“I’ve lost all hope. And… distraught is a weak word to describe what I feel. The thread I’m hanging onto is raveling… and seriously fast! I know that all sounds dramatic, but I can’t seem to find anyone who understands or hears my desperation.”
Her tone, her tears, her body language spoke louder than her words. With concern, I nodded, and waited with deep compassion.
“I’ve lost everything. My home, my marriage, the contract work that helped me make ends meet, and obviously I’m scared to death!”
She continued: “I’m not going to end my life. Although, I secretly wish each night that I could go to sleep and never wake up. But I rarely sleep during the night anyway.”
I know the sights and the sounds of the broken. I can remember when that was me wringing my hands. It was my fear trembling for the words to speak. That was me empty of answers, full of questions.
I’ve been there.
All the while as she shared her soul, I was silently praying…God please help me reach into this well in me. That was once dessert dry. That you filled with my tears. That you transformed into living waters of healing.
I knew I could help.
So, I waited.
Her voice quivered as she spoke.
“I didn’t come so that you would lock me up and keep me safe from myself,” she said with a bit of a smirk.
I nodded…assuring her I was listening. And doing my best to wrap my brain and my heart around her every word.
Then she said, “Now this is where you’re truly going to think I’m crazy and might think I truly do need to be committed. I watched your video about ‘longings’ online. It all made sense to me. I’m here because I would love to see if you could change my longings from wanting it all to be over, to something more positive.”
After a pause, I responded carefully, “To be experiencing what you’re experiencing, feeling what you’re feeling…and yet, hoping to change your longings to something positive and good…I know that you must have some amazing strength of character within!”
For the first moment since she’d come into my office, she looked up, made eye contact, and asked, “Do you really mean that?”
“Yes, I do. I sincerely do! And if you are willing to stretch yourself to what I believe will be out of your comfort zone, I do believe that we can turn your longings to something good.”
No matter where your life is currently…whether you’re at your lowest low or your highest high, or even if you’re meandering through mediocrity, giving vision and voice to your longings can turn you towards a greater life.
An abundant life.
It was this client who inspired me to write about the power of longings. And how to not only help them (our longings) come to life, but also come to fruition…being a part of you/me/us!
In a recent blog, I defined “longings” as:
- A strong desire
- A yearning
- A possibility of more
- A possibility of a better
- Craving for something that seems unattainable
I also declared what “longings” are NOT:
Longings are not just great thoughts or dreams. They’re even stronger than that. I find that most people’s longings have a cause associated to them.
Research indicates that longings help us:
- De-escalate emotions.
- Increase dopamine.
- Improve creativity.
- Strengthen our immunity.
Those are just a few things that longings do for us.
But I believe the greatest thing about our longings, is that when they come to fruition, they do far greater things for others than the fulfilling that comes to us. Nothing is more meaningful than that.
But it all starts with our longings.
(Hey longing, hit pause…
Let’s stop the tape in my head.
You’re not stupid…ok!?
Hey longing, let’s fast forward
past the what if’s…past
the shoulda, coulda, woulda’s!
Hey longing, let’s make it a habit
to stay in the now
only looking for and listening …
for the wisdom and insight,
to take the next right step!
Hey longing, all we/me/us will
ever want to know or need
is which direction (or which decision)
gets us from point A to point B.
Hey longing…that’s all
we’ll EVER need for each step!
Hey longing…pay zero attention
to the rattle and hum of
yesterday’s dragons in my head,
the only answer they ever share…
are the “cant’s”!
Hey longing, let’s get back
to writing our/my new story.)
If you’re in a valley or a season of distress, it’ll likely require you to stretch out of your comfort zone. Just as I shared to my client.
If you’re willing to stretch with me, and even to those of you that are not in a bad place…stretch with me anyway!
Champions see their longings become influential.
Champions experience abundant life because of their longings.
Champions feel their feelings, but never chase them, only when they know them and define do they pursue them. Truth always starts with a longing.
