Aligned Solutions

Aligning your life can be very challenging. By alignment I’m referring to harmonious interactions among your:

  • thoughts
  • feelings
  • frames / perspectives
  • lifestyle
  • living situation
  • relationships
  • values
  • desires
  • goals
  • intentions
  • work
  • finances
  • health
  • body
  • family
  • friendships
  • social life
  • personality

We all have misalignments to deal with in one of more areas of life. Are you actively engaged in correcting those misalignments to create greater harmony? Or do you let misalignments fester?

Misalignments have a tendency to multiply. They’re like clutter. Once we start tolerating a little bit, pretty soon we have a lot more to deal with. Letting this happen can make your life feel very burdensome after a while.

Fixing Misalignments

Sometimes I feel like the majority of my personal growth work (on the personal side, not the professional side) has been mainly about correcting misalignments in my life. Notice what areas of life aren’t working for me, and really fix them. A big step here is to define what a genuine fix looks like.

This began with misalignments like being raised Catholic and finding that totally wrong for me. It was a long journey to figure out my own philosophy of life that was honest and real for me – and that made me much happier.

I had to deal with a lot of misalignments between my desires and the kinds of results I was getting. I had to keep trying different frames and approaches to figure out how to connect the dots. The biggest challenge here was finding ways to take action that really fit my personality and natural motivations. This took me in some interesting directions. For instance, I initially thought that success would be a good motivator for me, but it really wasn’t. I actually get more motivational juice from caring, compassion, playfulness, fun, and creativity. I ended up experiencing more success when I gave myself permission to approach life and business with a lighter, more open, and more playful heart.

I was pretty bad at trying to earn money as a goal unto itself. I could never get my emotions to be that excited about it. I learned to be happy when I was broke, so I know that having more money won’t make me meaningfully happier. Hence it’s very hard to get myself to emotionally care about making more money. But I was able to increase my income by approaching this more like a game, whereby I focused on the creativity, the fun, the connection, and the playfulness.

Finding and Reducing Friction

I’d say that the heart is really the key to alignment. My biggest alignment mistakes happened when I tried to use my brain to go against my feelings. If my feelings aren’t aligned with what I’m trying to do, that kills my plans dead. Doing anything interesting in life requires sustainable motivation. So figuring out what gives you the most sustainable motivational juice can point you in the direction of increasing alignment too.

Life can easily fill up with friction that drains motivation. Many people in this field will advise you to push through that friction. Be tough. Discipline yourself. I used to think that way too, but not anymore. Discipline can be an okay short-term tool, but it’s not very sustainable. Pushing through friction is like repeatedly running a machine that’s making a grinding sound that isn’t supposed to be there. If you keep pushing through, you’ll cause some kind of damage. A better approach is to find what’s causing that friction, and solve that problem. Then run the machine smoothly and sustainably. Keep it well-maintained.

I’ve spent many years of my life looking at the friction in my life, which can be hard to face. I had friction in my relationships, my family life, my business, my income streams, and more. I think one of the best personal growth skills I’ve developed over the past few decades has been the willingness to look for friction and to really resolve it, even if it takes many years to do so.

I look at areas where my life isn’t working as well as I think it could. Then I start looking for sources of friction. What’s stopping me from experiencing the aligned flow I’d really like to experience in this part of life?

Just a machine with a friction problem may create excess heat or noise, you’re body will do something similar when you experience alignment problems. You won’t feel so good emotionally. Your heart will squawk at you.

Negative emotions are great pointers to sources of friction. Wherever you find negative feelings, you’ll find friction that’s getting in the way of greater alignment. That friction is also an invitation to solve a bigger problem.

Building Motivational Energy

I think the reason we’re so often hesitant to look in these places is that when we see the truth, it’s really hard to unsee it, and then we have to admit that we have a lot of work to do to fix these problems. But that attitude itself is a further symptom of being too tolerant of misalignments. It means we’ve let those misalignments drain us way too much, so now we lack the motivation and willingness to identify and fix problems that can be fixed. Just looking at our problems seems like it takes too much energy.

It’s not that the problems are so difficult. It’s that you’ve weakened yourself by letting the presence of these problems grind you down, like metal scraping on metal for too long inside a machine. So you aren’t functioning at your best, and that makes it harder to do repairs on your life.

I’ve noticed that as I correct major misalignments, I feel more motivated to fix even more of them. I feel more willing to look for resistance and to delve into the misalignments that cause friction. It is a lot of work to fix them sometimes, but it’s just so worth it. The more problems you fix, the more capable you become of solving even more problems.

There were times when I felt tremendously buried under a big pile of misalignments, and it took me a long time to dig my way out of them. It’s especially hard when the misalignments are sapping your motivation to want to deal with them. Sometimes you just have to chip away at them little by little with whatever motivation you do have. The key in those situations is to stop making the situation worse by allowing even more misalignments to pile up. And then start working on the most accessible problems that could free up some stuck energy when resolved. The more energy you can free up, the more you can leverage that extra energy to fix more misalignments.

The benefit of resolving misalignments is that then you have even more energy to create some wonderful alignments instead. It’s easier to pursue and create what you want when you aren’t so overburdened with sources of friction. It’s hard to take consistent forward action when you have so much energy bottled up in misalignments.

Lightening Up

Solving alignment problems can create a wonderful feeling of lightness.

My heart feels very light, open, and free-flowing these days. I don’t feel clogged with heaviness. Emotionally I feel like my life has been the equivalent of a gentle smile this year – pretty calm and peaceful but also content, happy, satisfied, and appreciative.

