Stop for a minute and look at the things in your life that are part of your daily routines. What's missing? What would make you feel better about yourself?
In order to start a journey you have to figure out where you are. I am a huge proponent of writing things down. We access a different part of our brain when we write out our thoughts and gain a new perspective of what is going on in our lives. It is also difficult to lie to myself when I know that I am the one that placed the thoughts on the page. In other words, writing grounds me in truth and discovering the truth gives me a solid map-point to journey from.
My clients often have various reasons why writing won't work for them...until they actually try it. Most of the tension in our lives comes from carrying thoughts about things that either haven't happened or can't be changed. I love seeing the physical change that happens in their bodies when they can release their thoughts on the page.
I got into the habit of writing in a journal when I got sober 29 years ago. My brain did not process truth easily...it had a default setting stuck on fantasy that was a defense mechanism that served me well...until it almost killed me. The truth of how I was living my life had become too painful to look at and I didn't have the tools to face it alone. Writing opened me up and gave me some momentum toward change. (Just a note here: embarking on a journey of self-discovery for some of us requires help from a counselor, coach, a trusted friend or spiritual fellowship in order to move away from the things that keep us stuck).
I use my journal with meditation and prayer in order to access a deeper knowledge and understanding of my relationship to the world. If I know that my future is in my own hands, it empowers me to look for ways to begin to change. Seeing the words and feelings on the page opens up possibilities and choices I didn't have when I am not willing to look. One starter I use when I know I want something different than what I currently have is
"I am curious to know what _______________ would feel like"
How willing are you to to plan your journey to Happiness?
Click on the green "comments" below and let me know what you find!
I struggle sometimes with the ability to focus on one thing and at the end of the day I look back and think "Where did the day go?" or "What happened to all the stuff I wanted to get done?". Goal setting in the past was just an exercise in self-sabotage and another way to prove to myself how little I was capable of doing. Then the excuses set in...after all, someone had to pay for the things I was missing out on. Right?
Oprah Winfrey quotes her beloved mentor Maya Angelou often...."When you know better, you do better". This powerful lesson continues to sustain me on a daily basis. Today I look for ways to feel better so that I CAN do better. Doing better often has to do with pleasing someone around me, or living up to the expectations of the Sherri I believe I am somehow supposed to be. Learning to identify the way I want to feel at the end of a day...just today...has given me the momentum I needed to begin to pull the pieces of my sometimes scattered life together and begun to sweep self-doubt out the back door.
Setting intentions may seem the same as setting goals to some folks. However, I choose to see intent as a divining rod. When I sit down with my journal and spend time deciding how I want to FEEL at the end of the day, it seems to point me in the direction of the things that will help me achieve that state. Writing down statements of desire such as: "I desire a feeling of accomplishment" or "I desire radiant health and well being" serve as a mile-marker on the journey to my goals. Somehow at the end of those days that I choose to make these declarations of desired feelings, the universe conspires to give me what I need to experience this way of being.
Yesterday I did an experiment. In my journal I spent time with my declarations of desired feelings - "peace in my spirit and acceptance of who I am and others as they are", "a clear, deep connection to the Divine so that Divine Light can flow through me to the world", "a feeling of accomplishment and creativity". At the end of my journal entry I made a list of things that I hoped to achieve for the week. I was amazed at the end of the day, in spite of a headache that gnawed at me, I was easily choosing to do many things I might normally put off. I also decided to track on my calendar what I did accomplish and although not much was on my original list, by the end of the day there were many things written down.
I know I discount the things that I do because hey...they just need to be done. Yet there is something about taking time to write down and look at what I do on a daily basis, that is amazingly empowering. Being grateful for the ability to do the things I do, allowing myself to celebrate those abilities, and placing my focus on my "wins" for the day is powerful stuff!
Today I want to show up with open arms and an open heart for myself, so that I am able to receive the gifts that the universe is holding in escrow for me.
And so it is.
