When I was a little girl, especially after a rotten day, I would contemplate running away to the circus. We had visited a place called “Circus World” where the folks working for Barnum & Bailey Circuses would train, and it seemed an ideal place to escape.
Because, of course, if I ran away to the circus, my life would suddenly be magical and awesome. I wouldn’t have to deal with the mean girls at school when they called me a “know it all” because I always knew the answers. I wouldn’t have to walk around on eggshells when my mom was in the depths of a depressive stage.
It’s not unusual for our human brains to believe that a change will make our lives better. We believe that if we just had a different job or lived in a new house, we’d feel more successful. We believe that we’d find romance with our partner if we took a perfect trip to Paris. We believe that we wouldn’t be so stressed out if we were thinner.
Sometimes, deep down, we know that a change isn’t really going to “fix” our marriage or make us instantly happy, but we desire it to the depths of our heart.
We have a deep dream that we desire to bring into our reality. We want to live in Paris for a month, but know we can’t manage it for at least six months. We want to change our career, but know we can’t financially manage it for a year. We want to block off a day a week so that we can work on our art – write, paint, craft – yet we can’t adjust our schedule for two months.
We feel as if we’re in limbo – that scary space between reality and the life of our dreams. So the question then becomes: what can we do to make limbo more tolerable?
How can we stop longing for the dream and find satisfaction now? Where can we begin to become besotted with the art of living so that no matter where we are on our path, we are able to find contentment and joy? What can we do about the space between here and there? What can you do when you want to run away to the circus?
Play with The Three L’s for traversing from limbo into a life you love: Love It, Let It Go, Leave It.
My first piece of advice is to find the love.
Hate your job? Really? Every minute of it? Is there any single moment of the day or portion of your job that you enjoy? Focus on that. Really dig one particular activity? Lavish it with affection.
Want a totally different career? Channel the essence of that career into your current one. Need an example? I talked to a gal recently who wanted to be a life coach. We found the love she needed in the way she trains and treats new hires and the people that report to her. She learned to mentor them and treat them with love instead of treating them like a burden.
Frustrated with your relationship? Where’s the love, darling? What first attracted you to your partner? What do you really adore about him or her? In what way can you tend your relationship? What can you do to remind yourself that you aren’t adversaries, but on the same team?
No matter how miserable you are, when you begin with seeking love first, you will always win. What is beautiful about the now? What makes you feel alive? Where, darling, is the love.
Can’t find the love? Let It Go to someone else.
Yep, in other words: delegate the things you can’t find the love for in some way. Sure, you can’t delegate everything at work to someone, but are there any single tasks you loathe that a co-worker loves? Think up some options and talk to your manager. Work for yourself but hate managing your Twitter account? Hire someone to do it for you.
Are you and your spouse always arguing over the messy house and piles of laundry? Hire someone to clean the house. Spending your weekend mowing the lawn? Hire someone to do it for you.
Struggling with some issues as a parent or a partner? Get some counseling or hire a coach. Those are ways to let go of the stresses of daily living and get some solid ideas and solutions to manage it differently.
Sometimes, it may not seem logical, but choosing to release the pressure by reaching for help and letting someone else step in. Delegate stuff and/or hire a professional to help you.
Last but not least, if you can no longer tolerate something, Leave.
Though you know the circus isn’t going to be THE answer, sometimes we do need a drastic change.
Stop doing the laundry. Quit your job. Get a divorce. Move to Paris.
There are going to be consequences to choosing to leave something. When you Leave it, get clear around those consequences.
Mountains of laundry will pile up and either we buy new clothes or someone else in the family tackles Mt. Washmore. Your new job may not be as great as it sounds. And starting a business takes (on average) three years to be profitable. Single life doesn’t magically make you happy. And the thing about Paris is that no matter where you go, there you are.
We think leaving will be a clean and easy solution, like cutting a rope, but usually it’s messy and less idyllic than we thought it would be. And it takes courage to leave.
Contemplate what the consequences are of choosing to leave it. Get really clear around what leaving will offer you. Instead of talking about how things are going to be “better when I….” you have to make it happen.
You may think I’m trying to discourage you from leaving. I’m not. I just know from experience that you get really clear around what you desire in your life and what you don’t want to tolerate when you first seek ways to love your current reality. Then, evaluate what you can let go of to make your life feel more loving and breathable.
And now the hard, cold truth: leaving sometimes is the best solution, even if it’s hard for a while. Some of the best things in my life happened because I was brave enough to leave. Sure, life was messy, but the results were worth it.
Running away to the magical circus sounds a heck of a lot better than limbo. I know that being in that messy space between here and your dreams doesn’t always feel like thriving. I know that your dreams can be so close that you ache for them….and long for your days to be different.
Where’s the love in what is happening here and now? What can you let go to someone else? And, baby, when do you choose to simple leave?
Here’s the real deal, kitten. When you try the Three L’s, it allows you to discover the magic that already exists in the day to day living. Best of all, it allows you to realize that limbo doesn’t have to be tolerated, it’s where you find the core of conscious living and thriving.