The feeling can range from a subtle sense of unease that whispers “Let’s go, time to get up” to a heavy angst that shouts “GET UP!!! You’re life is passing you by!” It’s that feeling that makes us not want to get out of bed even when we’ve had a full nights rest and that torments us more and more with every second we lie there. It’s like the weight of all our burdens and the to-do’s we’ve been neglecting have caught up with us during our sleep and on this particular morning, the piper has come to claim its dues.
I woke up this morning feeling a little off with no immediate explanation as to why. I slept plenty and had a restful night. There were no terrible dreams that I could recall. I looked out my window at the beautiful beachfront view and saw the ocean, the blue sky and the sun in full shine. No worries there. I had a great night last night hanging with a dear friend of mine and went to sleep happy and peaceful. Tonight I’ll be playing a special show in Sydney to a full house of my Aussie “hometown” crowd for the finale of what has been an incredible tour that began three weeks ago.
Aha…there’s a clue. Maybe it’s got something to do with what’s on the agenda for tonight. I dug a little deeper.
“Am I nervous about the show?”
Maybe a little, but nothing more than usual. Although upon some inspection, some of the typical negative stories were lurking. “What if nobody shows up? What if my voice isn’t there for me when I need it? What if they don’t like my new songs? Blah, blah, blah!”
None of that was helping the cause but I knew there was more to it. I’ve heard all that junk enough to know that it may be a symptom of something greater but that it’s not the root cause. So what was it?
The key word in that one sentence that gave me a clue was “finale”. I’ve spent the last few weeks fully immersed in this tour, playing the game of life full out, giving all my attention and energy to my craft, the shows and the experiences that this adventure have brought me. I’ve been fully PRESENT and now that it’s all coming to an end, that unpleasantly familiar and extremely threatening question that haunts us all both in good times and bad, is back.
“What’s next?” (insert twilight zone music).
We’ve all had the experience of going to sleep the night before a long-anticipated trip or event when we’re so excited and lit up that we can hardly wait for our alarm to go off the next morning. We’ve also all had the experience of waking up on the last day of our trip, or on the day of that special event with that feeling of emptiness or dread that comes from the object of our excitement being gone or almost over.
And in that space, one of two things can happen. We can get excited about what’s ahead or we can get depressed or confronted by it. The latter option is what tends to happen and that’s because when we don’t know what’s next, our monkey minds kick in and tell us their favorite disempowering stories about how it’s not going to work out, that the best is over, that we’re too late, and that we’re not enough so we might as well give up. This is the definition of future-tripping and when we do it, it’s no surprise we wake up feeling off and wanting to hide under the covers!
Now that we have an understanding and awareness of what triggers this kind of thinking, we can kick it in the butt.
Here’s the secret: when we reach those points in our life where there is space from one chapter’s end and a new beginning, it’s crucial that we consciously create an empowering story about the future we’re living into. Whether it’s the end of a long-term relationship, a job we’ve worked at for years, the completion of a creative project or a move to a new city, the same principle applies.
If we look ahead with doubtful eyes and question what’s coming our way, always keeping one eye on what we’re leaving behind and not fully trusting in the perfect, Divine unfolding of our lives, we will feel crappy, helpless and stressed. Because of our human nature and survival instincts, this is the default.
If, on the other hand, we look ahead with faith and believe that it’s going to be great, that the future holds so much opportunity for us, that the life we truly desire is coming our way, that there is Grace in the changes we’re facing and that life is happening for us, we will feel good, empowered and excited. It’s a simple choice but it requires great awareness and consistent practice to stay present to the possibilities in moments of uncertainty.
Perhaps like me, right now you are in one of those moments, in the space between what has been and what will be. What if you’re the one who gets to say how it’s going to unfold? What if the future holds a life for you that is beyond your wildest imaginings? What if the story you tell yourself about the life you will be living tomorrow will determine how you feel today?
Chris Assaad is a singer/songwriter and inspirational artist from Toronto who left a promising career in law several years ago to pursue his dream of a career in music. Since then, Chris has been actively using his voice to enCOURAGE others to follow their dreams, express their creativity and live life to the fullest.