Theresa (not her real name) sat across from me, her head tilted slightly at an angle and her forehead wrinkled in concern. She had just finished telling me how long she has wanted to create an experience of financial prosperity, yet still she is struggling. She leaned forward and asked out loud, more to herself than to me:
“What am I doing wrong? Do I not want it enough? Is my intention not strong enough?”
The kinds of questions we ask ourselves when things aren’t going the way we want them to go are very revealing. Theresa’s questions expose an underlying belief in what I call “not-enough-ness,” and the vibration of that belief prevents us from experiencing fulfillment because fulfillment arises from fullness, and that is the opposite of “not-enough-ness.”
It is often true that the more we want something, and the longer we have gone without it, the more we are generating vibrational “static” that prevents us from harmonizing with what we want. The static arises from continuing to focus on our current circumstances, which reflect back to us our false beliefs in not-enough-ness of some kind – either that we are somehow not worthy of having what we want, or we’re not talented enough or smart enough or focused enough, or it won’t generate enough income, or it isn’t really possible, or it isn’t practical, or any number of “not enough” scenarios our minds conjure up when they are conditioned to focus on lack.
It isn’t that our desires and intentions aren’t strong – in their pure, non-contradicted state, they are innately powerful – it’s just that we usually contradict them with beliefs that don’t support them.
What makes this challenging is that we’re often not fully aware we have those beliefs. We think we’re focusing on what we want, yet beneath the surface of our conscious awareness are conclusions we’ve drawn about “the way I am and the way life is. “ We’ve accepted them as our reality and don’t consider them to be beliefs that could be changed. We rarely even think about them at all. Yet they are a vibrating current of energy that isn’t in harmony with the energy of what we want.
Back in the day, many of us became almost obsessively focused on identifying and eliminating any and every limiting belief that prevented us from having what we wanted. That kind of exploration can be extremely enlightening and effective, yet sometimes the effort of doing it arises from an underlying belief that “there must be something wrong with me” – in this case, that I’m harboring negative beliefs – and “I need to fix it.”
Believing there is something wrong with us is a close cousin to believing in our not-enough-ness, and both are in direct opposition to creating fulfilled and fulfilling lives.
And to make matters worse, our focus on negative beliefs can actually increase their power. As we examine and analyze them, we can easily convince ourselves that they really are true. We build up a case for them rather than learning how to shift our focus and create a case for our happiness.
There is tremendous liberation in recognizing the patterns of thought and belief that have been limiting us, and consciously letting them go while cultivating new patterns of thought. In fact, that is an essential aspect of the manifestation process.
But there is a huge difference between willing to recognize and release limiting beliefs and going on a search and destroy mission to eradicate them. One arises from expanding self-awareness and a commitment to loving ourselves forward. The other arises from self-judgment and a false, damaging belief that we need to be fixed before we can be happy.
One is focused on freedom. The other is focused on punishment.
At the other end of the focusing spectrum lies an approach that can also be self-affirming and immensely effective but sometimes isn’t, which is the commitment to intensify our focus on what we want. This is a sane and loving approach when we realize that what we focus on is what expands in our lives.
Yet this approach often creates mixed or even unwanted results because, in our overly strenuous focus on what we want, we can end up with what I call the pasteover: we literally paste over our fears and negative beliefs with positivity, not understanding that the contradictory vibrations are still fully active, inviting the opposite of what we want into our experience. They are like the elephant in the room we’re trying hard to ignore.
The real art of manifesting our desires – the ones that feel most important to us and that have eluded us the longest – arises in the rhythm of focusing lovingly and persistently on what we want, becoming aware as we move forward of the beliefs and thoughts we’re harboring that contradict what we want, pausing to acknowledge and release them and then refocusing on what we want.
Focus, notice, release, refocus…over and over again.
It’s a dance and it’s a practice. And the more readily we can accept that the surfacing and dissolving of old limiting beliefs is actually part of the dance, the more willing we become to keep practicing it. With practice comes ease, and with ease comes trust.
And with trust comes Grace.
But we don’t have to wait until we’ve mastered all the steps before beginning to enjoy the dance. We can invite Grace at any time. The heart of this ease-filled dance is our union with the Divine…with Source…with the Universe…with God…with whatever you call the infinitely wise and loving intelligence that created this universe and everything in it. The more connected we are with that unlimited creative Presence within us, the more readily we learn the dance.
That is why I encouraged Theresa to deepen her meditation practice, to set aside time to reflect on spiritual principles of abundance, and to create affirmative prayers or mantras that support her in connecting with the unfailing support of an infinitely abundant Universe. It is in moments of stillness and deep inner connection that we experience a felt sense of the Divine Presence within and all around us.
And once we have felt that Presence, we can recall the feeling. We can remind ourselves that we are part of a much greater Whole and that endless possibilities exist within it. We can choose to trust that we are meant to be supported in bringing forth our gifts and talents and passion in service to the world.
In any moment we choose to trust, we open to Grace. We open to miracles. We open to a shift in perspective that shifts our vibration and begins drawing to us more of what we want. And so we relax more, we open more, we allow more in.
And we begin to understand that the appearance of limited beliefs in our experience and in our awareness is evidence of our movement, not of our stuckness, as long as we don’t tango with them for too long. We learn to twirl them one last time around the dance floor and then release them into a spiral of dissolution.
And we keep dancing.