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Butterfly emerging from cocoon image

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If you’ve been following my journey, you know that just as I started taking action toward my dream and set a clear intention for my dream to become a reality, everything in my life began to slow down, stall and eventually came to a standstill. I’m talking everything.

Money. Dating. Business. Zero. Zilch. Nothing. After a couple of months of this, acute problems began to emerge, like, “That’s a long time to go without cash flow. What’s going to happen to me? Am I going to lose my apartment?” Things like that tend to get your attention.

I really think all of this happened to show me everything that needs to change for me to really get where I want to go. This is true with my dream of being a singer/songwriter, but also of where I want to go with my business and the kind of person I want to attract as a partner.

That was six weeks ago. I’ve now had my biggest month ever in the history of my business. I’m not even scared when I think of my upcoming debut performance. I even have a band.

As things fell apart, I had to make some really important choices. Not so much practical choices (that, too), but choices about how I was going to react to my circumstances, which for awhile looked an awful lot like tragedy, turmoil and chaos.

Not only did I decide not to not worry about whether I would lose my apartment, but I decided to move to a luxurious apartment in a different area of the city that’s more vibrant and fun.

You might wonder why I’m talking about my apartment and what it has to do with my dreams.

Don’t get me wrong; I have a nice apartment; it just doesn’t let me FEEL the way I want to. It’s okay, you might say. You know, so-so. It’s really large, but it needs updating. My kitchen floor is the same tile they use in school cafeterias: that flat, gray stuff. There is some water damage in my bathroom the landlord never fixed. I’ve got a little paint peeling off under my window. Each year it peels a little more.

I could stay here, but the thing is, this place represents to me something I call Shabby World: the world of starving artists and struggling entrepreneurs, and it’s just not something I’m interested in bringing with me on where I’m going next.

For me to get where I want to go, I will have to choose to leave Shabby World behind.

I’ve lived in this apartment for eight years — the hardest eight years of my life. It was a time of introspection, tremendous growth, emotional healing and facing up to my shortcomings and improving myself.

But now I’m moving into a new time in my life: a time of abundance and ease and dreams coming true. And the way this place makes me FEEL just isn’t aligned with where I’m going.

It’s fine; it’s functional. But it’s just not good enough.

Ever since I made the decision to leave Shabby World behind, I have opportunities popping up everywhere. My life is flowing like a rushing stream of higher possibilities. I have a band. I have money coming in bigger than ever in my business. I have more social opportunities than I’ve seen in twenty years. And I haven’t even moved yet!

The standstill happened for a reason. It was an important part of my journey. It was the part of me attached to the struggle + my dream having a battle of wills.

Struggle and dreams are not a harmonious combination. It was important for me to go through the struggle so I could actively choose a different outcome than I’ve seen before.

Getting here meant going through some scary times, like financially bottoming out and seeing the kind of person I need to become to handle what’s coming next in my business, life and with my dream. The real test of your dream isn’t how you act when things are going well; it’s how you react when the evidence hasn’t shown up yet that what you say you want is actually going to happen.

The frightened part of me was like a whiny toddler or colicky baby, screaming at me all day long trying to convince me that something really bad was going to happen.

It can be really hard to keep going when drama like this comes up … and that’s exactly what it is: DRAMA. It’s the part of you that’s scared, trying to make you stop and do something else. It’s the identity you have as a person who has a big dream that was afraid to move forward saying, “But if you move forward with this, what will happen to me? Who will I BE if I’m not a struggling dreamer without making any progress? It’s who I AM.”

It might even be the divine saying, “Are you serious about this or not? Because if you’re serious, I’ll move mountains for you, but first, you gotta have a little faith and let me take care of things for you.

Before a breakthrough in any area of your life, everything seem to be falling apart. This isn’t just about money or the threat that if your dream comes true it might ruin your relationship, or anything like that.

I’m talking about the survival of the identity you’ve formed; it’s your ego literally believing that if you live your dream, it’s going to die.

And in a way, it will die.

The old you cannot come on the journey, you know? The old you has to go.

The really crucial thing is to give your ego a new identity, and the good news is, you get to choose what that is.

I decided to choose to be easy-going about things. I decided to be a person of faith and possibilities when it comes to my dreams. I decided to be someone who lives in a home that nurtures me and fills me up. I decided not to be afraid.

Nervous, yes. I always get nervous singing on stage (and everyone tells me it never goes away). But terrified like I was before? It just doesn’t have a place in my new life.

What’s really going on when everything comes crashing down is a shedding of the old and an opening up to the new. It’s just a transition. That’s all it is; don’t make it something bigger.

The deeper the fear, the more intense this process will be. It can be immensely hard to stay present (and feel sane) when this happens. You don’t have to be perfect at it. I promise. If you want to be terrified for awhile, go ahead. If you want to wail and sob, go ahead. Just don’t get stuck there. Watch yourself do it more than really being in it doing it. Notice it, but keep your eye on the prize, on where you’re going, and choose to keep going. A day will come when you’re not scared anymore.

A really good way to get there faster (because suffering sucks) is to look at your worst case scenario. If money has stopped, look at the worst case scenario. What would actually happen if more money did not come in?

Look at every possible scenario and just let them be there. After all, they are just possibilities, and even if they happen, you will be okay. I promise.

You have to go through the turmoil because you can’t take the old you with you. It’s a transition. It’s change.

It’s just like a butterfly emerging from the cocoon. She doesn’t go in a caterpillar and come out a caterpillar. What would be the point of doing that?

She transforms and changes and struggles her way out, until she’s finally free.

You might be able to take your relationships with you on your dream path (if the people can adapt and handle your success). You might be able to take other stuff that you’d like to hold on to. But you can’t take the part of you with you that was attached to not moving forward.

When it seems like everything is in chaos and you don’t see how you’ll ever make it through, DON’T GIVE UP.

You are about to complete your metamorphosis. You are about to emerge as a beautiful butterfly, wiser than ever and full of courage you didn’t know you had.

UPDATE: I found the most beautiful apartment. I’m so excited. I’ve had several “pinch me, is this real?” moments lately. I’ve thriving, I’m performing my original songs in public for an audience, I’m moving to a place I really want to live, with beautiful views of Lake Michigan. My transition is almost over. I’m very happy.