A faster way to get someplace is awesome, right? Until, that is, your GPS leads you to the fastest way— up the side of an unlit moutain with no railing and wants you to wind up the side of it in the dark to get to a U2 concert in time to get parking. Breathless and stuck on the side of a road in the middle of Glendale at Sunset, I remembered that not all shortcuts are worthwhile!
Maybe most driving shortcuts are fine…
…except situations like that one.
Shortcuts that bypass the actual work of life, though, bypassing the times where you learn the lessons, where you have to grapple with things and find the way out, are tricky business in my experience.
What if the path you’re on requires that you journey for a while until you get to a landmark. Would you still take that path?
Today’s feng shui is all about working through things rather than bypassing the work for the sake of the promised faster reward. It might not sound glamorous, but it’s what I’ve found as the only way to make things grow in ways that are really epic.
If you’ve been in some sort of rut or problem loop or cycle that seems to not get resolved and there’s always a faster track to the finish line that fails you, maybe it’s time to rethink the path so you can finally get to where you want to be?
When I first heard that “part of the benefit of life is the times of struggle” from someone extremely wise and incredibly successful when I first graduated from college I was totally turned off.
I didn’t need to welcome any more difficulty into life. I bet you aren’t thrilled about that idea, either.
I mean, I paid my dues, I worked thousands of hours on my crafts, I was ready and it was going to be easy.
Except, it wasn’t turning out to be easy. I was unemployed, I was not interested in any career paths at all and I was lost at sea and wishing someone would rescue me.
I remember thinking “I have suffered enough!” when I heard that advice:
“Part of the benefit of life is the times of struggle.”
Nope. I would not even for a minute look for the benefits of digging in and doing the work even if it was not instantly gratifying. Instead, I looked for shortcuts and a divinely easy way. I wanted to bypass pain, so I thought as long as I avoided things that made me feel grief or disappointment I would be just fine. I looked for the best intuitive psychic guide in NYC to guide me past all the hard stuff (and wow how talented she was, even though I still struggled, I kept going back!). I corralled all my super-brilliant friends to help me move forward with jobs without doing the work of applying, I searched for people who were incredibly established who could tell me some idea of who I would become and how to do it.
It was all well-meaning. I just didn’t want to actually do certain things that I needed to do— like: self-reflection, taking risks, possibly failing to meet my expectations, committing to myself or anyone else…
I built up a life full of un-healed grief, un-processed trauma and a deep aversion to looking deeper inside myself to see why I didn’t want to feel bad. I also felt I had suffered plenty, and the idea of hitching myself to anything that could make me struggle was so unpleasant…
But, in the grand paradox, I was struggling anyway. Thinking of shortcuts, faster paths and magical manifestations was my “way out” when I was struggling. It was like an alternate universe where my heavenly number would one day be pulled out of a cosmic hat and I would finally be rewarded.
In all this want of “the fast track” I stopped working in ways that could ever be rewarded.
Essentially, I thought suffering was a waste of time. I never saw the value in major tears because I hadn’t seen people come out from the other side of them once they started crying. I didn’t take in the value of introspection because, in retrospect, I see that I was so afraid that I’d unearth this dark stuff I stuffed away that it all seemed better to just keep moving forward. I watched people in talking therapy their whole lives with zero gain made. This was what I saw (even though none of it was the universal truth), and it’s how I assimiliated it all.
When no one, including myself, could explain to me why I couldn’t really find a path or a passion or even a worthwhile commitment to make, it was clear to me that something was wrong.
My aversion to suffering led me to so many shortcuts that I shortchanged myself of a whole, full, grounded, creative life. These shortcuts – the wild romances with no ground beneath them, the failed fast track to successes prior to my career now (what I do now took a decade to build, with zero shortcuts), the healers who could cleanse me of the emotions of the past I stuffed away without my participation- all created a life with no growth, no “wisdom” and nothing of substance to show for all I was doing.
Ironically, I dedicated my life to helping people to align their lifestyles and environments to get to where they want to go with greater speed. But, also, it’s not without real work. If you’ve been in my Camps, you know what I mean. There is scientifically-proven incredible value in positive thinking, a bright and high-vibe lifestyle and any and all holistic means to speed healing, get to the root of an issue and make a change or bring in solutions more quickly- and I share thousands of them in my Camps, with my clients and on this blog. There’s also nothing that happens for anyone I know without building things step-by-step and doing the work even when it’s a personal challenge to move through.
Working through things is the way to learn a lot of the time. And yes, as that wise man told me years ago when I rolled my eyes, “part of the benefit of life is the times of struggle.”
Challenge doesn’t have to be miserable. It can be the greatest relief.
I’m a Buddhist. When I started 17 years ago, I wanted to practice the least amount possible to get a big reward. I spend two or three hours a day practicing these days. Why? Because I realized that the more I practice, the better off I feel, think, act and live. All that practice is in the service of transforming my life in deeper ways for me.
Karma is, in practical terms, cause & effect. You think things, speak things and do things and you see the results of what you do at some point in the future. More on this that I culd possibly type today is right here:
Karma – no matter how you approach it or what your religious beliefs- is Cause + Effect. It’s science. It doesn’t take shortcuts, it doesn’t go away if you simply choose to ignore it and it doesn’t- according to it’s long historical roots- matter much if you believe in it or not. Physics operates on these same Laws- for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This isn’t religious, it’s simply Nature. Cause = Effect.
What if moving thought things and doing the step-by-step work, uncovering the demons as they arise rather than sweeping them away, seeing everything and dealing with it all head-on… what if that was the actual fast track?
Building something like a business took time for me to do things that I imagine could have been faster, but that wasn’t the timing. I needed time. I had real work to do, and I didn’t want to rush it. I was told there were all these easy ways, but I felt that weird feeling of the past where I just knew that “easy ways” and “tricks” to more complex things like creating online immersion Camps that could provide a consistent and awesome product for all members (& how to keep evolving them… years in the doing), writing a DIY guide of my approach to feng shui, doing bigger projects… this took me so many years even though I was shown methods to do it in months if I wanted the fast way.
I have become weary of trying to fast track things that really take time to be genius.
Take the time you need to make the breakthroughs you want.
Some things do go lightening fast now. Some more complex things in my work life feel like magic, they are so easy now, so quick…
But, I realize it’s because I did the work for so long and didn’t hide from challenge like I used to.
I’m so glad I took the time. I still take the time. I don’t care how much faster I could go; I do care that I’m in it, living it and loving it… and as weird as it may sound, I now love challenges.
Doing what’s right, not what’s easy.
That’s a big one. A revolution.
The willingness to feel everything, to see the stuff about my own self that I didn’t want to see and the distinct aversion to try to speed past steps… this has been life changing.
If you’ve had fast tracks and shortcuts or simply an aversion to risk or challenge holding things back where you wish they’d move forward, it might be worth slowing down, digging in, and, without pressure, working through it all in ways that move you forward every day, organically and awesomely.
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