New Deal

by Joel L, Western Australia

These pages are filled with some amazing stories, all with a common theme: people talking about a new found sense of self that appears to have stemmed from taking a deeper level of responsibility for, and commitment to, themselves. The term given for this way of living has been called the ‘Way of the Livingness’.

I am also a student of the Way of the Livingness and can say that the ‘me’ I am re-discovering is, without a question, the real me. In fact, it is that part of me I have wanted to connect to for most of my life. The simplest part about the Way of the Livingness is that it didn’t ask me to follow a set diet or regime. All it asked was for me to pay attention to the choices I was making and the effect they had on me. Over time, I noticed it made a difference when I slept, what I ate and how I exercised; in fact there was very little that I did, that did not make a difference to how I felt.

In the past some of these choices became ‘needs’ or ‘demands’ – they became a regime I had to follow. As such, I was adding stress to try to improve well-being. With the ‘Way of the Livingness’, each choice I make connects me to a part of me that feels so amazing, so solid, so true, that making all those choices does not feel like a chore, a sacrifice or a drain. In fact, eight years on and I am more relaxed, I have more energy, time and productivity – yet I am more dedicated to the detail of my life than ever before.

However, I have noticed a limit in what I can ‘improve’ in my life through these lifestyle and diet choices, and that the intention I have with any given task is what makes a profound difference. This means at some point I needed to move the focus from what I am doing in each moment, to how I am in each moment. In fact, ‘how I am’ comes before anything I do, and the ‘how’ often determines the ‘what’.

Sit with that for a moment, as there is a huge difference – there is a real possibility that there has been a difference between ‘who I have been’ in all my actions and ‘who I really am’ in my essence.

The wonderful part is the possibility that I might be able to stop wasting energy with all those things I have chosen so that the world would see me a certain way. It has been huge for me to realise I made a contract with the world many, many years ago: the contract was that if I act in a certain way, the world would leave me alone. If I worked hard, was a good dad, a good husband and a nice guy, other people would accept me… in fact people might even praise me.

This is not to say that the ‘real me’ is not all those things, but that when I do them to hide or because I think I should do them, to gain the acceptance, or to fly ‘under the radar’, it feels very different to when I do them because I choose to. The reality is, the only reason the choice to show ‘me’ feels scary is because I have spent so much time living behind the ‘front’ that the world has come to expect.

What makes the contract I bought into ridiculous, is that it hasn’t been all roses and caviar. Some of the roles I agreed to play included giving my power away to others, feeling despondent at times, being the provider (for others, but not for myself), and putting a lot of effort into hiding behind Mr Nice.

In truth, the contract was a bum deal, yet I signed up to it and paid my dues every day with every action and every breath… my payoff was I got to keep hiding. So if I was out and people were drinking heavily and I felt tired, Mr Nice would match their drinking so as to not be left out or stand out – while the real me wanted to thank them for the evening and excuse myself. Hiding was also joining in when a group of guys started talking about sports, cars, or denigrating women – while the real me wanted to say ‘I’m not that into sports’, and offer another topic.

By being ‘the same’ I can hide, by being ‘me’ it sometimes feels like I am very visible in that moment. Even though being visible feels true, real and lovely, the temptation to blend in was, and to a degree still is, very strong.

So on one hand there is a love so true that it asks nothing but for me to be with it (be with me): on the other, a contract so draining that it hurts to feel the fatigue in my body from trying to live up to it.

You would think the choice to stand as me, with all the joy and vitality that brings, would be a no-brainer, but I still feel the tug of that contract niggling at me to not buck the system. At times others don’t like the fact that I am changing the rules I live by… but maybe it’s because they have been hiding too, and need me to not change. At times I don’t want to feel all the joy that is there to feel because it reminds me of the time I have wasted.

I am still finding ‘clauses’ in the contract that I didn’t realise I had signed up for, but regardless of this fact, the ‘Way of the Livingness’ is a new deal I am making with myself. 

229 thoughts on “New Deal

  1. Mmm, I get that too Joel, the thought that it’s hard to go against the crowd sometimes. Which, really it’s not.. But I have found that I have still bought into that contract which had a clause that means I still like to fit in at times. Doesn’t make sense to me sometimes because what I’m trying to fit into doesn’t nearly feel as lovely as how I feel being myself..

  2. So honest and profound, Joel. What stuns me is, the more honestly we express – how similar our experiences all are. We might not be that different to each other in the end…

    1. Yea wow, great point felixschumacher8.. It might just take that one person to spark the rest too.

  3. I love the ‘symbolism’ of the contract and the exposing of the fine print as you unfolded who you truly are. What a blessing for those around you that are still choosing to hide but deep down wanting to step out of the the way of being they have locked into. Well contracts are being broken all the time and your ‘New Deal’ is the deal breaker. Great blog Joel, let your light shine and many others will then be able to see more clearly the way to go.

