There’s a feeling out there in the atmosphere. An urge. I bet you can feel it. It says: If you want to be successful in anything, you must work hard, push yourself beyond your limits and force yourself to get things done. It says that the path to achieving what you want in life is through pressure, overwhelm and struggle. But, the problem is, success with this stress is bondage.
When the success we’ve created comes as a result of pushing and applying pressure to ourselves, we will need to continue to apply this pressure in order to continue our success. And if we want to grow this success, we will need to apply more pressure. It is a chain, a weight, a drag. And it’s not sustainable.
I’m not saying that success doesn’t at times require work and dedication. It does. But we can create our successes from a joyful space, a space of lightness and ease, instead of demands and obligation. When we do this, we make our successes into a process of freedom and flow. Like a wave.
How do we do that?
I’m so glad you asked! This article is part one of a three part series which will explain just that. The short version is this:
Actively stay in balance
Build the experience you want to have
Choose to have faith
This article will address the first of those three.
Actively staying in Balance
When we push ourselves, pressure ourselves or force ourselves to do something, we go off balance. We take ourselves out of our joyful state. Often, we take ourselves out of our joyful state in order to do something that we think will ultimately bring us back into a joyful state. In other words, we leave what we want — beauty, balance and order — to try to get ourselves outer circumstances that we think will bring us more beauty, balance and order. So, yes. We’re a little insane here. But, nothing that we can’t fix.
The first step in coming back to balance is in noticing your feelings. The second step is honoring what you’re feelings are telling you. That might sound easy, but how many times have we all ignored our feelings, our intuition, our inner voice and just gone forward with something that didn’t feel right? If you have never done that, you should be writing this column.
When you make balance your first priority, you end up living your life in what one of my spiritual teachers calls Rhythmic Alternation.
Rhythmic Alternation is choosing to follow the natural cycles of energy that you feel. Work when it’s time to work. Rest when it’s time to rest. In a cycle. It’s not making a decision to get something done and then working eighteen hours straight until it’s done. Instead, it’s working until you get the signal that it’s time for something else. Then cycle through and back to your task when the energy is lifted and joyful.
When you make Rhythmic Alternation (balance) your first priority, you align yourself with the cycles of the universe. Like the change of seasons. And the growth of plants. And the waves of the ocean. They continually cycle through.
Let’s take an example: When you’re working at your computer, at a certain point you get the message from your body that it needs a break. If you continue to work through that time and don’t take a break, you're lowering your vibration. You’re depleting yourself and creating distance between you and your inspiration.
Inspiration is a high level energy. It takes a lot of energy to be in an inspired state. If you try to force yourself to do something that inspires you (i.e., it’s a source of inspiration, but you are so tired you can’t connect to that feeling of inspiration at the moment), you will be trying to reach a high energy from a low energy state. And that jump is impossible. You just can’t get to the high vibration of inspiration from the low energy state of tiredness, pressure and forcing.
So rest when you need to. Eat when you need to. Don’t take on too many projects. (My particular weakness.) Keep rebalancing yourself and your commitments. Catch the specific wave of energy that moves you in the moment and be patient as you allow it to bring you back out to your larger, deeper inspiration. You will get back to it. It will inspire you again. When you have renewed your energy.
Actively living and working in this alternating rhythm will help you maintain a calm and balanced state, which will keep you in the perfect condition to handle all of the chaos and challenges that may come when you’re trying to succeed in any area.
And it will release you from the need to use pressure, overwhelm or force to try to get where you want to go.
*A version of this article was published in The Redding Sentinel, in Redding, CT in July, 2023.