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Are you living in alignment? Your shadow knows!

Are you making a change in your life, but just can't seem to get it off the ground?


When making change, even the best plans sometimes get stuck. When this happens, instead of knocking your head against a wall, or simply giving up, I invite you to get curious.


They say "curiosity killed the cat."


What if curiosity is what gave the cat 9 lives?

Who are "they" and why do we care what they said anyway?


I digress ...


Back to you, and your upcoming change. Maybe you know you want a change in your life but you don't know which direction you want to take, and your trouble is deciding what to do. Or maybe you know exactly what you want to do; you've even taken a course or two, or gotten a certification, and taken some steps to move in that direction, but there is some barrier that keeps you from moving forward. Either way, aligning with your personal values will help you get on track.


Do you find yourself saying things like:


I don't know what to do next.

I need to find better clients to get my business off the ground

I'm not good at marketing my ____________(service, art, product, idea, self...)

I can't make a living doing what I really want to do.

No one will hire me to do that.

I don't have enough time to work my current job, and ____________ (take this class, explore this option, build my business, etc.) (This one is my personal favorite.)


Or maybe your roadblocks sound more like "if only."


If only my spouse were more supportive.

If only I had more time / resources to devote to this.

If only I didn't have to do _________.

If only I had another degree.


And now you just feel ... stuck.


I talk a lot to my clients about the importance of living in alignment with your values. All this really means is finding the things that you think are important and deliberately investing your time in those things.


Easy, right?


Yet many of us (most of us?) spend most of our time on the thing that is in front of us (or distracting us) rather than the thing that means the most to us.


(Did you catch that?

I said "investing" time on important things,

and "spending" time on whatever is in front of us.)


Some of us have never even pondered, "What exactly are the most important things to me?" much less live our lives in alignment with those things.


I get it; we grow up, we try a few things, narrow down what we seem to be good at, (for some of us that means the least worst alternative) we get jobs, have a few hobbies, perhaps we get married and have some kids.


Over time we get really busy and we do all the little things we have to do.


And maybe we are so busy doing that we don't even think about what is most important to us.


That is living out of alignment.

Living life out of alignment with your values will impact your relationships.

Think about it.


We connect with people who have shared interests and experiences. The people we spend time with outside of family are the people we work with and the people who share our hobbies and interests. Those are the people we come into contact with.


If you don't like your job, there is little chance that you will connect with the other people who work there.


If you don't devote some time to your favorite hobbies and interests, then you won't meet the people who share these interests.


And then you wonder why friendships seem so hard to cultivate.


You've probably heard the story about the college professor demonstrating life priorities and time management by putting rocks pebbles and sand into a jar. (There are several YouTube videos on the rock, pebble, sand topic.).


In the demonstration the jar represents your life. The rocks represent what is most important in your life (everyone's rocks are different but it could be something like: health, relationships, meaningful work, etc.) The pebbles represent things that are fairly important (again, your pebbles won't be the same as my pebbles, but this could represent things like: house, job, hobbies, etc.) The sand is the extra stuff that fills your time (perhaps something like doom scrolling on social media.) The lesson of the story is that if you start filling your jar (your life) with the sand (doom scrolling), then you won't have room for the rocks and the pebbles. And when the things that are most important to you don't get any of your attention then your life feels empty and can start to get messy. Marriages fail. Kids rebel. Friends fade away. You have health issues. And you feel like you're busy all the time but get nothing accomplished. And life seems hollow.


But if you start with the rocks,

then move on to the pebbles,

and save the sand for last

everything flourishes.


This is why it is so important to get really clear on what you value. Determine what you deem to be the most important things.


Then, fill your life with those things.


What are your rocks?



And how much time do you spend on them?




You might be thinking, "Hey Roz, values and alignment, I get it. But what does that have to do with me not being able to make the change I KNOW I want to make in my life? I AM in alignment, I just can't move forward."


Good question.

If you have a roadblock preventing you from making change it likely means that some part of this change is out of alignment for some part of you.


Back to the cat: I encourage you to step back and get really curious.


Be sure to check you inner critic and your self judgement at the door and most of all


Be kind to yourself.

  1. Define your roadblock. (Indecision, resources, time, etc.) Write it down (pen and paper. Your journal is a great place to do this exercise.)

  2. Review your values. (If you're not sure what your values are, start here with my totally free "Find Your Values" workbook.). Write them down along with your roadblock.

  3. Ask yourself: "Is this change in alignment with my values?" Write down your thoughts on this question. Again, pen (or pencil) and paper. You can even give a rating of how well the change aligns with each value.

    1. If your change is in alignment with your values, great! Move on to the next step.

    2. If it is not, it could be time to re-think the change. (Maybe journal a bit more on that topic.)

  4. Now, go back to your roadblock: the thing you defined as what is holding you back. Use this question to help redefine your roadblock:

"What part of me does not want this change?"


You say that you want this, but some part of you is resisting, avoiding, or afraid. This is your shadow. Some more questions to ponder ...

"What is the source of my inner conflict?"


"Why am I resisting, what am I avoiding, what does my fear need?"


"What message does my shadow self have for me? How can I meet its needs?"



Rather than ignore your shadow, acknowledge it, embrace it, integrate it, and give it what it needs. It is a part of you, and its purpose is to keep you safe in some way.


Like all of us, your shadow wants to be seen, heard, acknowledged and valued. Your shadow has legitimate needs, and concerns. Integrate your shadow by taking care of these needs and concerns. Then your shadow can actually help you get on with your transformation.


 

Need to get some clarity on your values? Download your totally free "Find Your Values" workbook here.


 

Want to talk about what's holding you back or need some help getting to the root of your shadow? Contact me at Roz@flyingchangescoach.com





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This reminds me of an exercise I did whilst working on my spiritual director certification. It was based on Benedict’s Rule of Life, but it’s not really a religious thing. I ended up creating a piece of art with items that had personal significance and symbolized values that were most important to me. I have it hanging on the wall and when I’m feeling confused or I feel like I’ve become stuck in a liminal space, I revisit the picture and remind myself of the things I value most. I highly recommend what Roz is suggesting! It may take some soul-searching to figure out what’s most important, but once you do, you’ll find it easier to navigate the twists and…

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