Thank you for reading my articles here. If any piece resonates with you, I encourage you to share your reactions, as they will likely resonate with other readers, too. I also invite you to visit my website to learn more about REACH Your Dreams: Five Steps to be a Conscious Creator in Your Life. Much Love and Many Blessings, Alice

Friday, June 17, 2011

Stretching vs. Dishonoring Ourselves

I spent the first three days of this week in Philadelphia attending a publicity and marketing training program. It was intense to say the least – 8:30am to 9pm every day. On Monday, I was really hurting, as I flew in on a red-eye flight that morning just in time for the program to start, and had only about an hour of sleep on the plane. I’m still decompressing from the intensity of this week but very grateful to have participated in the event. It was highly educational, and I came away buzzing with excitement about how to fulfill my mission of getting the message of REACH out.

While watching different speakers present their expert advice, I found the inner observer in me taking note of how I was feeling about the different strategies and tactics recommended. I especially paid attention to those moments when I felt my stomach tightening. As I wrote in my book, our body holds a tremendous amount of intuitive intelligence. When we feel physical sensations, they are messages to us about something we’re facing in our lives, including warnings and encouragements. 

When my stomach—or some other body part—tightened, I knew that what I was seeing and hearing was causing me discomfort. The bigger question was why I was feeling uncomfortable. Was it because following the advice would stretch me out of my comfort? Or was the strategy proffered not right for me, my goals and/or my style of being? 

That’s a critical distinction to draw. After all, growth and expansion do require stretching, which isn’t comfortable. It was a long time ago, but I remember adolescence and how my muscles, bones and joints ached when I grew three inches in one summer. The discomfort, soreness and pain were, unfortunately, a necessary part of my physical growth. The good news was that, when the growth spurt was completed, I stood taller. (Side note: I thought I’d be tall, but it was only one isolated growth spurt. Too bad!) So, I understand and embrace the wisdom and value of weathering through the discomfort of being stretched to new heights.

However, feeling tightness in my body because something didn’t instinctively resonate with my nature is an entirely different story. I firmly believe that we’re all born to walk unique paths using our distinctive complement of gifts to create in this life. Just because someone has created success using their chosen mix of strategies and tactics doesn’t mean it becomes the perfect prescription for me to follow. I still want to honor who I am and how I do things to fulfill what I’m in this life to do. It’s my choice to pick and choose how to get things done that may stretch me beyond my comfort but doesn’t require me to dishonor myself or try to be somebody I’m not—and will never be, thank you very much!

It’s important to pay attention to what our bodies try to tell us when we find ourselves in unfamiliar territory. It’s very tempting to want to emulate everything that those before us have done to achieve great success. However, we’d do ourselves a major disservice if we don’t listen to our own inner compass to decipher what is right for us and what truly honors our nature. Yes, let’s all welcome being stretched to grow in order to expand the impact of our endeavors. However, we don’t need to be someone we aren’t in order to be successful, to achieve our goals and reach our dreams.

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