What we resist, persists. :: Where attention goes, energy flows.
These two sentences were the topic of a dharma talk at a retreat I attended about a year ago. If you pay close attention to your thoughts and intentions, you will see these two things play out in your life. I know this, but, being human just like everyone else, I forget this.
A few weeks ago, I finally stepped completely away from my consulting work – I had been struggling to keep doing a few hours of work each week, thinking it a safety net, but finding myself stressed out, avoiding it, and unhappy afterwards. So I made the last step towards leaving it behind.
At the same time as I released that safety net, summer vacations wrapped up, school started and we had a solar eclipse. I have no idea which energies had the most impact, but my massage appointments dropped to just a few a week, for a few weeks. I decided to really work at trusting the universe – I had the resources to wait it out and keep going – but doubt found it’s tiny toehold in my confidence and took a seat.
At the same time, I lost a weekly client because of scheduling conflicts. I don’t work on weekends for various reasons, but all of which amount to this: I get the energy I need to be who I am so that I can do what I do on weekends, and it’s not really feasible to just shift those days at this time of my life. At the time, this one client was the only one who was interested in Saturday appointments – I had no other inquiries even, and while I hated to lose her, it also seemed like the right balance to keep. But I started to wonder… should I work on Saturdays, like everyone else (who is a therapist)? (Never mind that this is an imagined idea – certainly not all therapists work on Saturdays.)
So I did what people do: I asked around. I believe the responses were well intended, but mostly they created even more doubt for me. I wondered again, is it really ok for me to not work on Saturdays? Some quiet, interior part of me that subscribed to my doubt said “No. What makes me so special, that I don’t have to work Saturdays like everyone else?” And in response to my question to the universe, along with my belief/doubt, I have had in the last 10 days almost as many requests for Saturday appointments as I have had requests for appointments.
Where attention goes, energy flows. The phrase doesn’t mention good or bad or frustrating or what kind of attention or what kind of energy. Where my attention went was to Saturday appointments. Where energy flowed back to me was Saturday appointments.
When I realized this, today, I had to laugh at myself. And yet it was also kind of amazing to see it unfold. So, I have some work to do. I have some work in my beliefs – I need to accept that it does not make me special to not work on Saturdays, regardless of what anyone else might think. And I have some work in my intentions – Yes! I want lots of appointments but I want the time and space I need to take care of myself, too.
Certainly, I will still get requests for Saturday work. But even if you don’t think this an example of universal energy responding, consider this. When I get my intentions and beliefs back in sync, it won’t bother me to turn down a Saturday appointment. Even if the externals are exactly the same, my inner sense of being will be easy and peaceful, instead of distressed. And that is a palpable, if not tangible, difference.