by Raegan Cairney, Clayfield, Australia
Throughout my life I tended to always focus on the ‘dangling carrots’ ahead – you know, the goals you set for yourself that you never quite reach, no matter how much you try. I would either change the goals before I reached them or set unrealistic goals in the first place, always ensuring that I didn’t reach them. Or if by chance I did, I would never let myself enjoy it, because I’d have set another one that was bigger and grander than before. They almost always had the undertone that if I reached my goals, my life was in some way going to be ‘better’ and make me ‘happy’.
These dangling carrots came in many shapes and sizes. Some examples sounded like these:
- When I lose five kilos, I am going to feel better about myself.
- If I just go on that holiday, I will feel more relaxed and life will get back to normal.
- I will be happy when I have a man in my life.
- If I clean the house every day, it’s going to make me feel better.
- If I just have a few drinks, I am going to enjoy myself so much more.
- I am going to exercise five times a week.
- I will start to enjoy myself at work when I know more.
- If I just finish this course, I will feel like I am good enough because I have more knowledge.
And the list would go on and on…
Dangling carrots, these unreachable goals, were how I drove my life, always keeping me on a treadmill – one that never seemed to stop and certainly didn’t slow down. In fact, it actually would speed up. The more anxious I became about achieving things, the faster the treadmill would go… so I would then have to go faster to keep up.
As a result, I was living very much from my head and I wasn’t very conscious of my body. If I felt to do or say something – as in, felt it in my body as a kind of ‘knowing’ rather than just an idea – I would override it, instead opting for what my head told me. Living like this meant I wasn’t able to really connect with myself, let alone others around me.
So, to ignore the fact that I was overriding what I really knew was true, I went along to meditation groups, read every spiritual book around (or attempted to), and I was very rarely seen sitting down. I exercised myself silly at the gym and of course drank myself stupid every weekend, really to drown out the voices that were always in my head.
Over the years I did start to curb the drinking, but when I did, what lay underneath were those horrible voices. Comparison, judgment, self-doubt, self-hatred… it was like these voices had been kept quiet against their will and they were not happy. They were back – and they were LOUD.
These voices just perpetuated the dangling carrots cycle even more. Driving myself, driving my body. The urge to silence them again with alcohol was so great!! But, there was a part of me that knew if I did, they would just continue to get louder and louder. Plus, my body was showing the signs of pure neglect: digestion issues, high anxiety, glandular fever – my body was just exhausted. So I was forever looking for solutions to ‘fix’ myself – naturopaths, homeopaths, acupuncturists, chiropractors, psychics: you name it, I went to it, always looking for someone to give me answers.
Then three years ago, I was drawn to books written by Serge Benhayon, founder of Universal Medicine. Reading his books and attending presentations and workshops was the real beginning of turning my life around and allowing true self-healing to occur.
What was presented was not radical or over-the-top, in fact a lot of it was very practical: real-life tools I could apply that assisted me to get off the treadmill – like being more aware of when I needed to go to bed, feeling into what and how I was eating, being more gentle and loving with myself, which in turn created the space for me to be more gentle and loving with those around me. I simplified my life, simplified how I dealt with things. I learned how to ‘stop’ and ‘feel’, something that I had totally shut down the ability to do from when I was a little girl.
It has taken time, and effort, over these past few years. It has taken honesty and the ability to take responsibility for myself and my own healing, which does not happen overnight. But what I can say is the loud voices have gone, only returning when I know I am not connected to the heart of me… even then they are but a mere whisper. My health is amazing and I have wonderful, ‘true’ relationships with family and friends.
I don’t live my life by looking at the dangling carrots anymore. I have actually learnt to stop, feel, and express in a loving and joyful way. I do this by connecting with me first, listening to me first, and expressing from there. I have found a voice, a voice that is so loving and gentle, yet strong and empowered.
Yes, the voice I now listen to is ME!!
