I recently returned from a week-long trip to Las Vegas, Nevada where I attended Steve Pavlina’s Conscious Growth Workshop. Wow!
Las Vegas itself was a bit of a culture shock for an Aussie who was visiting the States for the first time. The currency all looked the same to me, so I nearly had a heart attack when I thought I tipped a cabbie $100 instead of $1. I did a double-take at the huge chocolate-covered caramel apples, saw the services of scantily clad women advertised on the sides of trucks, got handed porn cards on The Strip, had fun exaggerating my accent with random people trying to sell me their wares (G’day, I’m from S’traaalya mate), was flabbergasted by the opulence of some of the casinos, wandered the Strip for three hours in search of a decent cruelty-free meal, saw some incredible shows, a breath-taking tour of the Grand Canyon, hiked in the desert for a day, and made memories to treasure for a lifetime.
Despite this, the city and surrounds aren’t what had the biggest effect on me. The wonderful new friends I made, the experiences we had, and what I learned at the workshop is what I will carry with me for a long time to come.
I met some of the most loving, caring, genuine, and growth-oriented individuals you could hope to find on my Vegas trip, hailing from Wisconsin, California, Belgium, Germany, Canada, Nevada itself, and many others. It was a beautiful and rare thing to experience such immediate love and connection with a group of people. Hugs were the standard introduction protocol for men and women alike. No one opened a conversation with superficial fluff. Everyone was open, honest, and dived into their reasons for attending and the most important issues in their lives after knowing one another only a couple of minutes. There were no stupid social rules about not discussing topics of a potentially sensitive nature. Everything was on the table; polyamourous relationships, meaningful careers, acquiring financial abundance, psychic abilities, lucid dreaming, spirituality, religion, politics, veganism, raw foodism, and contributions we wanted to make to society. It was incredibly refreshing to experience an environment where everyone implicitly trusted and respected one another and had come together for the purpose of sharing love, connecting, and pursuing conscious growth.
So why the heck did I fly halfway across the world for a workshop in Las Vegas? I have to admit, I had been feeling a little lost lately in what direction I wanted my life to take. In comparison to what my life was two years ago, the results I have in all areas right now are just so far off the charts I couldn’t even imagine them from where I was at the time. The thing is my life had settled into a comfortable routine and I had begun to just go through the motions. I was pushing the important questions aside. What am I really passionate about? What do I want to do? Why do I have a growing sense of apathy and disconnection? Why don’t I feel motivated to move on any of my personal projects? What is it that is stopping me? So it was off to Las Vegas for me to pursue my answers.
Fortunately, nearly all of the questions I had were reducible to one simple answer. An answer that had been pointed out by numerous other Conscious Growth Workshop attendees, but I didn’t fully accept and integrate until I stumbled across it myself during a series of workshop exercises. In the septet of personal growth principles, I was well aligned with Love, but had a huge deficit in Power (if you have no idea what I’m prattling on about, see the diagram of personal growth principles in Steve Pavlina’s article).
My lovely new Wisconsin friend put it perfectly – I suffer from lightworker syndrome. I want to help people and make them happy, but end up sabotaging my own efforts because I deny myself the resources to do so. In my case, those resources are money, time, and vitality, without which the impact I can make is minimal at best.
I’ve come to the conclusion that my main problems are:
- I have a hard time accepting fair value in exchange for the work I do. I find it incredibly challenging to put a price on what my time or creative output is worth. I lack confidence in my own abilities and feel unjustified in putting a price on what I do, despite the external evidence I have to the contrary. This is a very disempowering mindset I currently hold, one of the main reasons why I don’t actively do freelance work, and now I am consciously aware of it, I plan to break it as soon as possible.
- There are times when I find it difficult block out personal time. This is where the power aspect comes into play in terms of assertiveness. I’m sensitive to other people’s happiness and problems, so I have a tendency to either do what they want so they are happy, or placate them if they appear to be unhappy because I dislike unnecessary conflict. This is generally fine – it just becomes a problem when it eats into my own time and causes me to neglect the fact that I also need time and energy for myself.
- I have rather selective self-discipline issues! My self-discipline is very high in some areas; following a vegan diet for example. In other areas my discipline is non-existent. Getting to bed before midnight and consequently getting less than 6 hours sleep for the last two years is one vitality-sucking habit I just haven’t been able to break. This also comes back to a lack of power – I let myself be interrupted by people much too easily, hence not getting around to everything I want to do, working into the night to compensate, and consequently ignoring my body’s needs.
I’ve got numerous other power-sucking habits and mindsets that I was previously blind to and intend to break. You will see them posted up here as I progress.
In light of these realizations, I will be doing a series of power exercises to increase my alignment with this principle. These exercises will be a combination of 30-day trials to implement beneficial new habits, joining clubs or groups for skill-building, one-time actions with powerful results, and of course, posting this article so I actually have to hold myself somewhat accountable 🙂
Incidentally, if you happen to know me personally and think I have a bad habit, feel free to post it using the comments form below. If it makes it to my 30-day trial list, chances are it won’t be a bad habit for too long!
First on my power exercises list is actually a dual 30-day trial. Meeting my body’s needs is something that I have neglected for far too long now, so for the next 30 days I will be aiming for a minimum of 8 hours sleep per night, and getting up at the same time every morning. I will also give up caffeine during this trial. It’s a trial I was going to do anyway, but I might as well throw it in with this one since it doesn’t really make sense to drug my body with a substance that will keep it awake when my primary aim is to get more sleep. So without further ado, my 30-day trial rules for More Sleep and No Caffeine are as follows:
- Go to bed no later than 10:00pm (including weekends)
- Get up no later than 6:30pm (including weekends)
- Consume absolutely no caffeine (coffee, black tea, green tea, chocolate, etc)
- If I break any of these rules, the trial starts again from day 1
- Trial starts 12 October 2009
- Trial ends 9 November 2009
If you happen to be a highly accomplished sleeper, please send me your suggestions for sleeping like a baby!
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