FOR You. Not TO You. - Christine Kane

This year, I set some huge intentions. Big big stuff.

And, of course, when we plant new seeds in the form of bigger more expansive dreams for ourselves – the first thing that comes up is not the beautiful tender green sprout.

The first thing that comes up?

The dirt.

I’ve learned over and over again that when dirt happens, it is up to us to go within and clear it away.

From old mindsets and habits to old papers in our file cabinets.

From clothing we never wore and spent all year feeling guilty for buying it – to people and relationships that drain our energy.

Never mind how many times you’ve done this. If you’re living an expansive life, you will continue to do it. You will let go, weed out, and keep expanding.

Yesterday I was in the LA airport talking on my iPhone with my best friend Joy. I was sharing a breakthrough I had this week. It’s like a small bit of the green sprout had decided to poke its way through the dirt. And all I have to do is clear the last bit of dirt away and grow.

And I told Joy that even though I’ve done this a million times, I was still uncertain in the tenderness. A tiny part of me questions the wisdom of leaving the cold comforting darkness of the soil. (Hey, I can take a good nap under here!)

As I boarded my plane, Joy said something to me I want to share with you, just in case you might need the words of a very wise woman to speak to you today:

She said: “Remember this. It’s not happening TO you. It’s happening FOR you.”
So… what is it that is happening FOR you right now?

  • Hannah Marcotti

    I keep checking your events page…you are on my vision board so I’m waiting! Any ideas of when you may be speaking?

  • Sandy Renshaw

    Wonderful post! Just what I wanted to read today. It has been a breakthrough day for me – maybe I pushed through the dirt. Finding your blog reminds me that I can choose to read posts from positive places every day! What a concept. Thank you for sharing that bit of wisdom.

  • Kim Leatherdale

    I truly love the image of the sprout and the metaphor that what comes up first is the dirt! I will steal it to use in my practice with couples (and sneak in your name each time I do.) I think we all forget that it is the dirt that also nurtures us, even if it is uncomfortable to push through at first.
    Thank you for a great post.

  • Christine Sutton

    Very timely message. After setting some big intentions for myself, I’ve also found myself in the dirt lately. In the midst of the turmoil and major change, I’ve been reminding myself that all of this is happening BECAUSE of the intentions I have set. That helps me to reframe the situation. Things are shifting because I have asked for it, and as scary as it seems, it is also exhilarating. I now have the language to understand why it’s exhilarating . . . because in my core, I know that it’s happening FOR me.

    Thank you Christine & Joy!

  • Becky Hunter

    Update: essay going slow but well. Thanks for the inspiration, it really helped with a real problem. x

  • elaine

    VERY wise words from Joy – awesome! Very timely for me in my world too – thank you for sharing this.

  • Becky Hunter

    Thanks for this Christine. I’m having another essay struggle… but what a great way to think about the panic and resistance I put up to writing an essay. It’s the dirt coming up, of my fears and perfectionism and worries about what people will think of me if every sentence ain’t perfect, and actually that dirt is there for me to get through – for Becky to gain confidence and for the essay’s little green shoot of insight to peek out through the slightly messy structuring. Thanks thanks thanks!!

    ps – I don’t know who here’s interested in art exhibitions but I wrote an art review lately that I REALLY had to push through the dirt for, and I’d love for you guys to read it.

  • Biz

    WOW, once again you nailed it. Or should I say JOY nailed it. But you had the presence of mind to share it with your readers. Thank you for that. Yesterday, after a 3 week bought of dealing with an medical issue I couldn’t put my finger on, I was basically showed scientifically, that it was basically all in my head. After all the emotions one could round up in one evening, I woke up this morning saying to myself, it is what it is, so let me figure out why am I having to deal with this right now? I was blessed to have not one, not two, but three different things that happened FOR ME today that gave me my answer. WOW – the universe has been kind to me today. And then, at the end of my day today, I come here to read this.

    Can I just say again. WOW.

