As a human being, the question becomes what is the nature and quality of being. Those with strong qualities of being are more attractive to us. They know who they are, what they’re doing, and will resonate these tangible attractive qualities. That said, you cannot reach out to grab a hold of the quality and stick it in your pocket. If we could, life would be much easier. Life would simply be a matter of selecting qualities and putting them on like a coat. But we cannot.

In addition, we all have a variety of roles we play. And each of these roles require different qualities. Roles that stress us tax our ability to resonate with the qualities that insure/guarantee our success. Seen through this lens, life can be seen as a series of embodiment of qualities determined by the role we are playing any given moment. So what do we do, how we navigate this? We change our understanding of ourselves. If we look at ourselves as vessels that are designed to carry the qualities necessary for success, we can begin to deliberately invoke those characteristics. However if our vessel is already full, there is no room to embody something new. We are all filled with qualities, qualities that either contribute to the embodiment of what we desire or detract from the embodiment of what we desire. The trick is to know what is in your vessel, drain it if you don’t like it, and fill it back up with something you do like. Thus, to be fully present and adaptable is a continuous interaction of two phases 1) Draining the vessel 2) Filling the vessel.

By the time we are adults, our vessels are filled with competing qualities and information. Often, our vessels are filled with grief, sorrow, shame, inadequacy, anger, confusion and memories that we have no idea what to do with or how to heal. So we ignore it and focus on the good that’s in our vessels. And this is great. However, the junk rattling around our vessels has a profound impact on what we experience and create with our lives. Eventually, we hit a point where we must drain the vessel. This draining can be a huge, colossal, almost traumatic event or you can drain your vessel relative to specific issues.

The key to knowing what to drain is the capacity to tell the truth about how we feel and our experiences. However simple it sounds to tell the truth, it is one of the greatest challenges of living. Because if the truth is that you are unhappy or in pain, recognizing it and admitting will necessarily force you to feelĀ it. Most of us have been taught to not complain, not hurt, not be weak, not be angry, not judge, not resist, to grow up, be mature, think differently about something etc. All of these mandates interrupt our capacity to tell the truth about our experience. Very few people want to fail; most people want success so we make sure we learn these lessons well. The greatest lesson we have learned about achieving success is to either judge or ignore how we really feel and get on with whatever we have to do to get success. Generically speaking, success includes the ability to work 40 to 80 hours week for a paycheck, marry the right person, acquire goods, smile, be happy, powerful, effective and driven all the while not pissing off or hurting the important people in our lives. If we achieve this, we have achieved success.

But day-to-day living is far more complex and visceral than the generic definition of success can allow. Stories abound of people who have achieved the American dream just to toss it once they’ve arrived. Others start taking antidepressants, drink, eat, shop, dissociate, develop sex addictions or other dysfunctional coping mechanisms. Some turn to spirituality and self-help in order to change the underlying problem. And this is good. Searching for systemic solution is a good. However, even within the self-help/spirituality arena there is tremendous pressure to pretend to be more conscious, present or happy than we really are. As if to tell the truth about what is really happening is a moral failure or a character flaw with the new spiritual overlay of judgement. Spiritual code speak for this sounds like not being coachable, being in resistance, being a victim, drama, not present, can’t afford the luxury of the negative thought etc. So now we have another reason to not tell the truth about how we really feel. This is especially tragic when this occurs when we need a safe space to drain our vessel so we can finally be free.