From this emotional state, it’s easy to be very productive too. I really enjoy the work I get to do. I like and appreciate the people I get to work with, especially in Conscious Growth Club. I like my business model, which feels very heart-aligned to me. I get paid for creating courses, coaching, and otherwise helping people improve their lives. It feels very win-win, very fair, and very abundant. But I had to say no to a lot of partial matches to reach this point, and partial matches can be very seductive sometimes.

I love and appreciate my relationship with Rachelle. It’s wonderful to spend so much time with a woman who’s my lover and my best friend. It’s nice to be in a relationship that includes an abundance of daily laughter, physical affection, and emotional support. Perhaps we have an unusual relationship, but it works for us.

I love being vegan since that works for me too. I must have eaten about 200 salads so far this year since I’m doing a year of raw, but somehow I haven’t gotten bored with them. I seem to have fallen in love with salads and look forward to at least one each day. I think that eating lighter foods has helped me feel emotionally lighter as well, but this way of eating also makes it extra difficult to tolerate misalignments. It’s very hard to feel good emotionally while eating raw if misalignments are allowed to fester because the emotional sensitivity is increased.

Unlearning Misaligned Solutions

A big part of this path has involved unloading from my mind the many misaligned ideas that I learned from other people.

A misaligned idea is a solution of sorts, but it’s not a very good solution. Misaligned solutions create negative side effects. Aligned solutions tend to create positive side effects.

I was taught that certain religious ideas are true, and then I discovered that they were neither true nor effective. Religion attempts to solve some problems, but it creates a lot of negative side effects as well. It’s a misaligned solution. It took some years, but I eventually replaced those ideas when a more truth-aligned and heart-aligned approach to life, the universe, and everything. And I don’t need to go to Church and sit through boring masses. I don’t need to kneel and eat wafers. I don’t need to turn frames into beliefs and wrap them into my identity.

I was taught that humans are superior to animals and therefore it’s okay to treat animal as products. We’re entitled to their bodies. We can just take their eggs and milk if we want. We can cage them, rape them, take their lives, and eat their flesh. It’s okay because we’re smarter and stronger. We’re special; they’re not. This is just how it’s supposed to be. Animals and meant to be sold at supermarkets and restaurants. Their flesh, milk, and eggs are part of our economy, just like any other commercial goods. We own them. They’re born as products, and they die as products.

Just typing those words regarding my old misaligned relationship with animals makes me feel nauseous. That way of thinking looks utterly wrong and ridiculous when I type it up, but how many people bother to type up these misalignments and take a real look at them? If you relate to animals as products – which you clearly do if you pay for their body parts, milk, or eggs – how does that sit with you? How does that mesh with your self-image and values? Does this feel aligned to you? Do you feel good about this relationship? Or is there friction in it?

I had so much trapped energy in that messed up relationship with animals in the past, but I wasn’t willing to look at it till I flowed towards a more aligned relationship with animals. I feel sad for how I treated them in the past. I was much too violent and too willfully ignorant, but I pretended I wasn’t. When I stopped relating to animals as products, I grew to appreciate them in a much more aligned way.

I grew up with the expectation that I was supposed to have a job and be loyal to some corporation. A boss was supposed to tell me what to do most days. I could have the weekends to recover and do some personal stuff. My obedience would be rewarded. I could never stomach going in that direction though – way too much friction. I still had to work through a lot of friction to go the independent creator path, but I saw a light at the end of that tunnel, and now I get to bask in that light on a daily basis. I didn’t see a light at the end of the corporate path other than eventually escaping from it to do something more free-flowing and creative.

It’s interesting that society gives us so many ready-made solutions – that suck. The pursuit of alignment is really about finding solutions that don’t suck. A misaligned solution sucks away your energy, your motivation, and your happiness. Aligned solutions give you energy, motivation, and happiness. Aligned solutions give you access to cleaner and more sustainable fuel sources, so they’re less expensive in the long run.

Choosing Alignment

To choose alignment it’s important to stop choosing misalignment. Stop going for the partial match; don’t be so easily seduced by it. Set your standards higher on the full match. Stop tolerating the sound of metal grinding on metal as the gears of your life are turning. When you hear that grinding sound, learn to stop immediately, find the source of the problem, and do what it takes to fix it. Then flip the switch back on.

It’s not enough to say that you’re choosing alignment while you’re still wallowing in partial matches. You can intend and ask for alignment all you want, but life is keen to observe when you’re still tolerating partial matches. Showing up to partial matches is a powerful expression of your intention too, and life hears that loud and clear, perhaps even more loudly than your stated intentions to outgrow those patterns.

You don’t just intend with your mind, your heart, and your spirit. You intend with your body as well. Whatever you show up to is part of your intention as well. If you really want to express a different intention in an aligned way, put your body into it as well. This means withdrawing your body’s presence from partial matches. Otherwise if your body keeps showing up for partial matches, it will drag your mind, heart, and spirit right along with it.

If you’re gonna say no to a partial match, make it a 4D no. Decline the partial match with your body, mind, heart, and spirit. That’s a real no – an aligned no. Any less than this, and you’re still saying yes to a partial match. Note that a 1D, 2D, or 3D no is equivalent to a 3D, 2D, or 1D yes, respectively.

You can’t fool or fake alignment. Either you’re saying a 4D yes to it, or you’re remaining in partial match land.

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Steve Pavlina

Steve Pavlina is an American self-help author, motivational speaker and entrepreneur. He is the author of the web site and the book Personal Development for Smart People.

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