289 thoughts on “The Dangling Carrots”
Raegan, here’s another “dangling carrot” for me, “I will start to enjoy myself at work when I know more”. Boy does that play out constantly when working in systems, a constant set up to make you feel this way. Or when someone knows more/better, they are placed on a pedestal and there’s this force/energy that plays out in bettering people. Whilst people are the ones in supporting that system or their goals, it’s how it is done that matters.
I observe constantly the abuse in systems at the same time the accolades that run besides each other. So when this “dangling carrot” is offered, people seldom run towards them as they can see they aren’t meaningful.
When we know the truth behind these things, we receive life very much differently.
I can recall growing up on making unachievable goals and never getting there and to this day, people are still encouraged to write goals that are acronym’d as being smart, achievable, realistic and what ever words that are fancy and attractive. Achieving goals seems like hard work.
What if we could live our lives not knowing what the next brings? What if we could live our lives and we are equipped with the next, it is unfathomable or hard to comprehend.
This is how life can be lived if we are willing to go there, by removing the tick list, the goals, just live by how the body signals to us and feeling what is required next. Wouldn’t life be simpler then?
We are bought up to reach goals or milestones. As a baby grows, it has milestones to reach, and when it doesn’t, it’s referred to specialists because there’s something wrong with it. What if we allowed a baby to reach its own milestones instead of a system’s and with the right loving support, it will do what it needs to do.
There’s more to life we need to learn about and it’s certainly not found in goals…
Lovely to hear where you are whilst writing this blog, ‘I have actually learnt to stop, feel, and express in a loving and joyful way. I do this by connecting with me first, listening to me first, and expressing from there. I have found a voice, a voice that is so loving and gentle, yet strong and empowered.’
I can so relate to the carrots and also how when I stop, connect and feel my way through life the carrots aren’t as tempting because the clarity that comes with feeling my way through life already brings me assurance. I don’t have to reach an endpoint to feel content, I can feel that on the way.
Motivation and drive is celebrated in our current society and world – achieving goals and setting new ones constantly is the game that keeps us super busy. But this is not the same as having a purpose – a purpose that the activity that you do naturally carries with it, regardless of the outcome. Motivation and purpose are two completely different things where the former relies upon goals and external pushes and drives and the latter comes from within and has no drive and no push but simply a backing and a knowing that there is a deeper purpose and outplay to all that unfolds. How magical is this difference?
I feel tired, complicated and selfish when I read the words ‘motivated’ and ‘drive’. Now ‘purpose’ has a different feel to it. It’s not about you or me, it’s about everyone and everybody, now that feels settling.
The dangling carrot, or the goals that we constantly put upon ourselves is a common theme that I feel most of us can relate to. It is the list of do’s and don’ts as well as the things we are distracted to chase so as not to feel what is happening in the moment. Learning to ignore the carrots and letting go of the self impositions as well as societal impositions is a process but well worth going through, for as Raegan has shared, there is much to uncover underneath that drive to strive that is part of this voice calling out for us to listen and heed.
Learning to listen to that inner voice is not selfish, but rather self-full and cares for self and others equally so.
We pursue all these things outside to try and fix ourselves, ‘I was forever looking for solutions to ‘fix’ myself – naturopaths, homeopaths, acupuncturists, chiropractors, psychics: you name it, I went to it, always looking for someone to give me answers.’ None of these solutions work, they are just like a band aid.
Receiving a bucket list or a wish list can never be in our true interest as when we re-connect to our essences we have so much and more of anything that could come from a projected list.
And the message we get from the world is that having carrots dangling is about having a purpose, being ambitious and something to aspire to, and it is rather deeply ingrained in us, I find. The carrots these days can come in completely different shapes and colours.
When we first start to stop, like in any detox, the things that present themselves and how we feel in our body can be quite uncomfortable, the important part is to not despise it nor not wanting to feel it but to observe and allow ourselves to feel what is there and particularly the underlying truth that we know. Our body will do the rest for us.
