Let’s talk priorities. Divine priorities.
“When we want to feel courageous more than we want to check accomplishments off our list … When we want to feel free more than we want to please other people … When we want to feel good more than we want to look good … then we’ve got our priorities in order. Divine priorities—the kind that will steer you to the life you long for most deeply.” -Danielle LaPorte
“I don’t have time.”
“I don’t have the money.
“I have four kids, I couldn’t possibly.”
“I have to work hard tomorrow, I just can’t.”
You’ve said them. I’ve said them. We’ve all heard them. Excuses for why we can or cannot do something.
The simple truth around excuses is that they are symptom of a deeper wound, something that is keeping us from living the life we desire.
The simple truth is that we make these excuses because we lack clarity in these areas of our lives.
The simple truth is that if it feels good to do (or read, or participate in), I mean reallllyyyyy goooood, you’ll trust enough and find a way to make it happen.
That’s what Danielle LaPorte calls Divine Priorities. And that’s what we’ll explore here, starting with the main areas in you life in which you keep finding yourself making excuses. This awareness will lead to clarity around that which you desire to make a Divine Priority in your life.
Keep a notebook or other recording device handy. Keep it close by for three to seven days, enough time to truly notice patterns and rhythms in your life. Anytime you find yourself making an excuse around or about something, write down the excuse. No judgment. No need to dissect or analyze at this point. Simply notice.
Once your designated time period for noticing is done, create a sacred space for yourself to get curious about your excuses.
A note on creating a scared space: you don’t need to travel to a church or other sacred place in order to create sacred space for yourself. Sacredness simply requires intention and presence. You can create a sacred space for yourself in your backyard, your favorite park, your living room or even a corner of your room. As long as you have an intention and presence (which implies not being interrupted during your reflection time) you can create sacred space anywhere.
How do you go about getting curious about your experiences?
First, practice becoming a detached observer. One way that I do this is to act as if I am evaluating someone else’s situation. I remove myself form the situation and look at it from a broader perspective. I de-personalize it and take the emotion out of it. I become neutral. Essentially, I pretend to be a lawyer in their case. You are trained to evaluate all sides and tease out the lessons and pros and cons.
Then, take a deep breath. Use your breath to calm your nervous system and to ground yourself. Take as many deep breaths as you need (but don’t pass out!) until you feel a noticeable difference in your thoughts, your heart and your movements. (By this I mean your thoughts stop racing, your heart returns to a gentle rhythm, and your body feels calm and centered or something similar to this.)
Now, analyze. Dissect. Ask questions. Go deeper.
My kids have mastered this technique. Whenever we do or see anything they ask “why?” “what else?” and they keep asking until they are satisfied with the response. Persistence is key here. Support can also be invaluable, and here’s why. This becomes a sprint and a marathon. Under some excuses will lie a fairly simple explanation. For others, there will be layer upon layer upon layer of experiences, limiting beliefs and wounds. Until you practice asking more and more questions, you won’t know what you’ll get. Life truly is like a box of chocolates, and the more you ask the deeper you’ll go.
Some experiences you’ll uncover quickly, (think sprint), and you’ll get your answer right away. (I.e.: I have four children, I can’t go to yoga. Why? I don’t have anyone to watch them. Why? I haven’t taken any up on their offers. Why? I don’t want to impose. Why? I don’t like yoga and I’d rather spend my time doing something else.) Sprint. Reason for the excuse uncovered. Load lightened. Scratch yoga off your list for now and get curious about other activities that you DO enjoy that will help you feel what you thought yoga would help you feel.
Priority uncovered: desire for movement that makes you feel good, not just what you should do.
Some experiences will take you down the rabbit hole, so lace up your best sneakers, strap on your electrolytes and get ready for the marathon. (I.e.: I don’t have the money. I can’t do that. Why? I don’t have the money. Why? I don’t earn very much at my job. Why? Because my boss won’t give me a raise. Why? Because he doesn’t like me. Why? Because he thinks I don’t do a very good job. Why? Because he’s mean and can’t see potential where it exists. Why? [More questions and answers that aren’t quite the truth ensue). Why? Because I realize that I dislike my job, it’s not my calling and I feel stuck and don’t know what to do.)
Now that’s a deep rabbit hole!
Priority uncovered: you are deeply unsatisfied in your current job and you desire help.
These examples illustrate how following our excuses and getting curious about them can help you uncover your priorities. Priorities are ever evolving. Feel free to revisit this exercise anytime you find yourself making excuses for something, it’s a stunning way to turn a negative into an empowering positive.
If you desire support around this exercise, please reach out! I’d be deeply honored to walk alongside you on this journey. <3
Image via Pinterest.