From Debting to Daring

When we speak about “debt,” we typically think in terms of the balance we have on our credit cards, school loans, or home mortgages. Debt, however, is a deeper reflection of lack – whether lack of faith, self-esteem, love, or support. All of this “lack” can show up financially, though not necessarily in obvious ways. Perhaps you have the soul of an artist, for example, but you became a dentist, because you were conditioned to believe you could never support yourself through the arts.

The core of spiritual “debting” is listening to and falling in line with someone else’s ideas, over and above our own. It is doing what is expected of us, instead of what our heart longs for us to do. It is deferring to the way things are, instead of envisioning the way things can be. It is failing to heed to the life force that pulses through us, because we fear rejection, failure, ridicule, or even attack.

All day, every day, we are surrounded by incentives to follow other people’s ideas of who we should be: If I look like this, that person will date me. If I act like this, that person will hire me. If I talk like this, that person will befriend me. In ways both big and small, we shy away from the risk of showing our true colors, and in doing so, risk even more – ourselves.

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.” – Martha Graham

To keep that channel open, to effectively shift from a life of debting to one of daring, you need to get to know and understand yourself; to listen to your inner truth; to give yourself permission to make choices other than what you are told to do; and to allow your life to get messy.

You can start by simply becoming aware of your body sensations throughout the day – looking for clues about what feeds your soul and what depletes it. You may eagerly look forward to a dance class at the gym, for example, and you may feel energized afterward; you may jump at the opportunity to help your nephew with his homework, coming to life as you teach him; or you may voraciously read the books of a particular author, because her words leave you feeling inspired. These harmonious sensations cue you into your heart’s desires and your soul’s essence – in turn illuminating your passion and purpose in life.

To the contrary, you may tense up or feel low-grade anxiety when you are around a certain friend; you may drag through your work day, only to feel depleted when it is over; or you may get angry every time you hear a certain on-air personality. These discordant sensations cue you into who you are not – in turn guiding you on what to avoid.

Of course, we all have varying degrees of ability, privilege, and responsibility, and not everyone has the luxury of changing course in life, promptly after realizing something is out of alignment. We all, however, can take small steps each day – whether shifting our attitude about what is possible, putting aside 10 minutes to do something that makes our heart sing, or attending a gathering where we can meet kindred spirits.

To this end, within the parameters of what is possible for you today – and that may be different than what is possible tomorrow, as your path unfolds – get curious about little ways you can step outside your comfort zone and take a step toward living the life you love. If you have noticed that your heart sings every time you see art, make it a priority to buy art magazines, to draw in your journal for a set amount of time each day, to take a sculpting class, to attend an art gallery opening, to intern for an art studio, or to read a self-help book for artists.

When you say “yes” to your soul, you give the Universe the chance to say “yes” back. One thing leads to another. So as you step out into the world on your chosen path – as you put yourself into the heart of the scene where your soul longs to be – you amplify the opportunities for your life to line up in harmony with your passion and purpose. You may attend event A, where you meet person B, with whom you have experience C, that leads to opportunity D, and voila! Your life might change significantly, much quicker than you would ever imagine.

“In an infinite Universe anything can happen.” – Douglas Adams

Allow yourself to dream and believe that you can manifest that dream, whether as a vocation or avocation, for hours each day or minutes each day. By becoming aware of who you are, consciously shifting your attitude, taking small steps and letting go of expectations, surrounding yourself with people who mirror and validate you, and stepping out on faith, you can leave the life of debting behind you and step into a life of daring.