How do you show up in the world as you open your eyes after an evening slumber? What do you say to yourself when you begin a new day?
Being aware of my first thoughts in the morning was definitely a "wake up call". I realized that how I viewed the world first thing in the morning was how I lived my life. Was I lamenting the day or celebrating another opportunity? What I focus on first thing in the morning is what sets the pace for my day.
It isn't easy to be grateful if there are bills to pay, a job you don't like to go to, sickness or a relationship that is not going well. It wasn't until last week that I really got how I can let the Internet and social media guide my feelings. After all, if the first thing I see in the morning is a political rant or something tragic, I have allowed some-one or some-thing to control how I feel for the day. Every day I have a choice to be a victim or a volunteer for life. The foundation I build for my day on is up to me.
So what to do instead? I learned to send a big THANK YOU to the universe the moment I wake up. A thank you for giving me another shot at life. For the ability to SEE when my eyes open. For the ability to walk across the room to the bathroom unaided. For the scent of my shampoo, for the sound of the birds...the way the light plays through the blinds on the wall. Centering myself in the every day things transforms them from the mundane to the magnificent. Finding magic by being curious about my surroundings raises my energy to a level that helps me look for other things to enjoy and embrace. What changes for me is the way I FEEL about my environment and my brain shifts to a new way of looking at life.
How will you wake up today?
I love who I am today. That wasn't always so. I have an inherent need to punish myself (eat crap, stay up too late, not take care of my body) and at times it helps me make sense out of what I am feeling. It is like pinching myself to see if I am really awake. Contrast gives me choices, and being aware of what shifts in me while encountering different experiences and people helps me decide what I enjoy. I have a history of what I used to consider tragedy and trauma that has been woven into the fabric of the joy I experience today. I don't focus on it any more and it no longer keeps me trapped in fear. I can easily parade it out if it will help someone else relate to and trust me. It serves as common ground with some of the people I encounter in my coaching and mentoring. What used to be my own addiction, rape, and sexual abuse stories have been transformed into recovery, forgiveness and true self-love. This transformation has empowered me with a capacity for empathy and love for others I never thought possible.
The journey is different for all of us, but ultimately it is about how much courage we can find and if we really want to experience the things of our soul. Bravery comes from walking through the fire and coming out with the desire to continue to thrive...despite our singed hearts. When we decide that our lives are our own to live, then and only then do we begin the process of change. Then we can step into the world asking, "what can I do to improve my life and the way I feel about myself today"?
The following poem by Oriah Mountain Dreamer is a testament to listening for your purpose....
I have heard it all my life,
A voice calling a name I recognized as my own.
Sometimes it comes as a soft-bellied whisper.
Sometimes it holds an edge of urgency.
But always it says: Wake up my love. You are walking asleep.
There's no safety in that!
Remember what you are and let this knowing
take you home to the Beloved with every breath.
Hold tenderly who you are and let a deeper knowing
colour the shape of your humanness.
There is no where to go. What you are looking for is right here.
Open the fist clenched in wanting and see what you already hold in your hand.
There is no waiting for something to happen,
no point in the future to get to.
All you have ever longed for is here in this moment, right now.
You are wearing yourself out with all this searching.
Come home and rest.
How much longer can you live like this?
Your hungry spirit is gaunt, your heart stumbles. All this trying.
Give it up!
Let yourself be one of the God-mad,
faithful only to the Beauty you are.
Let the Lover pull you to your feet and hold you close,
dancing even when fear urges you to sit this one out.
Remember- there is one word you are here to say with your whole being.
When it finds you, give your life to it. Don't be tight-lipped and stingy.
Spend yourself completely on the saying.
Be one word in this great love poem we are writing together.
© Oriah Mountain Dreamer,
from the book The Call,
HarperONE, San Francisco 2003
So how do you want to BE today?
Every blog I share comes from the heart and has a challenge or a question within it to help others explore new ways of thinking. I hope that as you read the blogs you would consider starting conversation by commenting. We can learn so much together!