For most of the class, I'd been listening to complacency, that muzzy-mouthed companion, and cozying up to being less than I could be. I'd been making easy choices that did not give me ease. But now, holy Shiva, I was in. I wanted to show up, take the uncomfortable high road for just a few more breaths, and have a new experience, some forward movement in my life, a new result I would have for the rest of this lifetime. Who could resist an offer like that? Then I realized, I always have that offer on the table. I can always reach for greatness instead of familiarity. I can always choose comfort in this lifetime--over comfort in this moment.
People ask me how I wrote my book This Time I Dance! Creating the Work You Love (Tarcher/Penguin) for 12 years, how I stayed dedicated for that long. I tell them, good things happen in just a moment. It's the tiny choices that determine your life. Moments add up into months and years. When I was writing, I wasn't thinking of years. I was just doing the right thing in the moment. I kept asking myself, "What do I really want?" or "What would my True Self ask me to believe or do?" I don't think I could have made a commitment to years of my life. Yet I could commit in each moment. I just had to listen. There was already a desire there, an instinct to reach for my highest good, as there is in all of us. Those moments became a direction. That direction became a destiny. That destiny has become a growing national organization, a bit of a worldwide community, a thousand bubbles that landed on the head of a silver pin, and a heart blown wide-open by the biggest love I never even imagined. Those small, conscious choices led to incomprehensible joy and abundance. They still do.
I have often shared in writing workshops, that even if This Time I Dance! had never been picked up by a major New York house--I still would have enjoyed the result of my choice for the rest of my life. I had given myself a chance. I had acted with self-love and respect. I had followed the golden butterfly and would never wonder what might have been. I had trusted my own inner guidance more than the storm warnings of fearful people who battened down their lives and still lived in fear. I had gone beyond my own narrow "practical" ideas of what I could be or have in this lifetime. I put a toe in and it gave me the ultimate leg up on life. It changed the way I slept at night. It took away my fear of death, and my fear of life. It changed the way I stood in a room of people and it changed the way I sat with myself. It changed the way I say my name, and what I teach the children just by my existence. It has changed every other choice I will make in this lifetime. I know that consequence will last all of my lifetimes.
And if I had not taken the chance and written my book, that would have changed my identity as well. That act of self-denial would have been my ground of being. The truest part of me would have died. Though I may have dressed every day and brushed my teeth at night, I would have wandered the internal gray halls of pointlessness. I would have looked in other windows for joy, with eyes that had already been sealed. I don't want to know what that self-betrayal would have cost me. I don't want you to know it either. You can always choose again. You can choose right now to make a choice that will honor your magnificence. Once you make the choices that honor you, you call upon the higher powers within you. You activate invincible strength, love, and wild magic. If you knew the significance of this choice, really there would be no choice.
Believe me, you want to know the experience of being alive in your soul. It doesn't come from doing what you've always done. It doesn't come from ignoring your potential or true desires. It doesn't come from going along with mass consciousness when you have maverick instruction within you—which you do. It doesn't come from choosing comfort in the moment-- over comfort in your lifetime. In A Course in Miracles, it describes a spiritual life walk in which we choose between littleness and magnitude.
It says, "Littleness and glory are the choices open to your striving and your vigilance. You will always choose one at the expense of the other." It continues, "There is a deep responsibility you owe yourself, and one you must learn to remember all the time. The lesson may seem hard at first, but you will learn to love it when you realize that it is true and is but a tribute to your power… Every decision you make stems from what you think you are, and represents the value that you put upon yourself."
Sometimes it doesn't feel glorious to let go of our littleness.
It may require that we make a painful choice now—which pries us out of the habit of choosing less for ourselves. For me, the honorable choice is always the one which increases the love I have for myself. I'll dredge up this example from my past. In my twenties, I was briefly crazy about a man named Scott. I was a young lawyer and he was too. Scott had faraway eyes, that hinted of secret sadness, and spacious landscapes of emotions. Oh, but let's get real. He was intermittently unavailable, that holy grail, the king caviar of aphrodisiacs. This blue-eyed sorcerer was intensely present and loving in a moment, then gone in every way. I was in his tractor beam, miserable, and signing up for every minute of it.
One night he invited me to a party and I leapt at the chance. I hung around him, or in his orbit, for most of the evening while he socialized with every single other person in the room. I waited knowing that when the crowd finally cleared, I could share the night with him. I had actually thought this was masterful--instead of sad. Then I noticed there was another woman lingering in the shadows, orbiting Scott too, the same plans smoking in her hooded eyes. I determined to wait it out. So did she. The party thinned, as the night turned into morning, but stragglers remained, and so did we.
Finally, I made a choice I am forever proud of and will carry into all of my lifetimes. I walked out the door. I made one fragile heart-wrenching gesture of self-respect. I sobbed the entire way home. I have so much gratitude for the bravery of my young self in that moment. Her painful choice led to easier and more loving relationships in the future. The familiar and "easier choice" would have led to yet more nights of craving joy instead of moving towards it. I've often thought of that other desperate woman. She won the "prize" that night. The result of that choice extended past that evening, maybe into future neglect, future therapy sessions, and even future lifetimes.
There is a Tibetan proverb that says, "If you want to know your future, look at what you're doing in this moment." I don't know about you, but when I read that, I felt like somebody had thrown a glass of ice water in my face. It's so easy to get caught up in the momentum—of not moving towards our dearest dreams or choosing our highest bounty in each moment. Do you find yourself going through the motions? I invite you to experience the golden blood of devotion moving through you instead. Choose your glory. Don't listen to the voice of weakness tell you what's possible. You are more than you imagine. You are not as tired as you think. Dignity will fuel you. Accomplishment will excite you. Go past resistance. Go through walls. Give your highest potential the highest potential of success. Always be gentle with yourself--and be fierce.
Glorious choices come from conscious choices. Remember, that "autopilot" is a kamikaze pilot. When it sees the possibility of largeness, growth, or new territory, it dive bombs into the familiar. It protects the status quo. It is the guardian of habit. Autopilot will never take you places. Autopilot will never change the scenery. Autopilot will never fly you home.
I want you to have every good thing in this lifetime. Don't be less than you can be. Give your everything to your everything. I'm not talking about perfectionism. That comes from insecurity and never feeling good enough. Excellence comes from your divinity, from turning to infinite resources within you. You have a mountain lion within you that can rip through every limitation--and change the way you walk in the world and the world you walk in. You always have another chance to devote yourself to your magnitude. You always have another chance to dare again, reach higher, go further, and express more of your eternal True Self. Respect all the moments of your precious time here. Don't play small with yourself or your life.
And if you forget, I'm happy to throw a diamond at your head.
(Join Me for Unleashing Your Calling: Create the Work and Life You Love! at theKripalu Center for Yoga and Health in the Berkshire Mountains during leaf changing season, October 11-15. This is the only intensive I offer in the U.S. all year—and it's amazing!)
Love and blessings,
©Copyright 2010 Tama J. Kieves. All rights reserved.
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