Changes

sloth dreaming his life away

The wishcasting Wednesday project had me thinking about how we shape our lives, because I can’t really decide whether I think all this dreamboard “Secret Law of Attraction” stuff is just another New Age brainfart or whether I sortof believe in it. I mean, it would be nice if you could just think and dream anything into your life, yes? Part of me just says “naaah – airy fairy bs”. I guess as on many other issues, I remain the agnostic, never a convert.

But as a person in my mid-forties still not quite knowing what I’ll be when I grow up, this has always been an important issue, do I have a calling or not *, why am I here, how do I get over there? We all want to feel useful, to contribute and be of service (well most of us) and have a bit of joy in the meantime. I realise that your calling isn’t necessarily your job (but even so, jobs don’t have to be absolutely dreary, do they?), not all of us need to be heroes either, but it would be nice to feel that you’re not just here passing time and water.

Another reason this subject is interesting to me is that ahead of me is having to completely reinvent my previous “career” (again) and I haven’t got a clue. I know what my dream job would be of course, but I’m not of the school that claims you can be ANYTHING. No, I could never have been a ballet dancer or a nuclear physicist, ok? I just don’t have it in me. (my luck is, I didn’t want to, but that wouldn’t have helped me) Unfortunately one part of my personality that I’ve not been able to retrain is that I become extremely grumpy in the long run if I’m not passionate about what I’m doing. Well, actually I see that as a good quality, but it makes life a bit more complicated in a world of many boring jobs.

ANYWAY, this post then popped up last week and confirmed what it was I was trying to think: How to Change Your Life: A User’s Guide : zenhabits.

I guess I do believe in making wish lists and dream boards and affirmations and all that sh*t. I’ve even seen the stuff happen. But I don’t think they work on their own, or, well, in a way they do, but not the way they’re usually presented.

Affirmations help reprogram your brain, your subconscious, your perception of life and more importantly, yourself. If you keep at it, you can dig new pathways instead of the old limiting beliefs you have. For me this is not happening just because I read something clever and decide, oh yeah, this is truth! Doesn’t make one bit of real change in me. I need it repeated over and over again until suddenly I realise something HAS been replaced, I have changed one of my thinking habits so that it now is the automatic one. Get out of the groove and into a new one.

Affirmations remind you to take action, they don’t work on their own by sending out holy vibrations into the Universe. (well, maybe I’m wrong and they actually do, but it doesn’t seem to be enough) Write it all down, but also take steps to get there, pick them up once in a while, brainstorm a bit. Add to your list not just each goal, but every method you can think of that would get you closer. Use them to stay focused. If you want 10.000 followers on your blog, you do have to spend a fair amount of time at your keyboard outputting stuff, not just writing the goal on a slip of paper and put it in a pink box with a coloured rock on top.

Also, like Leo says, small steps work for me. Teeny tiny steps in fact. Breaking down my goals into really small ones. Because it’s so much easier to get quick(ish) successes that way and boost your confidence and will to keep working. In fact, sometimes my first step is the intention itself, nothing more. Thinking it over, tasting a bit, rephrasing, getting used to it to wear down inner resistance, backing up to get a running start if you will. It won’t work unless I decide I believe in it.

Some habits I find harder to automate than others, such as drinking enough water. I think I have it down pat for a couple of months, then all of a sudden I realise I’ve stopped again. I can go all day on one cup of tea unless I actively keep it at the front of my mind at all times. Glass, tap, water, bring it with you, drink, refill. I have no idea why this is, maybe I have a brain defect. πŸ˜‰

I also try not to fixate on one particular outcome, I use broad descriptions for some things, such as – is it important to be working with one particular thing, for instance “I want to be a painter” (to keep it inside the subjects of this blog), or could “I want to work with creative crafty things” work? The latter opens up to being a teacher, a writer, a yarn designer, a sculptor, make your own suggestions. Limiting yourself to one outcome closes you to all the future options that you haven’t yet imagined but which would make you just as happy. Maybe you’d be fine not working with artsy stuff, so “I have a wonderful, fulfilling, wellpaid job” might do the trick? Having written that, another blog post from Leo turned up, so maybe those invisible vibrations out there do work somehow. πŸ˜‰