  • Susan Ely

    coincidence? I had a dream last week that I was in a field where there was supposed to be buried treasure. A voice told me….”just clear away the dirt – it’s there waiting for you.” Love your analogy as my word of the year is “flourish.” It keeps showing up.

  • Peggy

    I’m leaving a marriage (i.e. divorce will be final next week) so that I can be loved and cherished by a man – that I don’t know yet but that I know is out there. I want to be LOVED down to my bones – the way that I love. I will be open to it (in time) and I will make way for it now by grieving my hopes for my marriage. I’m going to trust in it.

  • Glad Doggett

    Always, you say what I need to hear.


  • Lorie

    Lots is happening FOR me right now! The opportunity to organize a fund raiser for a local foods group- never done anything like it before. so terrified and so excited to jump in it! The dirt to push away is I am soooo shy to speak to people I don’t know.

    Getting ready for a big horse trip! The dirt? Fear, of course. that I may be injured, I may be cold. Pushing it away to get to my green sprout! the sense of joy and accomplishment that comes from riding my horse in new territory.

    Oh Yeah!! it’s spring! if you see ferocious flinging of dirt over here, it’s me! opening the way for my sprouts.

    Thanks Christine- YOU ROCK!

  • Kathy Troidle Jackson

    The quote just turns it all around, doesn’t it? It gives me the tingles. What a wonderful way to think about everything. It is all happening FOR us, not TO us but so many have such a hard time seeing that. Thanks again for giving us another tool to all of us to use as we keep things in perspective and reach for those intentions.

  • LA

    so everything I’m going through with my husband (“will he stay or will he go, now?”) is the big pile of dirt I’m pushing up to sprout a better life? My clearest intention these days is just to make peace with him. Not get back together, not separate, just come to some peaceful place with each other. So I’m setting aside what he’s done to me (which is a lot of a particular kind of dirt!) and concentrating on what’s being done for me.

  • Sue

    Love that!!!

    Good lesson for me today! 🙂

  • Meg

    I’m so grateful for Joy’s wisdom — literally and figuratively! Thanks for sharing!

  • MAX

    my best friend sophi says
    the desire for freeze dried
    chicken treats is happening
    FOR her. she wants to know
    if there’s anything she should do
    about it.

  • Laura Mixon, PhD

    The most remarkable thing about your friend, Joy, is that she has this name that seems to personify her. How did her parents know? As so many of your commenters have noted, it’s so much about awareness. And as YOU TAUGHT ME…..keep looking for the not-so-obvious stuff that IS working so beautifully. Just yesterday I found 3 whole DOLLARS in the parking lot. 😉 Happy Day!

  • Lu

    Things are being worked out for my good and I am being encouraged to not worry and to wait on God. I have been experiencing two major stressors in my life for the past nine or so months. And, I can tell you I am in a state of tenderness and sensitivity I can not recall experiencing before. It is trust. When you blindly trust what you can not see and know in your heart that all will work out for your good, there is a sense of comfort you can only experience when you truly surrender. That is what is happening for me.

  • Alexis Martin Neely

    Yes! It’s this awareness that has gotten me through the rough spots, of which there have been many along the road to freedom. Thanks for this.

  • Anna

    That Joy is one smart cookie 🙂 Love it!

  • Riz Sedek

    I read the sentence and I cried. I too have set some huge intentions earlier this year. Now four months into the year, the dirt has surely appeared, which set the pace for other changes in my life. And although I felt very sad and uncomfortable, on the other hand I also felt that it was happening for a reason, and that reason was my intention. So when you said, “It’s not happening TO you. It’s happening FOR you,” I thought, Yes.. All this that’s happening is a gift FOR me to steer me on the path of my intentions.

  • Martina

    If you insist to be a “sentimental Person”, so be it and get more miserabel every day.
    Or do you want to truly nurture yourself, than close the doors for him in every way, than feel the grief, shed tears and howl and scream, do whatever it takes, take your time – and than rise again.
    (been there. omg what a waste of precious life time).
    I send you love and hugs.

