Do you ever have times where you can’t articulate what you want, but one thing you are certain of is what you don’t want? Liz Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, calls it a “Not This” moment.
The “Not This” moments tend to come through loud and clear. Sometimes they reside deep within us, where maybe we aren’t yet ready to speak the words, walk the walk, or take leave, yet we can’t deny feeling “not this.” This is not where I want to be, not who I want to be with, not what I want to be doing, not where I want to be living.
What is your “not this?” C’mon – we all have them. Some are small and some are so large that the “not this” will keep knocking at the door of your life until you are ready to open to what you need to do to remove it from your life. The “not this” is here for your higher good; it will keep re-appearing, reminding you that something (a job, where you live, a relationship) just isn’t right for you – meaning you’re not supported by the “not this.” You might be tolerating the “not this” or trying to excuse it away, or justify it as not that bad – but I’m here to encourage you to stop living with “not that bad” and strive to live with “really good.” Really good doesn’t mean your life will be without challenges or sorrow or disappointments – really good means that you have come to accept that you deserve to live with the “really good” things, people, and situations instead of the “not that bad” things, people, and situations.
The “not this” is asking you to be more aware and honest with yourself. It’s asking you to come to the understanding that there’s something different and better for you – something that will support you in this life of service to others.
You may be quite clear on what the “not this” is but totally unsure of what the “this” is. That’s okay. That’s where the asking comes in. Ask through prayer. Ask that answers come through dreams. Ask that answers come through words you hear in a song or read. When you begin to get those answers, those responses, you will feel nothing short of a loud internal shouting of “yes, this!” Bingo.
The responses never fail to come but you have to be open to receiving them. The responses might not come in the form you expect. They might not come in the answer you wanted. But they will flood into your life. And then it’s up to you, my friend, as to whether you want to run with them, leave them to marinate a bit, or totally ignore them and continue with the “not this” way of living.
I’ve found that the responses come more so in tiny increments versus large thunderbolts. And I think that’s so they are easier to incorporate into our lives. Tiny bites versus large chunks. At least for me – I prefer the tiny bites.
When the “this” answers come they are nothing short of pure happiness. They make me feel supported and heard. But the most important component is being receptive. Think of it like you’ve asked for a phone call with an answer to a question you had but when the phone did ring you were so distracted that you didn’t hear it, or you did hear it but didn’t answer it because you were too busy, or didn’t think the call was for you, or you didn’t expect it at the time it came, say a Sunday evening at 10pm.
The good news is that the “this” moments won’t stop coming even if you ignore them. They’re pretty persistent because they want to help you. You just have to choose to believe they will come and be receptive to the answers and the timing. And then begin to assemble the puzzle pieces until the picture becomes clear.
Recently I was struggling over a title for something I’m working on and found myself sitting in my acupuncturist’s office a few minutes early for my appointment. I was flipping through a magazine and the words for the title just jumped off the pages of the article I was reading and also provided clarity for what I was writing. I had asked, released the request, and guess what? The answer came. On a Wednesday afternoon, in an acupuncturist’s office, from a magazine I’ve never before read.
Pay attention to those “not this” moments. Pay attention to those “this” moments. Both are here to support you.
I’d love to hear your feelings on the “not this” and “this” moments of your life. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or share in the conversation on my Facebook page, Anne Greco, Writer.
And the photo – it’s of me and the other New Jersey Anne flanking Liz Gilbert.