The Not Knowing Path

Then again I’ve found I need to narrow down the description or be real specific for other wishes. Not that I’m in the market for one, but writing “I want a husband” could attract all sorts of losers, you know? But you did get what you asked! You didn’t say he had to be nice. So I guess you do have to be aware of your preferences and just as importantly, what you most certainly don’t want. Sometimes life offers you things that you are meant to turn down. Lists and affirmations help you come clear on those issues.

Another problem with visualization as a meditation, a practice where you find your deepest feelings and see yourself already in the desired situation, is that many people seem to focus on something they’re actually obsessed by. Becoming financially very rich very fast, meeting that film star etc. In fact I believe that if you’re really good at it, it can be very unhealthy and wear you down instead. Deplete your energy, an escape from life as it is right now. So not only are you not getting your desire, you’re not getting anywhere.

The third link that came up for me as I was drafting this post in bits and pieces (jotting down keywords more like), was this. Today I have no idea why I included it, maybe you guys can make sense of it. I’ve certainly had my fair share of burnout in my quest for purpose….

Burnout: How To Recognise It, How To Fix It + How To Get Better At It

I know there’s probably a booklist a mile high and an even longer blogroll of people talking more eloquently about these things than me. But for some reason I learn better when I say things myself. Also, even though I do read very fast, there’s a limit to how much I have time to search and digest, so a few things I just have to do the hard way and figure out, even if I’m just reinventing hot water. So I’ll insist on throwing this kind of rants at you once in a while as part of my open intentions project. I can’t afford a therapist. πŸ˜‰ And this is a lot more fun too I’m sure.

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* And after writing that, I stumbled on this quote from Paulo Coelho: “Life has a way of testing a person’s will, either by having nothing happen at all or by having everything happen at once.” Well, Synchronicity I have to believe in, since it keeps happening to me all the time. Maybe just a question of “you see what you focus on”, but it does appear to be a little bit spookier that just so. And that is another blog post to be written or not.

15 thoughts on “Changes

  1. As another 40-something who likes to change careers every couple of years and doesn’t know what the next one should be, I can definitely relate to this post. πŸ˜‰

    I’ve come to a conclusion that setting very precise and specific life goals doesn’t really work for me, because I like change and variety too much. I envy those people who know exactly what they want and then spend the 10 000 hours in practising and mastering the skill you need to become truly good at it and then stick to it for the rest of their lives and become real masters/experts. I do 100 hours and then start looking for the next thing to learn about. So for me, if I were to set a goal, it would need to be a broad framework (such as textile art) that allows enough variety within it to keep me amused for long enough.

    I’m interested what you are saying about affirmations, visualisations and mind training etc, as I go through phases when I try these a lot (particularly to try to recover from a chronic illness where there’s no medicine that will cure you but recovery is nevertheless possible). I do find all those things sort of helpful, but then I lose interest for a bit when I focus on other things. As I haven’t fully recovered yet, there’s always the doubt: is it the method that is limited or my lazy application of it? You’d think it would be easy to find out, just by giving it 100% for a year for example, but I don’t seem to be able to manage it (a bit like your water drinking attempt). I just get distracted by more fun things like spinning, dyeing, growing dye plants etc.

    1. I do not have CFS to the degree that you have (ok, some days are bad, but not most), but adrenal fatigue has been brought to the table several times, not just by myself, but not diagnosed since medical professionals here don’t believe it exists. I’ve battled it for more than 10 years now… So I can relate too, and it does weaken your resolve in the action part of these theories. I am currently slowly learning NOT to fight so hard for results. In fact just yesterday read a sweet little comic book that sums it up quite well: http://www.amazon.com/Remarkable-Career-Joanna-Rubin-Dranger/dp/014200300X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364284867&sr=8-1

      I also get distracted as well as not WANTING to choose, because I’d feel like I was walking around with blinders on.