  4. Beautifully expressed Joel, you have a way of articulating exactly what is going on with great clarity. I too have made a contract that was a bum deal, and my goodness, the many clauses in it are still being revealed. Hiding is a game that serves who?

  5. I feel like I have had all these behaviours of hiding, blending in and doing what everyone else wanted to do where the ‘real me’ didn’t actually want to – I wonder if it might be possible that “everyone” could actually be feeling like I was/am – i.e. not actually wanting to do what “everyone” was doing. If so, who/what are we actually trying to be like ?

  6. Mr NIce, Mr Blend in, and the I just want to hide and be like everyone else of Mr Same, has a very attractive but empty pull. In contrast, Mr I am being my true myself is far more real, honest, joyful and powerful than any of those other aliases. This analogy also obviously applies to women in exactly the same sense….Great blog Joel.

  7. Joel you wrote: “The way of the Livingness asked for me to pay attention to the choices I was making and the effect they had on me. Over time, I noticed it made a difference when I slept . . . ” It is wunderbar that you offer this important choice to the world and I am curious if the world is curious to find out for themselves too.

  8. Going with the majority is definitely a bum deal as you have shared Joel I have experienced many a time where I felt to do the opposite of ‘what is expected’ as per the instruction of whatever I have adopted or signed up to from outside of me. Going with my feelings is a gradual building process but when I do I don’t feel as drained or flustered or emotional as I would from fighting myself. I am also finding that this new contract can be super simple if applied to my life as it has been shared from Universal Medicine, any other way is just the reems of small print that the old contract has.

  9. Such a recognisable thing this contract of yours, and as I am building on choosing the things I actually am I realise how hard it seems to let go of this contract. But actually it is not that hard and a joy to let go.

  10. Joel, thanks for your insightful blog that has made me aware of the many contracts I have made with myself to stay small and unnoticed. “ some point I needed to move the focus from what I am doing in each moment, to how I am in each moment.” This sentence stood out for me. This is something I am currently working on. Before I would just be glad to get lots of things done from my to-do list. Never mind that I was doing it in anxiousness, anger, resentment, rushing or a myriad of other emotions. Now I can feel the difference in doing the same things in connection to my body and how it feels. One of my new contracts is about staying present in the moment. It has changed how I view time and helped me deal with my anxiousness.

  11. Great realizations Joel, I can so relate to signing up to deals that cause me to give my power away, my hiding was through silence,the Mrs Nice/good roles. Which does not work in the long run and it showed in my life as a deep lacking.

  12. I love this analogy Joel, I can feel that I too have signed many different contracts for different areas or people in my life – feels exhausting just trying to keep on top of all of them! Yet at times when I go into a role/contract it seems easier, like the path of least resistance, but in the long run I can feel that working on just being me is the best way forward – less exhausting, and I get to be me!!

  13. Great blog Joel, so much insight you have offered. I have certainly paid my dues with this contract that I made long ago. Having a sense of who I am yet not knowing how to trust and live this, left me feeling like I was always selling myself short. Well in fact I was. I was living in hiding, hiding the truth, the love, the wisdom, the grace and the power that I naturally am when I connect to the stillness within me. And instead I was trying to measure myself from everything that I was doing, all the while overriding my feelings and sense of what I truly felt. Through being a student of The Way of the Livingness I have discovered a way to develop my connection to me and to trust what I feel. From here I have been able to make loving choices that support this relationship with myself as I live, work and connect with the world. A way that I love developing as I continue to explore how much more of me there is to live and share every day. I love what you say here as this feel true for me too – ‘I am still finding ‘clauses’ in the contract that I didn’t realise I had signed up for, but regardless of this fact, the ‘Way of the Livingness’ is a new deal I am making with myself.’

  14. “I am also a student of the Way of the Livingness and can say that the ‘me’ I am re-discovering is, without a question, the real me. In fact, it is that part of me I have wanted to connect to for most of my life.” This was the case for me, I had been wanting to connect with and get to know me and not feel so separate and disengaged from life. The Way of the Livingness, living the real me and learning, is the change that took place which means I do not feel separate anymore, I am connected. Your blog, holds the reader with such tenderness, care and joy of life, thank you for sharing.

  15. Letting people in is a great part for me with the new deal. And also to make consequent choices, which is not always easy, because I am breaking the rules of the ‘old deal’.
    To love and not be attached to love, is also in the contract I gladly made with myself.
    Not easy, but worth the work.

