Frustration is something I am intimately familiar with and I have never liked the feeling. Only recently though I’ve become aware that frustration is my friend, it’s my soul’s way of reminding me to trust myself and follow my heart.
On my computer I had six partly written books, this of itself is so unlike me, whenever I start something I generally work at it until I finish, but during the last ten years instead of following my own inner guidance sometimes, I made other people’s opinions more important than my own.
Several years back I was writing a book on happiness when I attended a Hay House Writer’s Workshop. At that workshop Reid Tracy, CEO of Hay House said something like, “If you want to write on happiness, you won’t find a publisher unless you have around 50,000 social media followers”. A year later I attended a Hay House Writer’s Cruise, where I heard similar messages on what won’t work, so I kept changing the message of my book and it didn’t flow because I wasn’t writing what I wanted to write.
I forgot for a while that the very successful books I have written came about because I did what felt right. I broke all the rules when it came to publishing, yet my books were published and were very successful.
Two things happened recently that have made me reassess my choices. I held my Dharma Retreat, which was a great experience, and I listened to people tell me how my books had helped them. The second thing was I reached a level of frustration that was so great that I lost my joy.
I had been working with a life coach in America to help me gain my masters certification in coaching from the International Coach Federation. It wasn’t something I wanted to do, it was a means to an end goal. There are a lot of hoops to jump through to gain this qualification and anyone who knows me well knows I don’t like to comply just because someone tells me to. So right from the start following this path went against my essential nature. The other thing that challenged me about this qualification is that I had to change the way I coached to comply with their core competencies, it didn’t matter if my way worked with a client or not. I am a person who believes there is never just one way.
That’s when I realised that frustration was my friend. Feeling so frustrated made me aware that I needed to get back to trusting myself.
Since then I have stopped pursuing any further qualifications in coaching, they may be right for some people but not for me. I deleted all of the half finished books from my computer. I started writing the book I want to write and I have created a new routine to support that choice. Every morning first thing I do is read a verse from Wayne Dyer’s book, Change Your Thoughts Change Your Life, which is based on on the ancient wisdom of Tao te Ching by Lao-tzu, then I meditate. Once I start work I write for a couple of hours before I do anything else. I don’t have an outline. I am simply writing one chapter at a time by following my inner guidance.
Sometimes you can’t just throw in the job, or change your life as easily as I have, but you can always adopt habits that make you happy where you are right now while working towards the life you really want. Sometimes you may make a short term sacrifice for a long term gain, such as getting up earlier to work on your dream, when it’s what you love to do, it is worth it.
Such simple choices yet the difference in how I felt at the beginning of the week to now is profound. I feel free again. I feel joyful. I feel me.