Esther I love how you have compared this to a detox – this is so true because when we first stop drinking or smoking for example, we can often feel worse afterwards because all the underlying toxins are finally allowed to come out and be released. So it is too with cutting out or back on the goals and drive, as it then exposes the unrest that lies within – and so it is easy to fall back to old habits to not have to feel what we have felt.
Reading through your blog again today I can feel more clearly the difference between the ongoing chase of the dangling carrots (which is so often promoted by that terrible self degrading thinking), and the purpose of each day just being about self love and self care. It’s such a different approach. The first degrades our self worth further, and the second self loving approach builds our self worth.
I find with the dangling carrots that when you do reach them there is no feeling of completion. You are instantly back chasing a carrot again. Perhaps this is why we put off or set unachievable goals so we don’t expose for ourselves that the carrots we chase are not the answers in life.
Spot on Fiona, there is never a point of completion – the goal posts keep moving all the time and there is never a point of rest. This is exactly set up so that we do not stop and rest. For if we were to stop and rest this is when we would feel how the body felt and we would then have the choice to make a change.
Yes Fiona L, its a bit like a hamster on a wheel going round and round…
Accepting where we are and appreciating what we have has a settling effect on our bodies and is felt by everyone we meet.
So True Kehinde, our appreciation of what their is on offer when we see the connection of another and all they bring has a ripple effect on everyone.
Oh, how many must do’s and should do’s are part of our everyday language? It is only when you bring a focus to hearing them that you get a glimpse of dangling carrots being our normal.
We keep pursuing what we think we need next but are being blind to what we have and most importantly what we bring in any move that we do simply by being who we are.
When you link an outcome from an action without reading your current movements (those that will bring you there), hence assessing whether they will deliver what you expect, most likely you will not get what you expect to. A future outcome must be linked to your current pattern of movement.
To live deeply connected to our bodies, to listen to and honour what they present to us, that is living wisdom and is life changing, for without that connection how can we be who we are in the world.
true yet if we don’t have a concept of who we are any more because we have lived the need and the dangling carrots for so long, we don’t actually clock we are not ourselves. That is where the reflection from others, wherever it comes from, is a gentle call home.
Absolutely Lucy once re-connected as our reflection is our greatest from of communication and thus allowing us to see straight through any put-on job to sway us away from that deep connection to our essences.
When I realised I could go at my own rhythm in life rather than dance to the worlds tune it was a big life changing moment too.
Yes and that one is felt in all of your movements thereafter.
Yes Andrew, and there’s a deeply felt self honouring that comes with this. To be in the world and not of the world certainly changes our quality of life.
I like the picture of the dangling carrot, it shows how much we go by ‘what is next’ in the sense of ‘what is my next goal’, thus always pursuing something to feel complete but never feeling settled within ourselves.
Chasing after achievements and focusing on something outside of ourselves perpetuates the cycle of living disconnected to ourselves, and being unaware of the beauty within.
Those voices I realised loved nothing about me, they were like my biggest enemy and were the least supportive thing in my life. I could very much relate to this, “Living like this meant I wasn’t able to really connect with myself, let alone others around me.”, living in drive, comparison, self-abuse and self-hatred already seperates us from our essence so connecting with others truly was near impossible. This is an awesome practical blog that clearly shows we can choose anytime to re-connect and stop the merry-go-round.
Revisiting this today I can remember all the ‘I just have to’ the ‘I just need to’ and the ‘I have just got to’ conversations I have had with myself for how I am going to stop feeling anxious. I don’t do it so much any more because my body loves me so much it will not tolerate it but, goodness me, the memory is still raw and the potential to slip back still there.
It’s a bit scary how those nagging voices in our head drive us on and on, must do this, got to do that before we tell ourselves that we can settle. The particular bit it draws my attention to is that the voice never lets you get there.. always something else to do on top of that, and so we can never actually settle. However the absolute opposite is the true way – to settle first and then step into the doing. It changes everything both how it feels and the quality it’s done in.