That is my goal for you. Just as it was for my client. What can you do to call forth your longings and to breathe life into them?
Follow along in these three steps Champions take to breathe life into their longings.
1. Living the ‘What If’s’ (How miracles begin!)
Yes, I’m going to ask you to join me in “what if.”
My client looked at me skeptically, but in true dedication exclaimed, “I’ll give it my best shot, even though I’m not certain I can do this!”
“I’m certainly not suggesting that doing this exercise will ‘fix’ everything,” I said. “Although I wish it could. I’m just saying we can do this to change your neurochemistry. When it changes, then we can get you in a place where we can do your grief work around all your loss, deal with any depression and anxiety, resolve any trauma, and get you on a shorter path to the abundant life.”
She nodded with a tad of enthusiasm. I could see she was hoping what I was speaking was truth, but also battling the facts of her life at the same time.
I could see the doubt.
I could sense the weariness.
But I did not allow it to become an un-hurdled roadblock.
To begin this exercise, I’d like to suggest that you, as the reader, name all the obstacles you believe are before you. Obstacles that might prevent you from living the life of your dreams. This is a very important step in the process.
Because she’d already listed hers, I began with, “For just a moment I would like for you to set aside the pain of losing your marriage, the devastation of losing your home, and the financial challenges facing you. For just a few moments … set them aside.”
As if it took every ounce of energy within her, she nodded.
Then the “what if” exercise began. I would like to encourage you to read her responses to “what if” to get the gist of the exercise then answer each of them for yourself.
- “What if all those things you set aside were resolved for you. What would you want to do with your life that you’ve hoped for at moments but never believed possible?”
As if she had run her time machine back, she responded with, “I’d move to the beach, and I’d write children’s books. And I would illustrate them. I used to say that’s what I would do when I retired before I realized I can never retire.”
I continued, “Tell me about your place on the beach.”
She looked up at me as if wondering if I heard what she had said. For a moment she looked as if she was going to demand… “Did you not just hear me say I can never retire?” But my waiting must have squelched that.
Finally, she looked down and began timidly, “It’s right on the beach. It’s small and cozy. But big enough for an office with white boards all around the walls. With beautiful windows overlooking the waves. That’s where I would write. I would prepare healthy meals in the kitchen that’s just big enough. And eat them out on the balcony, while listening to seagulls, and the laughter of people on the beach.”
She had grabbed my heart on this one, because all who know me know that I desire to live on the beach.
“Tell me about your children’s books.”
She took a breath and said, “They would all be centered around great life lessons. Things we don’t teach children, but they need to know. Values that need to be instilled. Like kindness, compassion, respect, love.”
“What a wonderful thing for children,” I commented.
“Let’s continue with my next question.”
Although she was still complying while finding it difficult, there appeared to be a spark, at brief seconds, as she was responding.
“Have you ever seen a movie where you were so inspired that it stayed with you for at least the rest of the day?”
She nodded, “Oh yes! Good Will Hunting!”
- “What if you could have stepped into a moment in that movie, the moment that most inspired you, what moment would you’ve stepped into? And what would you take away from that moment in the movie?”
Without hesitation, she responded, “Definitely the moment when Robin Williams, the therapist, gave the moving wake up call to Will about real love.”
She paused then recited the following.
“I’d ask you about love and you’d probably quote me a sonnet. But you’ve never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable and known someone that could level you with her eyes. Feeling like God put an angel on earth just for you, who could rescue you from the depths of hell. And you wouldn’t know what it’s like to be her angel, to have that love for her, be there forever, through anything, through cancer. And you wouldn’t know about sleeping sitting up in the hospital room for two months, holding her hand, because the doctors could see in your eyes that the terms ‘visiting hours’ don’t apply to you. You don’t know about real loss, because it only occurs…when you’ve loved something more than you love yourself. And I doubt you’ve ever dared to love anybody that much.”
She quoted it almost verbatim as she looked down at the floor as tears filled her eyes. Obviously that scene had made a huge impact on her.