      1. I’m sorry to hear about your fatigue, as I definitely know what it is like! There are many degrees of CFS, from mild to severe, and many people people believe adrenal fatigue is a big part of it. And any level of fatigue is always frustrating, particularly as it is a condition that affects people who want to do so much.

        I too have come to a conclusion that fighting back hard does not really work, it can be very counter-productive, whereas acceptance gives your body a bit of space to try to recover itself. It’s a subtle balance that is hard to achieve, acceptance and trying to do something, even in a gentle way, to overcome it.

  2. Your path is always put under your feet. At least that is what I found as a person who teaches and lives the Tarot Path. You can try to walk off it, move your life in a direction you WANT it to go, but your path will just come around and catch you and put you back on it. Hindsight is a great illuminator. I found that when I looked at my childhood I saw that it was full of necessary experiences to make me into a strong and independent person – traits I would need in my later path when the powers that be needed me to be there to take care of others who were not so strong or who were faltering. Those people were put in my path to pick up, instill with strength and then send off. So I think I am saying that you have great insight into where you are now and what you need. Maybe just looking at what brought you to this point, what skills you developed along this path you have been walking and what tasks you have been presented to complete will show you where your next steps are headed. Sometimes it is just looking for that open door and walking through it. Pia, you have such a wonderful ability to look at things with a deeper understanding and to engage in the creative spirit, I am sure that there are all kinds of creative doors and loving moments in your path.

    1. Thanks for your lovely and thoughtful reply. I’m not really sure how I feel about “fate”, but I do get what you’re saying – about hindsight and things happening that only show their importance afterwards. Even big blunders etc. You may be right that I’m just not seeing the door. I’m cool with not seeing the entire path ahead of me, but sometimes I feel like the last quote that I highlighted, if I do not strain to DO something, nothing is happening, nothing shows up, I stand completely still. Just sitting around meditating and waiting for inspiration does not pay the rent. πŸ˜‰

      1. It’s funny though, because lately I’ve felt an odd RELUCTANCE to be doing anything. So maybe that actually is the way of things right now.

        1. So I have been contemplating this and here are my latest thoughts. First, Path and Fate are not the same to me. Path is more linked to the reason you came into this particular life – to help, to hinder, to teach, to create, to support, etc. Tasks and lessons will be continually presented to you in different forms until you learn the lessons you need to learn this lifetime and then utilize the skills you have developed through those lessons. You have been blessed with the ability to connect with the spiritual impulses that then manifest in beauty through creativity – and that path seems to have a strong draw combined with a love of nature and animals. You also can write, and teach through your writing. So I wonder if there are opportunities near you to be involved in an Art Center or some other type of educational program which involves teaching and opening those creative doors for others. Maybe organizing or management of one or program planning. Look at all the different areas which spark your curiosity on the blog – maybe you could spark the curiousity of others in that same way. These are just thoughts that I have been pondering because I was once at your point too. That is when I changed my direction and started representing kids in court. I needed to do that because I knew my childhood made it easier for me to understand what they were going through and to give them a strong voice. Obviously I don’t know your life – but if any of my thoughts spur one of yours, then that is a good thing. πŸ™‚

          1. Your thoughts are not far off – I have indeed pondered whether I could somehow use my combined interests and hobbies in a kind of workshop situation or something similar. I feel I’m not quite there yet, need to crank up my skills a couple of notches (I know I pay a lot of lip service to painting for instance, but I need more practical application πŸ˜‰ ). I also have to consider, that while I have no fear of people as such, they do wear me out pretty quick, “hello, my name is Pia and I’m HSP”. I don’t know that there is anywhere nearby that would fit me, small country, not a lot of art centers in the outback. But I don’t have roots here, I could totally move at the right opportunity. Doesn’t even have to be the same country. Maybe someone will come along to buy the farm and I’ll know it’s time to find an even better one πŸ˜‰

            And thanks for reminding me that I cannot rush the path. There could be a benefit to taking a break, that I can see later.

