In yesterday’s post, we talked about the importance of asking the right questions…in magic and in life.
Today, we’re going to look at three common dead ends and how to get unstuck.
When your questioning is aligned with your true will…
…the universe responds and you experience a flow of positive synchronicity, so it’s well worth honing this magical art.
Let’s get started!
1. Are you asking a question that’s so big, there’s no way you could answer it (nor would the answer be useful even if you could)?
What am I supposed to be doing with my life?
Woah, nelly, that’s a big question.
Really, truly, if I were to ask you, “What are you supposed to be doing with today?”
…as in, on a divine, soul-inspired level, how are you meant to be spending today—would you be able to easily answer that?
Most of us have no problem ticking off the laundry list of things our ego thinks we should be doing from the moment we wake up until our exhausted head hits the pillow…
…but that’s a far cry from knowing what we’re being called to devote our precious life force to on the level of the true will.
This isn’t to say we should never ask these big questions, but if we routinely find ourselves stuck and overwhelmed, it’s time to zoom in and focus on our next step.
In Alcoholics Anonymous, this is known as focusing on the “next indicated thing.”
If Sarah were to become fixated on, “How do I defeat the Goblin King?” Her eventual task once she reaches the center of the labyrinth, she’d never even get her foot in the door.
First, she needs to focus on the next indicated thing and just find her way into the damn labyrinth.
Another way to approach this that might trigger some useful insights for you:
Are you focusing on a question that, on some level, you know you can’t answer, as a way to stay hemmed into your comfort zone?
This could be something that you won’t know until you take actions A and B, because…
…those actions will change your trajectory and thus your future awareness and decisions.
…you won’t know how you feel about the situation until you take those actions.
In this case, your soul is urging you to just take the next step, rather than worrying about the entire map.
2. Are you asking about things you have zero control over, which is another way of staying safely within the comfort zone?
If you’re asking how you can change other people…well, I hate to be the bearer of frustrating news, but this is a sure fire way to stay stuck.
We can’t force someone else to change, but we sure as hell can evolve ourselves.
And if you think this is a selfishly introverted approach, let me offer this:
The collective consciousness (and unconsciousness) is made up of you and me and everyone else.
Arguably, if I don’t change, if you don’t change—there’s no hope in changing the collective.
We have to start with ourselves, as Jung writes:
“Too many still look outwards, some believing in the illusion of victory and of victorious power, others in treaties and laws, and others again in the overthrow of the existing order.
“But still too few look inwards, at their own selves, and still fewer ask themselves whether the ends of human society might not best be served if each man tried to abolish the old order in himself…
“…and to practice in his own person and in his own inward state, those precepts, those victories which he preaches at every street-corner, instead of always expecting these things of his fellow men.”*
(Jung wrote this back in 1918, by the way.)
3. Are you asking what your ego thinks you should want, not what you actually want?
Here’s an example from my own life:
I was in a (long) string of train-wreck relationships throughout my teens and 20s.
Like, truly soap operatic levels of chaos and dysfunction, and unfortunately, I didn’t know how to change the channel.
I was really fixated on the question of, “How can I finally enjoy a healthy relationship, for the love of all that is holy???”
Here’s the thing, though: Deep down, that wasn’t at all what I was interested in knowing.
What I was really asking was, “How can I feel worthy of love?”
Now, this deeper question led to an entirely different chain of events than that healthy-relationship question, which didn’t actually have any magnetic oomph in my life at that point.
The deeper question led me to unconsciously seek out partners who were like my parents…
…because if I could figure out how to get my partners to love me…
…then I could figure out how to get my parents to love me…
…which my childhood-imprinted self equated with feeling worthy of love.
Now, I don’t delude myself that I’ve completely worked out these patterns (progress, not perfection!)…
…but I do know that I’m twelve years into my marriage, and I still love and adore my sexy husband and am hoping to have many more decades together.
A far cry from my crash-and-burn relationship history.
When I started to shift to authentically asking how to have a healthy relationship, this led to its own entirely different chain of events, like…
…getting my ass in therapy.
…learning how to communicate in a way that truly facilitated intimacy (rather than just mimicking my parents’ communication patterns in an attempt to recreate that situation).
…and a whole host of actions that were radically different from those inspired by the “how to feel worthy of love” line of inquiry.
Admittedly, it can be a little trickier to suss out the deeper question, but one way that works remarkably well is to do a little reverse engineering.
In my case, if I were to look at my hot-mess relationships and describe what I was repeatedly experiencing, such as:
Emotionally violent, chronic arguments
Being lied to and gaslighted
Being ignored and rejected
…and I asked myself, if these experiences were exactly what I needed to fulfill a certain belief, what might that belief be?
That I deserve being in situations that feel scary and totally out of control.
That it’s okay to lie to and manipulate me for your own purposes.
That I’m not worth anyone’s time and love.
And when I explored where, early in my life, I had felt these beliefs taking shape…
…it didn’t take a Sherlock Holmes to see precisely how I was trying to redeem myself by repeating these childhood situations in the hopes of somehow “getting it right this time.”
But once you know the question you’re actually asking (in my case, “How can I feel worthy of love?”), then you can go about answering/responding to it consciously…
…instead of allowing it to unconsciously drive your life.
Here’s to your innermost seeking.
*Preface to second edition of the Collected Works 7