Just for a moment…
Take a deep breath.
Let’s suspend reality for a moment to get in touch with a very important vision.
Your vision… for your life.
Let’s pretend that suddenly your life circumstances have changed.
You inherited a home, from a distant relative. The home is far away from where you live now. Your distant relative left you with one wish. They write in a letter they’ve left for you, that their only regret in life was not realizing the beauty of life, right when they were in the middle of it – when life was most full – because they always felt “too busy”.
Their one wish for you is that you focus on what truly makes you happy, so you can enjoy your life fully, right now. In a swoop of trust and belief and faith, you’ve decided to sell most of your possessions and go live in this new home, and reinvent your life in this new place..
Picture what this home would look like, any way you’d like to imagine. Where is it located?
Now, in this new home, in this new place, you have the opportunity to reinvent your life. You are freed from the burden of a mortgage, so you have a bit of flexibility with your work – but you do still need to work to pay regular bills.
What kind of work might you pursue? What hours would you like to work – from home? From in-town? Outdoors in an office? Would you like to work for yourself, with a team, or for a corporation?
Your kids will be going to a new school, or if you have them in childcare, you might make new childcare arrangements. What would be ideal?
What would you like to stop doing, that’s not working so well right now?
What would you like to start doing – a long lost passion, a creative project, a way of being?
What else might be part of this new life?
Feel free to think about this scenario as long as you like. You might even like to pull out your journal and write about it a bit. (Or, join the next round of the P&P Journaling Challenge).
What stands out about your reflections?
You’ve just created this story of an alternative life. Imagined a way of being that is different – perhaps only slightly, or perhaps in major ways, from now.
You are probably thinking, if you’ve gotten this far, that all this “dreaming” is fine and dandy. But what’s the point, this has nothing to do with my life now.
The first step to living an intentional life, is knowing where you’re going.
Most people don’t allow themselves to dream and create these visions for themselves. They are too busy. Too tied down, with the day to day.
This vision has everything to do with you. And today.
I challenge you, to see how you can bring as much of today’s reflection into your own life. This doesn’t mean to change everything. But observe – what was it about that scenario that pulls at you? Do you want to be outdoors more? Spend more time in a quiet space to reflect? What kinds of things really are possible within the context of what is, that you can move towards? Don’t dismiss the vision for its “bigness” and thikn you can’t have it. Think about what you can have.
Perhaps you are feeling a bit of resistance… this is normal. Our brains have been trained to be practical and shut out those whispers in our heart as “impractical.”
“What? There’s no way. I do have a big mortgage. I have lots of commitments. I am so busy,” your mind might be saying.
I often wonder, this important question:
“For what is it all for?”
When do you feel those tugs at your heart the most? Is it when you are paying the mortgage. Doing errands? Or when you watch that pull-at-your-heart movie, look back at old photos from your childhood or from when your kids were first born, or sitting at a loved ones’ bedside in their time of need?
You are keeping up with so much, but what is it really for? What are you gaining from it all?
If there’s any inkling in your heart, that there might be more. That you may be missing out, on the thing that so many older, wiser people, tell us, to enjoy your kids while they are young, to enjoy what you have, then perhaps something is inside tugging at you. Asking you to pay more attention to what’s inside your heart.
Your dreamer self might be fully ignited now. But you may be struggling, with the negative voices in your mind – if I see a picture of who I want to be, how do I then meld that with my reality? How do I turn my dreams and passions into something tangible that allows me to change anything about my seemingly unyielding life?
Your mind might be full of obstacles, such as:
- Sure that’s possible for others, but not for me
- I don’t have time
- I don’t have energy or inspiration
- I don’t have money
- I’m feeling stuck
So, you have a choice. Right here and now.
Who do you want to listen to? Your naysayer self? Or your dreamer self? Because you get to decide who rules your thoughts, heart, and reality.
And I can assure you, that no matter where you end up, it’s who you decide you want to listen to, and how you shape your life in reflection of those thoughts, that will truly determine your happiness.
You can be resigned to all that exists now, and follow the herd. Or you can create a life based on what makes your heart feel alive.
“He who has a strong enough why can bear almost any how.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
And wherever you are, six months from now, a year from now – wherever you are on your path, you will feel the benefit of living inline with your heart. Whether you’ve achieved a particular goal or not, I can tell you where you will be if you follow your heart: you will be in the middle of a great journey where you believe in YOU and have a commitment to your dreams.
Do something different today:
First, I encourage you to spend a good deal of time really getting in tune with your heart and your inner thoughts. The passion and purpose writing challenge is a great way to do just that. Each day, not only is there a new consideration to reflect upon, but reminders of how to create a routine, network and habits that will support you. We so often want to go straight to the solution and put a new system in place, but without your clear, strong and pure understanding of what’s in your heart, you often won’t have the drive and inspiration to stick with your new routines. A clear, strong, fundamental commitment to your why will keep you going when the going gets tough.
Second, it’s time to start freeing up your time and putting plans in place to get to where you want to be. A great way to start your planning place is melding your goals and vision with your calendar. I suggest you get a 2016 goal-setting and planner, a resource for creating real-life plans and sticking with them all year long.
Lastly, you’re going to need to start sharing your vision and surrounding yourself with people who support you. As Julia Cameron writes, in The Artist’s Way, surrounding yourself with the right people makes all the difference. This may mean bringing the people in our life into our vision, and getting their buy-in. Or it might mean spending less time with certain people, or more time with people who inspire and encourage us.
This is where I live my life – constantly in gratitude for what I have. And never ignoring those tugs from my heart, that consider how I can be my most passionate, alive and creative self.
It’s what took me on adventures like visiting Venice Beach, with my rollerblades and two kids on their scooters to explore the beachside communities. To travel all over Europe last year. To stay in, for winter vacation, and play board games with the family.
I don’t want to follow the herd, I want to follow my heart.
And I want you to follow your heart, fully, too.