3. Discovering Upper Limits
Updated: Oct 24, 2019
Yesterday I discovered that I have unconsciously embedded upper limits on the amount of wealth that I can tolerate.
The consciousness descended on me as I drove, like a confusing mist punctuated with brilliant momentary rays of sunshine clarity that vanished nearly as immediately as they appeared.
The mist settled inside me, initially with an uneasiness coupled with rising emotion and as the words rolled through the car speakers I found myself wanting to cry for a reason I could not quite grasp.
As the audio continued my brain began to engage creatively with understanding the concept that was being painted and how it related to my existence. Human existence. My brain is happy when it is engaged in contemplating existential questions. I feel challenged, and I feel alive.
The audio flooding the car asked me a series of questions.
Am I willing to increase the amount of time I feel good inside?
The answer was a resounding and perhaps obvious YES.
Am I willing to increase the amount of time my whole life is going well?
Again, I answered YES! I can extend the periods of ‘good fortune’, happiness and peace that settle inside me from time to time. YES I was willing to be happier more often!
Am I willing to feel good and have my life go well ALL the time?
I tried to answer this question with the enthusiasm of the previous two, but the ‘yes’ got stuck in my throat. I persevered and it slid out of my mouth, small and insignificant, without presence and without taking up any space in the car. I didn’t even believe myself.
Why could I not declare that I was willing to feel good and be happy all the time? My brain sent searchlights thorough my soul but all they returned was the certainty that I could not truthfully answer ‘yes’ to this question. It stands to reason that, for whatever reason, I was not willing to feel good and have my life go right all the time. Why not?
I am both intrigued by this discovery and deeply alarmed to discover this limitation I have applied to myself and how I could allow my life to unfold. I began to see the pattern everywhere. In my career there was always a balancing factor to my success. When I was excelling in my craft of operating aeroplanes I was mercilessly bullied and isolated in the crew room at the squadron. When I was in harmony with my peers and held in high esteem I would fail a sortie and hold up my career progression for a while. When both my social life and flying was going well my romantic relationship was failing due to missions away and the dual tyrannies of busyness and distance. When I was sailing around the world with the love of my life, recently married, living our dream of adventures on the high seas I was worried that something terrible would happen to my family and I wouldn’t find out until weeks later when I hit land. As my personal happiness increased I realised that I had always increasing feared something happening to those I love to bring me back to a level I unconsciously believed must be my happiness quotient.
I believed that I only deserved a certain amount of happiness.
Me. I was doing that.
Is it a universal law? Does “God” in whatever form you believe in spiritual energy, go around doling out a certain amount of happiness to each human and then smote them with a tragedy as they reach their limit ?
Intellectually I doubt it. Emotionally, I am not sure what I believe.
So where and how did I create this belief that there was a limit to how happy I could be?
What other ‘upper limits’ was my subconscious operating under?
Wealth flashed into the forefront of my brain. Stephen and I have had a remarkable amount of success in a short period of time generating positive cash flow and equity from our investments. The last deal had been hard for me to reach out and take for my own. It was an auction and I told myself I was going ‘just to learn the process’. I didn’t want to bid and had several arguments with Stephen the night before about the merits of this property as our next project. The house was ugly and has a large renovation required. However, the numbers our spreadsheets projected were excellent. I reluctantly agreed to a maximum amount that I would offer up to if the opportunity presented. I told myself that the many other bidders would present much higher offers so I was unlikely to have to be involved.
As the auctioneer began and I felt uncharacteristically nervous. In hindsight I realise this was a signal that I could have tuned into. A signal of opportunity. No one else bid. I stared around the room in disbelief. It was just the auctioneer, going once, twice with no bids on the table. I shot up my hand.
I bought the property.
Why was I so reluctant? I have studied the same numbers again and again on that spreadsheet since we bought that property. They are the same numbers that were there, the same profit projection and cash flow as before I attended the auction when I didn’t want to do this project. Now I can see that the numbers are brilliant. Possibly better than any of our deals yet.
I had an aversion to creating more wealth than I already had. I had mentally tapped out at 100 000/yr passive cash flow. See…that word “already” gives away the set of my mind. My choice of words indicate a subconscious that has decided I already have enough. It is like I believe that having more is rude, offensive somehow to my upbringing. What right have I to be rolling in money when my family is hard working and middle class. What right to I have to shed those shackles and soar to never before imagined heights.