  • Tracy Stewart

    Just Perfect. Thanks.

  • Mindful Mimi

    This sooo speaks to me. It’s all in the ‘what we do with it’ and how we think about what is going on. A mindset. I do remember the dirt part very well from your Uplevel program and that metaphor gave me an A-ha moment.
    I have a lot happening at the moment. I am growing sprouts all over the place and a lot of dirt comes up. And sometimes I just brush it away and sometimes I can’t… because I slept badly the night before, because something else got me off balance. I try to take a step back, let it linger for a while, look at it from a little distance. And then come back to it, blow on it, and move on. It does take conscious action. And it is indeed an action you must do and redo again and again because no situation is the same. And sometimes the dirt sounds true, it makes you unsure, afraid. You start to doubt. But then I think about the dirt as a blanket over my comfort zone and how I need to get out of it from time to time in order not to lack air and light.
    So here I am,word of the year CREATE and SOAR and I am creating and starting to sprout wings.
    Thanks for this gentle reminder. It’s all happening FOR me 🙂

  • Leonie

    Well, I kind of got shoved aside for another girl two days ago, so I’m really feeling the dirt right now. It was early days still, but I had every reason to believe he and I were on, and then he… casually texted me in reply to an invitation to go somewhere saying that he’d like to, but it would be tempting and he was seeing someone now so that made it difficult, but he’d like to, sometime.

    Funnily enough, I was under the impression he was seeing me.

    I’m trying really hard not to let this get to me, and to trust that this budding relationship wasn’t in my best interest. Part of me finds it so ridiculous that it’s amusing. I’m struggling though, because I do feel misled and disappointed and sad. Of course there’s the whole “let’s be friends” thing, and I don’t know what to do. I know it’s not wise to be his friend right now, that he hardly deserves even more understanding, that I have given enough and need to nurture myself (that was my word for 2010, after all). But I will miss him, and I’m a sentimental person.

    If anyone wants to throw some wisdom my way, I’d be happy to hear it! 🙂

    Dirt, dirt, dirt. I need to go looking for a sprout, I think.

    Good luck with your green sprout!

  • Martina

    This morning some ugly stuff came up and I just wanted to drown myself in self-pity (again).
    After reading this I know doing better (again) and I will see what´s in there FOR me.
    I wish you a great day,

  • Tina Brown

    What a great quote. It does make you stop and think. For me? FOR me? I can’t answer that question yet and I guess that’s what’s brought me to your website. A friend sent me a link to your website and one of your retreats a couple years ago (I never went, haven’t been able to afford it YET), but it’s something that I’ve thought about for these past couple years. I was instant messaging with a friend, a friend since 3rd grade. Both of us single moms, working full time, more than full time, always frustrated that we aren’t living up to our potential, or to our happiness potential. We both messaged eachother simultaneously that we needed to do something about our lives, we needed a kick in the pants, and then at the very same time we said, “Hey! What about that singer with that workshop, in the woods I think, somewhere maybe back East”. It was sort of spooky. We were in shock that we had both thought the same thing after 2 years of me telling her about you. So, here I am on your website wondering…… and trying to take the next step, or the first step I guess towards the “real me”. I know I’m in there, just need to find her, again. So, I don’t think I can answer that question, “what is happening for me”, except maybe to say, for me, my stagnant life is ready to come alive! Ready to find my moxie and do something! Thank you for your inspiration!

  • Katie

    I love this. When I think of it in those terms, FOR me, it makes it feel like a gift. And that’s exactly what it is. Our lives are gifts from God, and that creates such a happy, grateful warmth in my heart! (mushy gushy as that sounds, LOL) This is important to think about, how much God gives us and that we have to embrace it and have faith to make it work for us.

    Thank you for sharing this. And may all the creativity and success come to you for this next step you’re taking in life. ^_^ I appreciate your little insights and experiences that you share with us. It’s helped me so much.