What Lessons are You Denying?

I’ve found a really great e-course online called Overcoming Self-Sabotage, with Debbie Ford. The e-course is comprised of 14 lessons and each lesson is completed within 4 days, although you can move through the lessons as slowly or as quickly as you wish. Today I started Lesson Two: Taking Inventory of Your Biggest Life Lessons. I sat down this morning after doing a great hip opening yoga class with Jason Crandell, feeling spacious and inspired to do some work, and the moment I read the title a voice from inside of me groaned, “Oh, shit”.

It’s funny how when we burn our hand on the stove we quickly remember not to put our hand on the hot element again, and yet when it comes to matters of the heart or our emotional self, sometimes it can take up to 2, 3, or 10 goes at the hot element before we remember, “Oh yeah, that doesn’t feel good”. But, circles are just circles and you can feel comforted in knowing that if you just keep on going eventually you’ll come back to yourself. Sometimes you have to walk the same path a hundred times in order to take in all the scenery, to soak up all those easy-to-miss details, that eventually bring your attention to a not so hidden parting in the bushes [you walked by 99 times] revealing a whole other path to explore.

Dare I ask: how many times have you walked around this path you are on? Do you even remember? What are the intimate details of your path? Where are the tripping roots and muddy waters? Where do you get to smell the flowers and feel the sunshine on your skin? Have you been dragging yourself along the rockier parts, loathing and avoiding the challenge, or have you created a detour through the forest finding your way back to the path on the other side? Debbie Ford asks her students to journal about every life lesson they have learned so far in their experience. And in this process, she asks two powerful questions, “What are the lessons you’ve been denying, resisting or hiding from? And what possibilities could arise if you were finally willing to step out of denial and tell the raw truth?”

Boom! Some major clearing happened at my living room table this morning-what possibilities could arise if I was finally willing to step out of denial and tell my raw truth? How can I live my Yoga-Satya? Sigh. Every damn day we are evolving; every day we have the opportunity to grow into a truer, more present and harmonious version of our self. I invite you to take 20 minutes to yourself today, grab a warm cup of something and wrap yourself up in a cozy blanket and make your own list. You can doodle around it and colour it in, or write your lessons down and post them by your desk or hang them by your sock drawer as a reminder. Make it your own, express yourself, and allow your raw truth to surface without shaming yourself for denying or forgetting, or beating yourself up for not seeing that one lesson time after time. It’s all going according to plan. Just think, what possibilities could arise if you were finally willing…

Here are Debbie Ford’s 8 “Tough Love Lessons” packed full of wisdom and light:

Protect yourself. Just because you want the best for others doesn’t mean they want the best for you. To be responsible and deeply caring of yourself, ask yourself, “What would I need to put in place to be protected [in this job, relationship, contract agreement, situation, etc.]?” What healthy, new boundary could you establish for yourself this week that would be more like a lovely trellis with flowers than an impenetrable brick wall?

No one is coming to save you. Too often we look outside ourselves for others to take care of the things that we don’t want to – like manage our money, eliminate our pain or take away our loneliness – and then suffer the consequences of denying our greater capacities. If you think someone is coming to save you, you’re bound for disappointment. Save yourself.

When they tell you who they are, listen. Are you in denial about someone in your life and waiting for them to be different than they are? We’re informed about who people really are in so many ways – especially through their actions. So tune in, trust your instincts and refuse to minimize your intuitive feelings.

Take back your light. Know that when you’re in awe of someone else’s greatness, you’re really seeing yourself. Identify what you most admire or love about others and see how you can nourish those qualities and bring them out in yourself. Instead of fixating on someone else’s brilliance, find ways to develop and demonstrate your own.

Handle your “due diligence”. You’ve surely noticed that there are people who lie, cheat, steal, con and manipulate. Take radical responsibility for who you get into business with or who you give your heart to. Do the research, ask the questions and get the information you need to make life-enhancing choices.

Say no when you want to say no. Remember that you’re not doing anybody any favors when you say yes and are then riddled with resentment. Use your authentic voice and heal yourself from the disease to please.

Identify your real friends and keep them close. Often, people expend a lot of time and energy trying to make a friendship work when it’s actually not a great relationship. Consciously distinguish the “good time friends” and put your attention on the “lifers” – the ones who will be with you through thick and thin. And if you’re questioning where someone stands, simply ask them.

Clean up your past. Our outer world is reflective of our inner world. If your inner world is packed tight with old grudges and resentments, old integrity issues and unfinished business, limiting beliefs, worn-out fantasies and outdated dreams, it’s virtually impossible for the universe to give you the abundance that is waiting for you.

Happy path-finding, friends!