I was talking with a client about her dream to create a dog sanctuary. She envisions a many acred facility that rescues dogs, finds them homes and, for those unadoptable ones, provides great care and companionship.
She clearly sees a loving staff working with her, organizing successful fund raising events, and the joy that this work brings her.
I invited her to make a list of the steps she can take now to keep this vision alive. While she came up with a wonderful list of self-care actions, I was surprised that there was nothing on her list that had to do with dogs.
When I asked her about it, she said, “When I think about volunteering at a local rescue place, I know I would just want to take all of the dogs home with me. And I can’t do that. So I can’t volunteer.”
She had created a black and white, all or nothing situation in her mind and it was keeping her from doing the work she loves.
I asked my client if she could imagine herself being with the dogs at a local shelter, giving them love and attention. I asked her if she could imagine being a part of an organization where she was learning how such an organization worked. I asked her if this would outweigh the fact that she couldn’t take them home.
She tilted her head to the side and laughed. “I suppose I could do that.” And then she laughed again, this time at herself, for letting that all or nothing thinking stop her from doing what she loves.
Often, when we have a resistance to something, we hear our reactive thoughts and stop. But what if we approached the resistance with curiosity, with a question, why is this holding me back?
We can also explore this with a visualization.
Imagine you are walking on a path and, in the distance you see a fence. From far away the fence seems to be blocking your way.
What is the fence made of?
How tall is it?
What it on the other side?
As you get closer to the fence you see that it isn’t impassable. Maybe you see that it is flimsy, or fallen down in places. Maybe there is an opening in the fence that you can easily climb through.
We don’t have to tear a fence down to get past it. And we don’t have to let it stop us, either. What if, instead, we explored it, looking for a way around it. What if we could find a hole in the fence to go through?
My friend didn’t suddenly stop wanting to rescue every dog, but she no longer let this stop her from helping a hundred more.
So when you think about your dream life, where is your biggest resistance?
What is the fence that is holding you back?
What is on the other side?
What does the fence look like?
Are you willing to explore it, have a dialog with it?
Can you find a hole in the fence?
Please share your story with me and my readers by clicking on the comments below.