Kevin B. Burk, author of The Relationship Handbook: How to
Understand and Improve Every Relationship in Your Life.
Matt, a friend of mine, recently shared a philosophy with me that seemed extremely apropos for my life, of late. He said that the Universe only has three answers to our requests:
“Not right now.”
And, “If you insist.”
As I review this article so far, I’m giving serious consideration to ending it right here. For me, this observation is so simple, yet so powerful, that I almost feel that exploring it and commenting on it at great length would be gilding the proverbial lily. I could end the article right here and make it a virtual haiku: a brief comment and reflection about life and the Universe, allowing its meaning and wisdom to blossom forth for each individual in a subtle and unique way. It’s definitely worth considering.
Okay. Now that that ship has sailed, let’s settle in for some serious lily gilding.
For me, this observation neatly encapsulates much of my life up until about a year ago. Most of my life was definitely lived in “If you insist” mode.
I insisted a lot.
I put my mind to the task, set my nose to the grindstone, kept my eye on the prize and held on like grim death to the dream in order to create and manifest the things that I wanted when I wanted them. I stood my ground and overcame obstacle after obstacle (and cliché after cliché), as I fought my way to the finish line.
And when, after extended struggle, trials and tribulations, I finally achieved my goals, how do you think I felt? Triumphant? Victorious? Ecstatic?
Actually, I felt pretty exhausted and generally had to go lie down for a few hours.
The fact is that we are infinitely powerful beings. We each possess and wield truly awesome powers of manifestation. If we put enough energy and thought and attention to something, we create it in our lives and in our (little “r”) reality.
It’s also a fact, however, that we’re not alone. And while we can overcome obstacles and make things happen on our own timetable and exactly the way that we want them to simply by insisting, we can also choose to partner with the Universe, to be co-creators of our lives.
And the most important fact is that when we partner with the Universe as co-creators, we have a very different—and completely fulfilling—experience of creation. For one thing, when we partner with the Universe, the Universe is responsible for clearing the path of all obstacles, leaving us with far more energy and far less stress, so that we’re able to actually enjoy our accomplishments.
We only ever choose “If you insist” mode when we choose not to accept the “Not right now,” answer from the Universe. Speaking for myself, I realize the arrogance of not accepting the “Not right now,” answer. When I insist, I’m assuming that I know more about what’s in my best interest than the Universe does. At the very least, I’m assuming that I have a better perspective of the road ahead than the Universe does, and even though I understand how silly this notion is, my ego and my “monkey mind” drown out the voice of reason and I blithely and blindly move ahead with my plans.
The thing is, when I look back on the choices I’ve made in my life—the times when I’ve accepted the “Not right now,” and the times when I haven’t—I can’t find a single instance where the “Not right now,” answer was not absolutely in my best interest. In every case, I got the “Not right now,” answer because I was missing a crucial piece of information—and once I had received that piece of information, my goals and objectives shifted dramatically.
Either I became aware of something even better—some way of achieving my goals that was larger and more satisfying than I could imagine at the time, or the new piece of information would challenge an unconscious assumption of mine, and once I was free of that assumption, I found that I was called to a completely different path.
Difficult as it is for me to accept much of the time, the Universe does seem to know what’s best for me, even when I don’t. I’ve never trusted the Universe and been let down; and on the other hand, when I ignore the road signs and veer off on my own tangents, I’ve never been happy with the end results.
The basic challenge is that our egos can only function as linear thinkers, and the Universe more or less abhors a straight line. Or, put another way, our egos can only function in three dimensions, while we (as eternal, multi-dimensional beings who are currently having human experiences) operate in many more dimensions than that. When viewed from our three-dimensional vantage point, we can only catch glimpses of the ultimate road that the Universe provides for each of us. It’s as if we’re driving on an unfamiliar country road at midnight and the only lights are from our car’s headlights. We can only see what’s right in front of us, and we rarely see the twists and turns in the road until we’re right on top of them. This scares the heck out of our egos.
Our egos assume that the path must be a straight line, and so we attach to an idea, and put all of our effort and energy to manifesting that goal, and sooner or later, we step off the paved road that the Universe has provided for us, and enter into the off-roading territory of “If you insist.”
Let’s stay with this metaphor for a moment, because it has some additional value. We have two choices as we go through our lives: we can stay on the paved road provided for us by the Universe, and trust that however it twists and turns that it is, actually, the easiest and smoothest ride; or we leave the paved road and set out on our own, slowly navigating the more difficult, challenging terrain.
Here’s the important part: neither choice is inherently better or worse than the other. Whether we trust the Universe and stick with the paved road, or listen to our egos and go off-roading, we are still following our path.
We can’t always appreciate this from a third-dimensional perspective, but no matter what choices we make, we’re still operating within the Divine plan.
Also, our journeys have no beginnings and no ends and no final destinations because time is an illusion. All there is, all there ever is, is NOW. The present moment is all that ever exists, and it is eternal, and contains everything.
This is an awfully big concept to grapple with, but the point I’m trying to make is that since there isn’t any final destination, it doesn’t matter which road we’re following because they both get us where we’re meant to be in the same way (which, by the way, is essentially HERE and NOW). The only difference is how much we enjoy the ride.
I made a choice a year ago that I was tired of the bumps and jolts of off-roading in “If you insist,” mode and decided to spend some time taking the easier road.
For me, what this entailed was only putting time and energy into projects that excited me at the time. This was a very uncomfortable period of time for me, because I have a lot of goals and a lot of irons in the fire, and I was spending quite a bit of time not doing things, which is definitely not my usual mode of operation. Periodically, I would check in and see how I felt about certain projects, and if I still felt any resistance towards them, I would just let them sit.
Strange as it seems, I’ve been exceptionally pleased (and surprised) at the results.
I’ll give you one example. I had set my intention to start offering corporate trainings, and created a new workshop and workbook and promotional materials (in “If you insist mode,” actually). A friend of mine, who works in Human Resources had mentioned that I should contact the Human Resource Professionals group she belongs to about speaking at one of their luncheons. I had this on my list for several months, and every time I thought about contacting them and sending them a proposal, it always seemed like too much of an effort. I knew that moving forward would definitely be “insisting,” so I chose to let it go. And after I let it go, they contacted me and invited me to speak at the following month’s event.
All I had done was to set my intention, plant the seed, and wait until it was time for me to do something else. My friend had recommended me to their board, their board members looked at my websites, liked what they saw, and contacted me. It was easy, it was effortless, and the results were far better than they would have been if I had pursued this myself.
And what’s more, if I had attempted to make things happen on my timetable, I might still be waiting to get on their calendar to speak.
I expect that I’ll be returning to this theme in future articles, because there’s so much more to explore. For now, I simply invite you to consider what mode you’re currently operating in. If you’re in “If you insist” mode in any areas of your life, simply know that you can let go and you’ll automatically find yourself back on the paved road. It might not make things happen any faster, but it’s a much smoother ride.
Kevin B. Burk is the author of
Relationship Handbook: How to Understand and Improve Every
Relationship in Your Life.
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