When we experience feelings of guilt, we anticipate punishment. ~Dr. Gerald Jampolsky

I am creating my life with my thoughts, words, and actions.

Namaste’ Fellow Traveler,

So far we have identified our passion, created an image of following it, identified changes that will move us toward it, and assessed our resources, both internal and external. Now we will address what is stopping us from following our passion. Typically those roadblocks are not obvious, and they have nothing to do with the current situation. Rather, they are deeply embedded in our earliest beliefs about what we deserve or do not deserve.

I was ten when my family collectively went to counseling to figure out why my brother was not doing well in first grade. The therapist asked what we thought was going on in the family, and I began seeing this format as a means of understanding why I was not happy. Had we not pursued this avenue for helping my brother, I may have never given myself permission to look beyond the childhood misunderstandings I formed about myself and others.  

At sixteen I took myself to individual counseling at the same university lab where my family had been counseled six years earlier. During college, I also took advantage of these services available to students. Looking back at the magnetic force that kept drawing me into therapy, I did not know what was propelling me. I simply felt the undeniable attraction and responded to it.  

At thirty I began work on a masters degree in family therapy. I had a three-year-old and became pregnant with my second child soon after I started the program, so it wasn’t like I didn’t have anything else to do. In fact, I was also teaching Lamaze classes and stained glass classes at night. Even with all of that going on, I had a burning desire to pursue what I felt I should have done when I entered college, become a therapist. I got halfway through, was starting my practicum (working with families in a clinical setting), and I hit a wall.

The first night of practicum, I sat in a room with a dozen other future counselors. As we went around the room sharing why we were pursuing this career, I realized I was the only married person in the group. Everyone else, including the teacher was divorced. With that recognition, I decided I had a choice. I would either finish my degree and sacrifice my marriage, or I could quit and keep my marriage intact. I quit.

What were the underlying issues? Fear. I believed I would ultimately end up alone, and I did not think I could raise two children by myself. Plus, I saw my desire to achieve this degree as part of the problem. In the retelling of my actions, I often said, “Had I continued, my family would need exactly what I was training to give others.”

After I retired from teaching reading at the college level, I decided to answer that deep longing to finally finish my family therapy degree, so I reapplied to the same program. I made it to the final stages before I was eliminated. Not being accepted when I reapplied was truly a gift, but it took me a while to unpackage it. Withdrawing from the Family Therapy program in my 30’s was a reflection of my own skewed beliefs and expectations. I now see how I got in my own way. I didn’t sign up in time to get a daytime practicum so I could get childcare. I didn’t talk with my husband and get his support. Underlying all of that, I was afraid of what kind of therapist I would be. I knew in my heart my family was my priority, so when I saw evidence I was going to end up like all the other divorced people in that room, I bolted and ran.  

Our beliefs and expectations create a form that the Universe fills in every area of our lives. We determine what we will allow the Universe to give us by our beliefs, which were usually formed in childhood before we knew we were creating them. They often center around feelings of not deserving and inadequacy, which block the flow of abundance the Universe has to send us. These ideas were created so early in our thinking they feel undeniable and unquestionable no matter how uncomfortable or painful they may be. On a deep level, we think they are true. It is like putting a stopper in the bottle that represents our greatest wish. We may say we are excited about pursuing our dreams and desires, but if we have an underlying belief we do not deserve them, we unconsciously sabotage ourselves.

Our beliefs and expectations can take the form of blaming others because we do not want to own the responsibility for allowing ourselves to pursue a dream. Our fear of failure can stop us from following a dream. Better to sit with what I know, than risk proving what I believed all along, ‘I am not worthy.’ Out of a sense of obligation or to prove we are not going to succeed, we may make an attempt and as soon as possible failure is on the horizon, we throw up our hands and say, “I knew I was never going to succeed at that.” With that attitude, we are doomed.

Journal Prompt: How have your beliefs and expectations supported or undermined following your passion? If a concept or idea is stopping you from living your passion, what new belief can you create that will allow you to accept full control and responsibility for following your passion?

Affirmation: Create a positive, personal, and powerful summary of your journaling.  Example:I believe in and expect to follow my passion wherever it takes me.

Letter from your soul: Review your journal entry and your affirmation then write a letter from your soul to you reflecting on both. Address the letter with a term of endearment because that is how your soul sees you. Then allow the love that your soul has for you to pour out onto the page.

Misunderstanding is the snake that crawls in your shoes at night. ~Vironika Tugaleva