“If we win the lottery, I’m outta here?” I said to Cathy recently.  She asked me what I would do, and my reply was that I would spend a few years on the beach.  Being insightful, understanding and an astute observer, Cathy replied that I would be bored in a week.  Of course, she’s right.

I’ve had that escapist thought before and every time I’ve sat down to list what I would really do if I had a huge influx of “I’m outta here” money, it always turns out to look a lot like what I do every day now – just with more money, more time and a newer, faster car.  (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

Over the years we’ve had many people attend our retreats with the desire to change their life, their work, or their marriage.  Typical comments include: I’m bored; My work no longer has relevance or interest for me; I just have this feeling that there is something else I’m supposed to be doing; My relationship no longer enlivens me; I want to sell my business and do something else.

Our friend, Frank, is an example. For years, he has felt an underlying sense of dissatisfaction that he was not pursuing the work he really wanted to do.  Frank is a very successful professional, and he is also a seeker of spiritual truth and adventure.  He’s always had the sense that he could make a huge difference in the world as a writer, speaker and spiritual guide.  However, he’s felt that his professional practice and family needs prevented him from pursuing his big dream.  He believed his work was an anchor preventing him from following his big dream

Certainly some of the people who want to change careers or relationships do discover that they are more energized and enlivened by making the big changes in their life. By paying attention to what lights them up and taking action in that direction, they redesign every aspect of their life to create what they want, leaving the old life, the old profession, the energy draining relationships behind.

On the other hand, many times big life changes can happen merely by changing the way you look at your current life.  When Frank began to look at all aspects of his
personal and professional life by consciously paying attention to what energized and drained him, he recognized that he loved many things about his current work.  He also recognized those activities that drained his energy on a daily basis and he began to either quit doing them or delegating them to other people. This gave him time and energy to focus on his writing and spiritual work.  This led to an epiphany – “My practice is actually the foundation I can build from not the anchor that holds me back.”

If you are feeling a sense of dissatisfaction with your life and all of your thoughts are focused on what’s wrong here, that’s all you will see.  This negative thinking feeds on itself, and it prevents you from seeing joy in anything you do.  This negative focus stops any ability to design your ideal life.  Your life and your work are not the anchor, it’s your thinking and negative focus that’s keeping you stuck.

If you consciously take a lights-on inventory of your daily life, and focus your energy and thoughts on the pieces that enliven you, it opens the door to possibilities and more creative strategies to develop your ideal life. Then you can make a valid choice about whether your current situation is an anchor stopping you or a foundation to build upon.

I’m now going to buy a lottery ticket to discover whether Cathy’s right or whether the beach is in my future.  I will let you know.

Live Every Day Lights-On!