Getting the A:

I used to be the girl who needed to nab an A in every subject in school. I’d study what you wanted me to study—what grabbed your attention, not mine. That’s because I had no idea that chasing approval and “security” was keeping me from discovering my certainty and my power, my chance to create everything I’d ever wanted.

But this is what I’ve come to learn again and again: You can’t chase approval and aliveness at the same time. Do you want to live someone else’s advice? Or do you want to live your birthright?

An inspired life is the result of owning your own brilliance—following your own indwelling authority. It’s the intimate landscape of learning how to listen to and trust the infallible specificity of your guidance. This is a life that isn’t on any map.

I made this choice long ago, when I first left the practice of law to become a writer. I traded “security” for meaning and heightened magic, knowing deep down that I’d claim everything, creative salvation and a tidy way to pay the bills, by following the call that meant everything to me. But I’ve had to make this choice ten thousand times it seems, each time as though it were brand new—because some part of me still thinks that maybe I’ll find certainty and the end of pain by following the authority of others, instead of my own.

As a driven, ambitious person, it feels threatening to let go of doing things the “right way,” following the “experts,” and “getting the A,” in favor of stumbling into unmarked territory, because you have some hunch. Believe me, I still love the “world’s approval.” I love the bangles she wears and the beaded purse stuffed with dollars to buy my time and allegiance. But I have resisted her charms. I am chasing a greater security than anything that I can deposit in a bank. I am hunting my own authenticity. I am determined to live my full potential in this lifetime.

These days I am still getting an A, but now it’s in Adventure. Authenticity. Alignment. Abundance.

Bet the Farm on Your Own Life

I am discovering my own magic. I am healing my own pain. I am awakening to something incredible and difficult and true. It’s frightening like crashing through the air on a roller coaster some days. It’s that wild and exhilarating rush, too, when life meets you in midair for a kiss. As I continue to grow my work, my message, my reach and my life, like those who are just beginning this path—I find myself on the “hero’s journey,” the walk into a mythical forest. It’s dark and dank and on so many days I wonder what the hell I was really following. Maybe I don’t want to be a stupid hero. Maybe I just want to be saved. Worse yet, maybe I’m not following anything except a delusion– and now something stinky, clawed, and real is following me.

And then there are those other days. These are the days when you walk through the darkness, resolved, accepting the fate you chose.

You decide to bet the farm on your own life.

You call yourself a pilgrim instead of a fool.

You walk deeper into your life. And then, just a few steps further from the darkest patch of forest, you come upon a clearing, a meadow, a thousand yellow buttercups, or red Indian paint brush and the sun gleams in a way that paints your name, your nick name, on each petal of every flower and you know in an undeniable way that you are exactly where you are meant to be; it’s a greater sense of security than any amount of money could offer you. It’s hitting the mother of all jackpots, the great sweet Power Ball of the Universe.

These are times of knowing that you have been loved and seen and heard. There is so much joy in having trusted yourself and realizing that you were never off kilter or flawed. You were different. You were compelled. You were keeping a promise to yourself.

Really, I am loving the adventure. It’s this personal game of “Hide and Seek.” I am loving losing myself and my faith and then finding it again, each time branding me in the lesson: that I can lose sight of the truth but it’s not possible to lose the truth. And this divine, fortifying, intimate Truth will never lose sight of me.

I giggle like a child, every time I’ve been fooled by myself. Over and over, I fall for it, find myself feeling that maybe I’m not really getting ahead or that maybe nothing is going to change in the way that I want. Meanwhile, everything is radically transforming and when I catch a glimpse of where I really am, and who I really am, it takes my breath away. It is the most extraordinary feeling to have maintained your faith and conviction in something and to be right, to discover the magic, an extraordinary portal that no one else knew. Only you know the secrets you hold. Only you know the potential that beckons you. Only you feel this almost unwanted tug of glory in your bones.

This is the adventure of your lifetime. I don’t want you to miss it.

You are a pioneer in your life. It is as though you are discovering the Wild, Wild West. There are no sign posts, Starbucks, or convenience stores. Garmin has no idea where the hell you are—because, honey, you are so off the map. There is a black, black night with 8 million greedy stars dotting the sky. And there is a nakedness, the power of nothing extra or untrue. And though you feel alone or as though you will never know how to get to your goals, know this—you have never been less alone. Without the distraction of the world’s guidance, you can finally hear your own undivided genius.

Every curve of the road is guiding you. Every tree knows your step. Every bit of sky is whispering clues to you. This Mysterious, Brilliant Love is drawing you forward, rooting for you, investing in you, chanting for your fruition. It is in the nature of your destiny to lead you to your destiny. Every circumstance you are in is a chosen conversation designed for your good. There is a scent to follow. Every butterfly is telling you something necessary. The wind is pushing you in the right direction. The rain is a wild unfettered priest dousing your existence in holy water. Everything is in your favor. The moments of realizing this are worth a lifetime. Really, it’s one thing to be alive. It is a whole other thing to be awake.

It’s the ultimate A.

Action Steps Anyone? What can you do to deepen your walk of listening to yourself in this lifetime? Where are you being called to trust yourself? Have you read This Time I Dance! Creating the Work You Love and also Inspired & Unstoppable: Wildly Succeeding in Your Life’s Work! Both, while talking about creating the work you love, are really about this Great Adventure of trusting an inner voice—and feeling beloved, over and over again, despite self-doubts.

Grab a journal or write your answers on the blackboard of your heart: (or post on the blog here)

Where do you listen to other people (or statistics or media) instead of your own knowing sense?

Where have you chosen to follow your own wild heartbeat and what has been your experience?

Copyright © Tama Kieves  All rights reserved.

Tama J. Kieves is the bestselling author of THIS TIME I DANCE! Creating the Work You Love (How One Harvard Lawyer Left It All to Have It All!) and is a sought-after speaker and career coach who has helped thousands world-wide to discover and live their true work in the world. Visit her at www.ThisTimeIDance and sign up for free inspiration and support through her monthly e-newsletter or download her Free Transformational Report on “Finding Your Calling Now.”
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