(or: Step Out of Your Way and into Your Future)
Today I am planning to slay a giant and I invite you to join me. The more I work with coaching clients, the more I see a similar pattern; that people know where they want to go, they have got a clear image of their personal promised land of deep fulfilment (when they allow themselves to dream freely), but they frequently stand in their own way.
Certainly, we all have a whole range of excuses. Our parents didn’t hug us the right way, the economic winds are blowing in the wrong direction, our boat doesn’t have the right sort of sales, our clients just don’t understand us, our lover has left us brokenhearted, we are too old or young, other people are more talented…are you bored of these excuses yet? When are you going to be bored of your own excuses?
There is a deep pleasure when we get ‘in flow’, deep into our Genius Zone where we can play our highest game (yes, there are a lot of metaphors today, but just roll with it; this is play after all). Many entrepreneurs and spiritually-motivated business people find that they hit barriers which are often self-imposed, and at the root of it is fear. We hold ourselves back because we do not want to face that thing that we are most afraid of, except we also know that the fear is the gateway to our success.
So let’s start the killing. We’ll warm up to the giant. The first thing to kill is a big red cow. Back in Ancient Israel there was a cow called the Parah Adumah (literally ‘the earthen beast’ or ‘red cow’). Priests would slaughter the cow, burn it on the barbeque, and then mix its ashes with water. The Kabbalists explained that this represented the ebb and flow of life, the mystical ying and yang.
Burning up the sacrifice represented the energies of shuv – that is, flow, sending something out into the world. Mixing the ashes with water represented ratzon, the energy of flowing downwards, or receiving. Shuv and Ratzon were the dynamic interplay of giving and receiving, of pushing and pulling, of back-and-forth. We cannot always be in a state of giving or receiving, but need to frequently switch polarity if we are to be in ultimate harmony with the world.
We can, however, stop ourselves before we ever get into holistic harmony. This can show up in many different ways but it always has the same effect; shutdown and lack of success. I can be scared of making sales calls and get distracted so I don’t have to do them…but then I don’t make sales. I can be scared of publishing a book and put it off for years…and then my book doesn’t get published. I can be scared of producing a short film…and then I don’t produce it. I am bringing all of these examples because these are all things that I have avoided doing and sometimes put off for up to 10 years, and paid the price of deep frustration as a result.
So how do you kill the giant that is holding you back, and how do you slaughter your own Red Heifer? Stage One is to identify your deepest fear and the thing you are avoiding. Stage Two is to find your sword, sharpen it and get grounded. Stage Three is to publicly commit to the action you are avoiding and go for it. Whether that means making 10 sales calls today, telling everyone that you are publishing your novel, calling your lawyer and registering the patent for your new invention, launching that company you’ve been thinking about…do it.
Buckle up, unsheathe your sword, step out of your own way and step into your success. I’ll see you on the battlefield.
HOW TO APPLY THIS IN THE BOARDROOM: Re-read the essay. What are you avoiding in your career or business? What is the thing you are most scared of? Is it putting out a new offering that you think is brilliant but may lose you certain clients? If so, you must do it. Step into the area of maximum fear, let your brilliance shine, and be prepared to lose a few people along the way. Because when you step into your own dynamic truth, many many more people will become inspired and join you in your amazing journey.
HOW TO APPLY THIS ON THE YOGA MAT: During your asana practice be aware of any emotional points of fear that are lodged in your body. Which postures are you avoiding? What is that old injury that you are over-protecting? Be bold and be careful as you get ready to slay the old fears. Today, see what you are capable of and celebrate it.
HOW TO APPLY THIS ON THE MEDITATION CUSHION: Today’s enquiry meditation is to ask: “What am I avoiding? Which parts of myself am I rejecting? What is the thing that I am most afraid of?”
Based on Parshat Chukat and the teachings of the late Lubavitcher Rebbe (Gutnick Chumash).
Business Sutra: “take for you a perfectly red unblemished cow, upon which no yoke was laid.” (Numbers 19:2). Maybe we can interpret this even further in light of our essay above; the ‘yoke free’ Red Heifer could represent the free part of ourselves that is able to dream with total liberation and to fully engage with the world. It is that inner self which is willing to try new things, to reach out into new and exciting areas, and is not held back by the fears which we have learned growing up. Consider what it is like to ‘not have a yoke’ – who would you be if you had never been hurt or felt pain? What could you achieve?