"Oh I have slipped the surly bonds of earth and danced the skies on laughter silvered wings,
sunwards I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds
and done a hundred things you have not dreamed of…."
I have always been engaged in this tussle between grounding and roots and soaring the limitless skies. Whenever I have soared I have found a way to bring myself back down to the cold hard realities of life. Cold hard realities? Is that what I believe life is full of? My words catch me out - tell my story - even as I write.
The clarity comes fast now, like lighting, bright and brief.
Cold hard reality is exactly what I dose myself with at intervals. My Dad's voice appears in the distant vaults of my childhood memories ‘you can’t have everything’. Why not? I remember wondering in my head as I turn back to my play. I wouldn’t question him out loud. My parents are perfect, so they must be right about everything. I just wasn’t smart enough to understand.
My mind took me deeper.
‘You must work very hard to be successful’. After a period of extremely stressful hard work, and the resulting success of having my Air Force wings pinned on my chest, I became very ill and developed chronic fatigue symptoms that lasted for over a year.
‘You can do anything you want to’ works both with and against ‘everything comes at a cost’.
Life gave me exactly what I expected. Exactly what I had asked for. Everything I deeply believed in happened and so I continue to deeply believe it. ‘There is no success without sacrifice.’
No wonder my life was punctuated with calamities and periods of simply surviving my circumstances.
No wonder I only reached a certain amount of happiness and then I corrected myself back to my ‘normal’. I would see a reason to have an argument with Stephen. I would find something to worry about, I would ‘get a cold’.
I have done far far worse to myself over the years to rebalance my sense of Universal laws. My great successes have had very great consequences.
This knowledge sunk into the depths of my being. It was both light - there was a way to change, and heavy - I did not know how to change. I felt now that there was an invisible impermeable boundary above my head, preventing my from lifting myself to my next level of existential comprehension and abundance. I knew it must always have been there but now I was aware of it. I felt energy moving uneasily through my body and mind. I was unsettled, like a building wave of energy swelled inside me but did not have direction in which to break and flow. I would feel like this until I could articulate with clarity the steps I must take to move forward. And the building wave of unsettled energy inside me would increase in pressure until it was able to break and flow. Then I would dissolve and flow with it, onwards to my life of greater abundance.
Now I just had to wait. The pressure rose and rumbled inside me, tangible and having real weight. I could sense the creases on my face and the slight inwards curve of my shoulders, slightly shallower breath. I suddenly thought I should eat some cake and even as I had the thought I could see my intuitive self finding ways to make me feel less well, less whole, heavier.
I suddenly realised that I was late for the yoga course I had committed to and as I gathered my things to rush out I was so angry at myself for having to rush, stressed at the thought of running up the stairs out of breath and far from calm as all the other perfect people sat quietly on their mats beginning the breaths of calm and I would be a swirling energy amongst them disturbing their serenity and I nearly convinced myself not to attend. I recognised the pattern and I persevered. I tried to accept with grace the state at which I arrived on my yoga matt as a consequence of the breakthrough that was impending, the great breakthrough that would take me to my next leap. And even as my phone rang shrilly in the silent class and I swore audibly in a manner unwelcome in a yoga studio, even my footsteps sounded ashamed and apologetic as I hurried to turn off the unwelcome siren. I wanted to keep walking out the door and away from the shame and judgement I now imagined must exist, but I still persevered, feeling deeply the shame that now swirled in me but again I sat and breathed and persevered, understanding the scene unfolding, understanding the sabotage, the pattern, understanding and observing the ease with which my unconscious patterns manipulated my emotions and actions. And in all this awareness, I knew that despite the pain, or perhaps because of it, that the wave would break inside me very soon and the clarity would flood me with relief and revelation, if only I could stay open and wait.
I am open.
I am waiting.
I am extremely uncomfortable.
Credit to audio book "The Big Leap" by Gay Hendricks. An amazing read.
Warning: if you read this, you must be ready to have your limits and fears challenged. You must be ready to change your life and breakthrough to new levels of success and abundance.