happen”.

BOOM!   The real estate market crashes and I lose 50% of my income and 50% of my accumulated equity which continued to spiral down the drain. BOOM! Then our daughter almost dies at age 4 and is in a coma for the eight longest days of my life.  BOOM! Then a partnership goes sideways.  Like a wave crashing over a sandcastle, the plan is wiped out, and washed away, as though it never really existed.

This is when I began to appreciate the gift of ‘radical disruption’.  

My daughter survived – deep gratitude returned to my heart because a bell rang every day when another child died during those eight days.  Instead of “I deserve this” it became “I’m thankful that bell is not for our child”. I made the choice to see the “crash” as a gift to be present for my children.  My stress level decreased.  My ability to review deeply increased.  I lost fear of “losing it all” and instead shifted to gratitude for all that we did have.  My fear of what people thought diminished because their opinion didn’t pay the bills, tend the children or in any way impact our life.

Most of all I was free of being stuck in false egoic beliefs as I began to understand there is choice!  

I can choose to think “why is this happening” or choose to think “all of this has opened my heart to joy and a life full of joy”.  All of this is “happening to me” or all of this is happening “for me” to be more empathetic, emotionally present, humble, thankful and once again return to the childlike state of living life on life’s terms!  Simply – to enjoy fully and breath in the moment like a child enjoying the beautiful of a sunflower for the first time!

My life is mostly blissful.  My heart is mostly filled with deep appreciation and love for others.  When old egoic beliefs “blip on the radar” I can laugh at them and simply think “thank you for sharing, I still have a pulse” and then refocus to choose the path of love.  Each day, and often many times throughout the day, as challenges arise, self is reminded of the Dalai Lama quote:

“Be kind whenever possible.  It is always possible.”


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