Let’s face it, even if you are very skilled in the art of living, challenges come up both personally and professionally. Sometimes those challenges can feel insurmountable; other times a series of small challenges or obstacles add up to the point of overwhelm. It can feel like all you do is put out fires. So how do you move out of “coping” mode and into a feeling of flow and ease?

Not long ago, I experienced a series of challenges while traveling internationally. None of them on their own were such a big deal, but with one on top of the other, the stress was adding up. I was caught in self-imposed expectations around what I had taken on as my responsibilities and what I wanted to be able to do. I could feel my body – in fact, my whole being – getting tighter and my survival instincts kicking in. Not a good sign.

After several nights of restless sleep, I dreamt that I was in a workshop led by a wise voice. On the wall in front of me were three phrases:

I have to
I need to
I want to

The voice instructed me to notice the energy of each of those statements in my current circumstance. With “I have to,” I felt anger, resentment, and trapped. With “I need to,” there was the pressure of fulfilling other people’s needs. With “I want to,” I recognized an authentic desire to help and nurture, yet that desire was buried underneath “I have to” and “I need to.”

At this point in the dream, a new phrase appeared on the wall:

 I allow

Suddenly I could breathe. I was able to tap back into what I know yet had temporarily forgotten: that there is always a greater potential underneath whatever is going on. In Transformational Presence work, we often say, “A problem is not something to be solved; it is a message to be listened to.” The Principle of Polarity tells us that a challenge cannot exist unless its resolution is also somewhere present. Therefore, everything I needed must be somewhere nearby. My circumstance offered an opportunity for learning and a shift in perception – an opportunity for transformation in how I meet challenges and stress.

The next morning, everything was different. I could allow the greater potential of my circumstance to come to the surface quickly. I could breathe into the moment and allow for space around the challenges and stress rather than tightening up, closing in and bracing myself against whatever threat might come next.

As my “presence” shifted, the most amazing things started happening. At the slightest hint that a new challenge was coming up, someone was there immediately to offer help or to point the way. The more I “allowed” whatever was needed to show up, the more it seemed as though there were angels everywhere.

By allowing the potential to show itself and letting go of attachment to how things should unfold, I quickly regained my trust that whatever I needed would appear when I needed it. Help would always be present in some form. Energy was flowing again and there was a renewed sense of ease and possibility.

As my focus returned to the flow and potential rather than being on the challenge,  the stress got lighter and lighter. I won’t say that the stress completely disappeared, yet my relationship to it changed. The stress was no longer my enemy, but rather a reminder that, while there may be challenges all around, I could allow everything I needed to show up at the perfect moment. Everything became a new kind of dance and I could have fun learning new things.

Challenges are a fact of life. Our relationship to them is up to us.


P.S. If you would like to learn more about how to recognized “what wants to happen” or to identify the potential hiding within challenges, check out pages 171 – 186 in my latest book, Create A World That Works. It’s available through our website store, as well as in bookstores everywhere, on amazon.com, and as a digital book for Kindle, iBooks, or other e-readers.


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