  16. All my life was about trying to connect to others and being frustrated and hurt in that front so I retrenched inside me. Given that I have not given any major consideration to establish and deepen a relationship with myself, I became merely a refuge for myself, a refuge where I could create my own world (so to speak). A world where no one could access. A world without appreciation and self-worth. Renouncing such a way of living has not been easy. For me this entailed changing my relationship with me and with others. Although this is work in progress, I am writing a new deal with myself (and others).

  17. I love the way you have expressed here Joel, I too am a student of ” The Way of Liivngness” and am committed to keep undoing those clauses that have pushed me down for most of my life. I now enjoy more love in my life and relationships than ever before as a result of it. Thank you!

  18. “At times I don’t want to feel all the joy that is there to feel because it reminds me of the time I have wasted.”
    This is such an important and absurd concept to bring to the table Joel. I can very much relate to having fear, dread and resistance at the prospect of having to feel the hurt of not having been choosing love and joy, once I remember what it feels like and feel the contrast of how horrible it feels to live without it…but all my evading is only a delay and I can say it is worth every tear to face and feel the Joy that is just waiting there to be lived…and I can say this when I am of yet, only having glimpses of the lovely joy that live inside me!

  19. I can relate to this blog in so many ways. What I am finding is that giving myself a hard time for agreeing to override my feelings is in fact overriding the feeling that I don’t have to give myself a hard time at all.
    It sounds crazy but it is a reality I am learning to accept as well as accepting the realitly that my feelings have never left me. The more I choose to be gentle with, feel and appreciate myself just as I am, I have felt those moments of craziness becoming less in length.

  20. What a great analogy. I too lived to the rules of the contract I made with life, not to stand out, speak truth or shine. Conform, play the game don’t let others see your grandness for fear they may realise the greatness in them. It seems this contract we have with life is set up to keep us small, mistrusting, hurting and blaming, abdicating responsibility and trapped in a life where we are only a part of who we really are. 10 years ago I began crossing out clauses in my contract that I was no longer going to play ball with and now I have created a new way to life inspired by Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine to connect to the real me and the greatness within. The only contract I live to now is the one I have with my soul.

  21. I am really noticing lately how I do things. And you put it so clearly here in your sentence – “This means at some point I needed to move the focus from what I am doing in each moment, to how I am in each moment. In fact, ‘how I am’ comes before anything I do, and the ‘how’ often determines the ‘what’.” Thanks Joel, great blog.

  22. A great blog Joel. It’s like ‘one can’t see one’s own nose’ – what you have written is so obvious but until it is nominated, expressed, it is not acknowledged, at least by me. And the difference between ‘what I am doing’ and ‘how I am’ is huge.

  23. Joel, great blog. Yes I’ve definitely signed a contract, to hide and yet increasingly I’m now stepping out and being more real, less affected (that contract produced a very false me), and honestly so much more fun and easy to be around. The thing is I didn’t read the small print when I signed and actually the idea that hiding would make things better has turned out to be untrue, so now it’s a case of ignore that contract, and let’s be true, let’s be real. And you know the surprising thing most people are fine with it, they love it as it gives them the remit to be themselves too; the most reaction I’ve had has been from people close to me, where we’ve colluded with each other to both sign similar contracts to hide and now they’re annoyed to see there is another way, an ouch for me as my hiding has enabled another to do the same. So we actually contribute to the rot we see in the world by hiding from it – nothing changes until we’re all us, truly.

  24. I have been “doing” for so long, that when i hear that all i need to do is “be” me, i ask, well what do i need to “do”? i have found that being around children is a good way to remember what it is like to just be. I have to remember that i do not have give them anything just allow them to be themselves. Thank you Serge Benhayon for supporting me in being myself.

  25. Another awesome blog form you Joel, I feel I could read this everyday! I SO resonate with every word here. Beautifully put and offers an understanding to stay present and aware in every moment of the contracts and clauses we are disentangling ourselves from and why we need to keep focused on the quality we are being by being in our Livingness, choosing to be visible to the world and no longer hiding. Thank you.

  26. Top blog Joel, I think we signed the same contract. And like you, I still find the occasional clause that puts its head above the parapet but because I started to crawl my way out of ‘my contract’ and started to be the ‘real me’, when these clauses show themselves they don’t have the same power over me and I can deal with them so much easier.

  27. Another really amazing blog from you Joel and I love the bit about you saying you moved your focus from what you are doing in each moment to how you are. That is huge in itself and confirms to me that the doing is not it but the quality of your being is. Being the real you is what really matters. The Way of the Livingness for me is now a true way to live everyday and I live a self connecting life to the best of my ability and what I mean by that is I make choices everyday to stay true to myself and not harm myself or accept harm which may come to me from others. Learning to say No to anything that does not feel true for me has been huge. The main thing is I do not do ‘nice and polite’ instead I do real and more and more people have said to me its like ‘fresh air’ being around me as I just say it as it is and don’t hold back what I feel. My body feels free and spacious inside and I no longer feel empty or needy.