  3. Oh, I adore Leonie! She is one of my main inspirations as far as blogging and being real. I think you may have included it because those of us do employ creative visualization can get burnt out on it, too. Sometimes we need to put the vision boards aside and be here now, enjoying what we’ve got. That’s an essential part of it, too, I feel…. ‘right action’ you speak of is important, but so is ‘allowing’.

    I do believe in universe vibes.. my husband is a skeptic, but I’ve always been a risk taker with my beliefs. πŸ™‚

    My dream-life wish is to be a published writer, to illustrate my books, to build a jewelry company which supports artisans, to be a mama, to build a fairy house in the mountains, and meet shamans all over the world. I don’t know why I felt the need to put this here, but here it is. Maybe this can be my official spring wish.

    1. As you wish, I wish for you also! πŸ™‚

      I agree that vision boards can be taken too “seriously”, as in take up too much of your focus. I don’t think it’s THE way to go about things. You need to make things happen with your own two hands.

  4. Synchronicity indeed. You wrote this beautifully. Thank you. I’m a very-nearly-40 year old going through this whole “what do I want to be when I grow up” thing. I vacillate between feeling obligated to make something of my degree, feeling like it’s the only smart thing to do, or wanting to throw it down the drain and start over with something totally different. I can totally relate to the reluctance to do anything part, too. I am craving SLOWNESS. I’m having days where I think that trying to find fulfillment in my job is pointless, and I should just wait tables again so that I can concentrate on what makes me happy when I’m NOT working instead of using up all my energy trying to have a meaningful career. There’s got to be a middle ground somewhere, right?

    1. Glad you enjoyed. πŸ™‚ As for feeling obligated – screw that. Life is too short. I know I talk about finding a calling, but who said it has to be forever?! Everything has its time, and if your time teaching (?) has come to an end, then it has. (your kids have indicated as much?) Parts of it perhaps you can use in a different setting completely like Shelly hinted at. I can tell a few stories about that in fact…

      I’ve also had the notion of finding a simple job, one that pays for bread and butter but does not take anything out of you when it comes to your thoughts, one you don’t bring home with you. But. Would you HAVE any energy at the end of the day after waiting tables? Would you not just flop down after doing family and house stuff? It’s not as if it pays very well, so you’d have to put in quite a few hours for it to be worthwhile. And then the times where you are allowed to do creative stuff are far and wide apart, the humdrum of your job is perfect for generating ideas but you never get to DO = recipe for grumpy. Ask me how I know.

      So middle ground it is – until life flows into “perfection”. I don’t know what you’re doing at present and if you can or should seek fulfillment in that. Maybe you push in the wrong spots? You mentioned doing two jobs, how can you even demand of yourself to have any mental capacity left to juggle these serious considerations anyway? Maybe first thing to do is create some breathing space for yourself.

    2. On second thought I just wanted to say, that I’m not indicating your kids think your teaching sucks. Rather, they have arrived at a new and different phase of their lives and well, speaking of Synchronicity, maybe so have you.

      1. Lol. Don’t worry—that’s not how I read it. We’ll get ourselves sorted out someday, right, Pia? Prolly right before we kick it, lol. You saying “screw it” to obligation is really helpful, though. It’s something I’ve always had a hard time telling myself. I frequently get mired in obligation. I read a great book a month or so ago called “F*ck It: The Ultimate Spiritual Way” by John C. Parkin. Great book. It’s funny, and often a bit tongue in cheek, but it genuinely looks at all the different ways (and in all the areas of our lives) that we get so caught up in doing things just so for the wrong reasons—and in turn, drive ourselves nuts—and how frequently finding balance really is as simple as saying, “F*ck it”. I cuss like a trucker, so I was naturally drawn to this method of enlightenment. πŸ˜‰

        http://www.amazon.co.uk/F-k-Ultimate-Spiritual-Way/dp/1848500130

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