“It changed my view on love. On being present with people I care about. And, how we really need one another.” Her voice trailed off with, “I need to watch it again …”
- After a thoughtful pause, I continued: “One more ‘what if’ question. What if you could have the kind of life that someone you know or have seen in a movie or read in a book has? What would you choose from their life that would make yours amazing?
“Oh my gosh,” She gasped! “It’s like you’re bringing up stuff I thought I’d totally put away.”
She sat up a bit and said, “I’d LOVE to have the life
of my best friend…
Her husband adores her.
They spend lots of time together.
They love time outdoors.
Their values are similar.
They enjoy one another.
I nodded with a smile, because I could see many things about that really reached deep into her heart.
I could see she longed for them!
What about you?
Ask yourself these same questions.
Even if you are resistant…these questions (if you give them honest thought) will reach deep within you as they did for my client.
We all have longings. Until life, trauma, hurts, and unfortunately events shove them down deep. But they are in there! Reach in!
Abundant life is about choosing love over fear. Yes, too many of us are afraid of emotions and feelings (if we choose love over fear) because they’re completely new to us. And no one likes to face emotions and feelings, when we’re uncertain how to respond to them or how we need to respond to them.
But this kind of fear is selfish and is the jail that houses our “what-if’s”.
When we trust the fear in our hearts and choose love to guide our every longing, we will move past the “what-ifs”, into the uncharted waters of the heart-dreams, where transforming miracles of the soul happen!
Where the unshakable faith of a Champion is born!
DON’T just pass with any “what-if” unanswered…for that’s the key, to every door, to every miracle you/I/we’ll ever need to fill our longings with abundant life!
2. Believe it!
By the time we got to this, my client’s resistance was mostly gone.
I invited her to close her eyes and, “Visualize yourself on the balcony in your beach condo, eating a healthy lunch while thinking about the illustration for the next page in your children’s book.”
As she closed her eyes, her face lit up. I continued.
“Visualize a ‘special someone’ there with you, wanting to know all about your progress on your book. Then see the two of you going for a walk on the beach, hand in hand.”
Yes! You must visualize it! Some people call this “new age” or “BS” or other illustrative things.
(Didn’t Jesus say, “You can say to this mountain…go! And it will be cast into the sea?” My paraphrased version of this verse) You and I both know he was not referring to Mount Everest or the Smokies. He was saying in essence, “See your mountain of pain, grief, challenge etc. in your heart and soul”… “Visualize your mountain,” said Jesus!)
New brain imaging research has given us fascinating data validated by what was happening at this moment. Although I could see she was still complying while finding it difficult, there appeared to be a slight smile as she was responding.
The research shows that visualization works because the neurons in our brains transmit the visualization, and then processes it in the same way it processes a real-life experience. Then the brain generates neurological impulses that directs the neurons to create what has been visualized.
(Can I hear a … “GO JESUS?” …He knew and said this over 2000 years ago!)
That message overrides doubt, cynicism and hope that has become weary.
I asked her how she felt after a moment or two of visualization.
“Like it could be possible?” she asked, hoping I would assure her!
“It is absolutely possible!” I affirmed!
“Secondly, I want you to look at some of the longings, and CHERISH them,” I directed.
“Cherish them,” she asked?
“YES! According to my favorite definition of cherishing…
- To care for tenderly
- To cling to fondly
- To love dearly”
“I think I can do that,” she stated wistfully.
I explained to her, “We must cherish our longings, because they’re the healing balm for hoped deferred. An ancient proverb says, ‘Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life’.”
“Another translation of the same proverb says: ‘Hope deferred makes the heart sick; but when dreams come true at last, there is life and joy’. We’ve all hoped for things that did not occur. It truly can make our hearts sick.”
“That can create a dynamic where we push longings down very deep, to protect ourselves from disappointment. But those longings are the very thing that will ultimately create life and joy. Abundant life. Resist your urge to refuse to cherish your longings to protect yourself.”
