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. 😉
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. 😉
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….
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. 😉 And this is a lot more fun too I’m sure.
* 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.