Shift your focus, shift your perception, shift your attitude. Commit to miraculous shifts. Shift away from fear. Shift toward love. Shift from ambition to meaning. Shift from a sense of entitlement to a sense of humility. In fact, in the wake of Dr. Wayne Dyer’s passing, his movie “Shift” is even streaming for free online.
But what does this really mean? Dictionary.com defines a shift as a verb: “to put something aside and replace it by another or others; change or exchange.” Put your ego aside, and replace it with love. Change your mindset. Exchange negativity for positivity. Okay, cool. Got it.
Seams easy enough, right?
Nope. Simple does not always = easy.
First thing’s first: You have to really want it. You have to be willing to put in the work to make this shift possible. I think for a lot of people there’s an event, a moment, in which it suddenly occurs to them that there HAS to be more than this humdrum, day-to-day existence and they realize they actually WANT to put the energy into changing & growing spiritually. (The lucky ones have known this truth all of their lives.) For me, I was in a really low, depressed, sad, apathetic phase because I lost something I thought I needed to make me a whole person. And as I was moping around the house one day, my attention was drawn to the bookshelf where my Gabby Bernstein books were gathering dust. I had a vague memory of reading Spirit Junkie: A Radical Road to Self-Love & Miracles the previous year and feeling pretty darned good. So I gave it another shot.
I made a cup of hot tea, grabbed my journal, curled up on the couch, and started reading. And didn’t stop. I realized I was thirsty for as much information as I could get my hands on about mindfulness, spirituality, and living a life of intention. At the time, I wasn’t aware of how radically my life was changing, but this was my shift.
I made the conscious choice to look for something different, something hopeful, something that left me feeling fulfilled. I started meditating with intention, found I was craving a regular yoga practice, and felt drawn to the outdoors more than ever. I realized how important it was to be still, be present. To look for the joy moment to moment, appreciate the little things, & “to walk quietly until the miracle in everything speaks” (Mark Nepo).
In Oprah’s book What I Know for Sure she explains, “I know for sure there is no real meaning to life without a spiritual component. Spirit to me is the essence of who we are. It doesn’t require any particular belief. It just is. And the key to this essence is simply being aware of the present moment. It’s transformative. It redefines what it means to be alive… The light in your life comes in, one conscious breath at a time.”
But it’s not like you have this “lightbulb” moment and you suddenly understand the meaning of life. You shift your thinking to begin to discover YOUR meaning of life. It’s a daily commitment to an intentional search for the essence of who you are among all of the internal chatter, the worrying about things over which you have zero control, the daily grind. As Eckhart Tolle says, “to be in the world, but not of it.” During my process of shifting, this practice of staying present has not been easy, but it helps me put the world into perspective every day. I am committed to experiencing life’s spiritual essence, and I realize this is a daily practice. It doesn’t quite come naturally to me… yet. So I put in the work.
Now that I’m in the “afternoon of my life” (as Dr. Wayne Dyer called the “meaning phase” of life), I see how important it is to shift. To live my life on purpose. And I’m pretty sure it will become second nature the more I work at it. Cheryl Strayed speaks to this beautifully in the first episode of the Dear Sugar podcast: “You have to seek. The hard thing is that you have to do all the work. And the beautiful thing is that you get to do all the work.”
Shift happens. It really is transformative.