We so often trivialize ourselves and our desires for the best things life has for us. Nothing could be more contrary to the abundant life! I don’t say this to shame you, but that’s the kind of head-babble that victims hear and share.
“MY longings matter.
I matter!”…stop walking on yourself!)
I leaned forward and said, “It’s understandable.
We’ve all done it.
But the abundant life
IS the result of longings
pursued and fulfilled!”
Her tears told me I’d touched a sensitive spot. “I’ve done that too. But I won’t any longer. I will cherish my longings!”
“But what does ‘do it’ mean?” she inquired.
“It means to think of ONE THING you can do to put ‘feet’ to your longings,” I responded.
With curiosity, she innocently, but eagerly asked, “Can you give me a hint?”
“Oh, I can think of many things. Go buy a sketch book and start one illustration for your book. Go online and look at beach real estate so you can begin planning,” I began!
Immediately, she rattled off an excited list of things she would do.
-What about you?
-What did you visualize?
-How did you cherish
what you’ve visualized?
-What can you do to begin ACTION today?
It truly opens the door to life.
Abundant life….SO…something my amazing editor and partner in crime has shared…
- Do something that moves you forward every day.
- Don’t try to figure it out.
- Ease up and enjoy the journey.
3. Begin the believing…In your longings, in yourself, in help from above.
I pointed to the word in script hanging on my wall
It’s the background for my Zoom sessions.
“You must believe!” I stated with confidence.
With a quivering chin, she almost whispered, “I used to. I want to. I really do.”
I asked her to repeat these words: “I can! I will! I must!”
She repeated them, and I asked her to do it again, again, and again. Each time I said them, with more volume, more certainty, and more confidence. Her repeats become more confident as well. On about the fifth time, the smile came. On about the 7th time, she sat upright in her chair. On the 10th, I stood up and stomped my foot with “I can! I will! I must!”
She did the same!
Then we repeated the process with “I believe in myself…I can! I will! I must!” We went for about five rounds as confident rose!
Then with “I believe in my longings … I can! I will! I must!” Three rounds got her there.
Then we continued with “I believe in help from above … I can! I will! I must!” It sank deep within. As tears poured out, she laughed at the same time!
She got it!
“Be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind. Talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet. Make all your friends feel there’s something special in them. Look at the sunny side of everything. Think only the best, be as enthusiastic about the success of others, as you are about your own.”
Norman Vincent Peale
I hope you’ll do the same exercise. Get someone who believes more than you do. Let them read the exercise, then ask them to lead it for you.
It is powerful!
It’s not something you can READ and “GET IT!” It’s something you must DO!
No matter how many times your hope has been deferred…you can do this.
Stop rehearsing what you’ve lost. Don’t deny it…Just don’t continue fellowship with it in any way. After you grieve it…accept it.
Yes, your heart is sick from hope deferred. But this exercise will begin to heal it! I promise it will!
But it will heal even more quickly if you’ll allow your longings to pour forth.
If you visualize them!
If you cherish them!
If you DO something with them!
IF YOU BELIEVE!
The abundant life is for YOU!
It’s waiting for you!
Those longings will not just benefit you…longings always benefit others when you bring them to life!
Someone is needing.
Someone is wanting.
Someone is waiting.
For your longings to be seen, to be felt, to be heard.
No more discounted thinking or shortchanging of efforts. You were meant to pursue your longings. So stop thinking the belittling thoughts of yourself with your self-taught sabotaging… That someone’s shame inflicted on your soul!
Stop the brain-chatter tapes and tell your longings…we can do this!
SEE the mountains … but live by the mantra of faith that’s always saying…MOVE!
IN YOUR LONGINGS!
I BELIEVE IN EVERY “WHAT-IF”
BECOMING EVERY MIRACLE
YOU’LL EVER NEED
TO PUSUE & TO MEET
YOUR EVERY LONGING!
I’m here believing in YOU, YOUR longings, YOUR abundant life!