You have reminded me to not fight the settlement, because if I do I have not completely clocked the deep layer of drive that has become normal. If I embrace the settle first then everything I commit to from that place will have a deeper quality.
Whenever I catch myself leaping forward in time or to the destination on long car journeys, I bring myself back to the present and me. Telling my self ‘I’m here, not there yet ” keeps me present in the here and now and quietens anxiety.
The allure of the dangling carrot is not so tempting once you have had a taste of living from the essence within you.
Elizabeth, that is quite an art and very well done!
Carrots are great when we want to keep busy or when we want to induce a particular emotion in us and, above all, they give us identification, but they are so much less than love or truth.
I have had the same realisation that when the negative thoughts come back it’s simply because I’ve disconnected from the essence of me in my inner heart. Living with those negative voices is truly awful, so self destructive, whereas the connection to my soul through my inner heart offers a beautiful stillness and joy, and a feeling of being held in my own love.
Those voices in our head can make us do all sorts of things at the expense of our bodies… The voice in my head was always telling me I was not good enough, which meant I was always searching out there in the new agey stuff for courses that would improve my life -which never happened. When I met Serge Benhayon, I stopped the searching, as I felt everything he presented I already knew but was just not living yet. With more awareness I made the shift from living out of my head to being in my body and listening to all it had to tell me. My life these days is very spacious and very simple, and I have so much more time to give to myself.
We really have to question why any organism would try to harm or destroy itself by its very own thinking – the only explanation I have ever come across that makes sense is the difference between spirit and soul, and what the source of the energy of each of these represents.
Yes, stopping and asking where those thoughts come from and considering the possibility there is something at play that we have not given enough credence to is worth putting on the table when so much else is failing to explain it.
One of the biggest ‘carrots’ I have used is the elusive completion of the to do list.. i.e. If I can just get everything done, then I’ll be able to relax and have enough space to do other things. It’s such an illusion that keeps us on the treadmill of relentless doing, and maintaining the momentum of over-activity followed by exhaustion, and then over-activity again to catch up. Breaking this cycle is possible when we’re prepared to get real and honest and listen to our bodies, and live according to what they tell us, feeling what’s needed in each moment instead of blindly and rigidly following our to do list.
Our ‘to do’ list varies and can be broken into tasks that are conscious and subconscious. We have the conscious ones that we write down but then there are the subconscious ones that we don’t always realise are there but cause constant tension as our body registers them. These ones are like, I must be married by this age, have children by then, have a successful career by this time, have explored the world by the time I die etc and etc. As you say honesty is key to drawing these out and letting them go.
Yes, those dangling carrots create a great deal of anxiety and nervous tension in our bodies which totally overrides whatever our body may be trying to reveal to us. However there are only so many dangling carrots our bodies will put up with before it shows us loud and clear that chasing them will no longer work!
This was gorgeous to read Raegan how you have let go of the dangling carrots and learned to listen to your own inner voice that has your best interests at heart. Listening to our body takes some time and practice but the more we do it, the better we feel and the easier life seems to flow. The carrots seem to fall away or become less important as we build practical self care and self love into the everyday foundation of our lives.
Carrots become less appetising when we are already satisfied with what we already have within us.
One of the most amazing things that Universal Medicine has shown me is that there is a big difference between the messages that come from my mind and the messages that come from my heart. They have a completely different intention and quality and very different outcome in terms of my health and wellbeing.
I was struck by the way you describe how noisy those voices are when you decide to not drown out or deaden the way you are feeling. I know them well, the disquiet, uncomfortable reflections of what is actually going on and the choice that is just there to just eat that food, or drink, or check out and anaesthatise the feeling away. However, when we stick with the feeling, it tells us the truth, it teaches us and guides us to a healing and a truth – and the other side…. more love, and a relationship with God!
Walking after dangling carrots is the best guarantee of living a life in outward mood and finding alibis permanently not to connect inwardly.