    1. As Bina says she does not do “nice and polite”, she does real and honest. I know from experience that this comes from her love for herself and for humanity and so is delivered with love which makes it possible to hear and consider what she has to say even when it is not what I want to hear; not the “nice keep you feeling OK thing”.

      I learn SO much in light of this honesty and I am less and less comfortable with the surface niceness all the time as it is not showing what is underneath, be it from me or another person.

  28. Thank you Joel for expressing so beautifully the contract that I have been signed up to for most of my life. I love your last sentence which explains why this is still an ongoing process of unravelling for me ‘I am still finding ‘clauses’ in the contract that I didn’t realise I had signed up for, but regardless of this fact, the ‘Way of the Livingness’ is a new deal I am making with myself.’

  29. Thank you Joel for sharing so beautifully and simply your new way “The way of The Livingness” very inspiring.

  30. Hi Joel, I really love your article and can relate to what you have said because for much of my life I have been trying to figure out the rules of how to live, to blend in, to be accepted. But I always seemed to be one step behind, never quite getting it right. I realise now that none of that was me just being myself, so of course it was never going to work or feel true.

  31. So true Joel, the deals we make to hide away and not be all that we are, are fraught with clauses that can set us up to bring nothing but harm to ourselves and others, yet have us ‘thinking’ we are doing good.

  32. Great article Joel thank you. I can relate to this – being nice, not wanting to be seen, trying to fit in and more… and too have now chosen The Way Of The Livingness and like Jane it has had a profound effect on my life.

  33. Awesome Joel, I love how you spoke about what energy you are in when you choose to do loving things for yourself. I have recently discovered that you can ‘perform’ loving tasks from emptiness, and not truly in an energy that is you simply confirming you – the real you. This was a beautiful way of putting it – thank you!

  34. As always, Joel, true joy in reading your reflections on The Livingness. Thank you and please keep writing. You express it so beautifully that it helps the rest of us focus on what we know but haven’t given words to.

  35. I also signed a similar contract – it is amazing the roles we sign up for even though as a child we clearly state “when I grow up I am not going to be like that”. Thanks Joel.

  36. Great blog Joel, thank you. So much of what you express resonates with me – being nice, hiding, ‘playing the game’, not wanting to rock the boat. I too chose the Way of the Livingness and it has had a profound effect on my life.

  37. This is a really insight-full article – “It has been huge for me to realise I made a contract with the world many, many years ago: the contract was that if I act in a certain way, the world would leave me alone”. That realisation was and is huge for me also – to realise how much I want to ‘fit in’, when to fit in is to bend myself completely out of shape to suit others, to be accepted, to not make a fuss, to stay under the radar. But there’s something worse here – it’s also – in doing so I keep everyone else bent out of shape and squashed in a box just like me!

    I know I have invested in doing that big time. ‘If I’m not being the awesome me that I am, then every one has to stay bent out of shape along with me, so I can be ‘comfortable’ in my misery’. But… when one person refuses to stay that way I can see them shine: if people see the shiny-bright-ness, they know they can shine too. It could be a shiny-bright epidemic or even a pandemic !!!! Bring it on… Ariana Ray, Wales UK

  38. Hi Joel – Yep, I can feel I had made a contract long ago to only give so much, to blend in, to not make waves, to hide. How crazy is that when it is so much easier to just be all of me without a measuring cup in one hand deciding how much to give. Thank you Joel for putting into words what I have been realising about myself.

  39. This is a brilliant and incredibly clear exposé of that contract we have all made to ‘contract’. In your use of words such as ‘deal’ it so well highlights the sinister nature of the grip of the force to not be the truth we already know we are. The words ‘contract’ and ‘deal’ also highlight the simple fact of freewill. Do we allow what we really feel (‘I’m not that into sports’) or do we make the deal with Mr Nice Guy – a choice I am constantly faced with.

    This amazing piece of writing feels like a ‘brother’ piece to Rebekah’s also amazing blog yesterday. Thank you!

  40. Joel, thank you for an awesome blog. You stopped me with your line ‘At times I don’t want to feel all the joy that is there to feel because it reminds me of the time I have wasted’. I have just realised how true that is and how I’ve been operating with that recently. I’ve changed massively in the last number of years becoming more me in the process, and as I do, I increasingly feel the joy that is just innately there in me. Reading your line reminded me to allow myself to feel it fully now no matter what has gone before. So it’s like you talk about contracts with the world – I’ve just unpicked a little more of me. Great.

  41. Great point made Joel about making a shift from what you do in your life to how you are being in your life. How we are being with ourselves and others allows us to slow down and look at what is going on and why, rather than continuously pushing to do things regardless of where we are at.

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