Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside awakens.
– Carl Jung
If you watched the Tony Robbins’s YouTube video I suggested when I wrote about “Dreaming lofty dreams”, you know that he said today, January 15, is the day that by now most people broken their New Year’s resolutions. And if you’ve decided to try to create a vision you’ve may have come to realize that it’s not as easy as one would imagine. Here’s a little trick I use to kickstart my dreams. Maybe it might help you sort it all out. I started asking myself, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” After playing with this question a bit, I now know that if I approach life asking this question that I can create anything. How is that possible? For starters I started to approach my hopes and dreams like someone for whom money is no object because my stumbling block was security. The first things that happened when I asked the questions is I realized that:
- A lot of things that I though I wanted, needed or had to have stopped seeming important.
- Other things that I looked at as nice to have or extravagances became really important; neither for the reason that I would have thought.
- I realized that a lot of what I wanted, even material things, were not actually dependent on how much money I didn’t have.
All of this occurred when I simply started to look at life as if I already had the security that I craved. Before the stuff started to appear because it has, these internal changes started to happen. Why? When I changed what I thought, I changed my approach. They go hand in hand.
When I approached life as if money was no object, that is to say I was safe and secure, anxiety lifted and I can look at my life objectively. Lao Tzu sums that up saying, “To the mind that is still, the universe surrenders.” It became clear that I had been making sound decisions and steps to achieve my goals for a very long time. So I no longer needed validation because I had a good track record to look back on and experience to leverage going forward. I gain a lot of self-confidence. Now that’s not a ‘thing’ per say, but the desire to be accepted, appreciated, praised had been a real motivational force for me as a means to insure my security.
Not only did I not need validation it became apparent that looking to other actually got me off track. I’m not saying that it’s bad to collaborate; it is very fulfilling. But I needed to find things I liked and then find collaborator, not the other way around. Trying to get other people’s approval and ignoring my own heart’s desire led me to make decision about lifestyle and career that were fundamentally counter to what makes me happy. I am smart. I am good at my job. I am successful. Everyone says so. People like me, but because I valued other people’s opinion more than my own, I was successful and unsatisfied. I was not impressed with me. Not because the things I was doing weren’t good, but because I wasn’t doing something that was meaningful to me. I was not living a life I loved, I was imitating other’s people’s idea of a good life. When I let myself dream my own dreams everything changed.
A little while after I moved everyone else’s ideas of happiness aside and put mine front and center, my outer world started to match my inner. Now, instead of forcing myself to fit into corporate culture, I write about things that interest me; I work on projects that I enjoy. And I work on fun stuff, so I can do things that are more fun. I love to travel. I want to swim with dolphins. And I’ve mentioned it a couple times; I want try standup paddle boarding. To do that, I need to be in the best shape possible. Now diet and exercise feels different. It’s not longer the struggle that it once was. I workout and eat in a certain way to help me be strong so I can play. And there’s no struggle because few things have a stronger pull for me than the idea of a good adventure.
And challenges are less so now because life is simpler and clearer. Most things boil down to a practical issue. There was a moment when a friend of mine who loves belly dancing said that she could practice at home, but who ever does that? I nodded in agreement. I had been one of those people who had to go to a class to exercise, but later when I thought about what she said I decided that it wasn’t in my best interest to keep thinking that way. It really was that simple. “Thinking this way is not going to get me from here to there,” I said. Within a week I found a yoga video on YouTube that I really enjoy and can do between yoga sessions.
All this ‘blisscipline’ magically appeared when I realized what my heart already new. I love adventure and I need to be able to move to have a good time. Wanting to play is reason enough to continue or to decide to do things I wouldn’t before. Once we are clear about what really makes us happy and we stop telling ourselves things that don’t serve us, things chance pretty quickly. No effort required. I want a body that is strong so I can do all the things I want to do and supports my desire go to the place I want to go. That’s all the motivation I need.
Asking the rather small question “What would you do if you weren’t afraid, Pamela?” helps me to suspend reality. And once I saw how well everything was going, I set my sights on something a little bigger and closer to my heart. I want to settle back down. These last five years have been tremendously transformative. Part of that transformation has involved moving from country to country and releasing things that no longer serve me mentally, physically and emotionally. I have lived in 3 countries in the last 5 years. Can you imagine? All this from someone who lived in a 25 mile radios of her family home for her entire life! Unsurprisingly, I want to find a place that I can call home again. As I think about that home, I’m not holding back. Doing an online search, I wasn’t my usual conservative self. I let myself dream about what I really want if I weren’t afraid to let myself dream instead of what’s practical. Giving myself just a little more wiggle room in my search parameters, I found a property that has a pond on it. And I mean a real pond with fish in it and it’s on 9 acres. Can you imagine? I would have never let myself dream of a house with a pond and land before because it’s not practical. But as it turns out, it’s actually affordable. I wonder how many things I missed out on because I wouldn’t even let myself check. Well things change. Beautiful things reveal themselves when I suspended reality. Here’s what I’ve learned:
- Suspending reality supports dreaming. We are open to a lot more because those imaginary limitations are lifted. I often associate limits with money. But as it turns out things are just not out of reach if I let myself dream first. That doesn’t mean it won’t take time and planning, but it does mean a lot more things are possible if I open my mind to them.
- Suspending reality allows for change. I’m not locked into a decision. If I want to stay in one place for the rest of my days, I can. If I want to move, I can. Why is it that ‘other people’ are allowed to change their minds and regular folks like me can’t? Dreaming blows these limiting beliefs right out of the water.
- Suspending reality opens my eyes to opportunities. When I stopped saying ‘I can’t’ the way forward presented itself. When money was no object, I let myself do an Internet search. Within minutes I found out that the house I want is within reach. Flexible allowed me to consider thing I hadn’t before and I found out what I wanted was the same but different than I expected.
Coincidence that I found the video I like or a property I can afford? I don’t think so. I haven’t talked about serendipity, cooperative components or the path of least resistance. I will soon, but for now let’s just group them together and call them opportunity. The examples I shared are among the forms in which opportunity appears as we move toward what we want. And the example of finding a video on YouTube or my house online shows how opportunity doesn’t have to appear in the form of a big splashy fairly godmother’s turning rags into gowns or tuxes, but little thing that we often miss or dismiss if we aren’t in the right frame of mind, keeping our eyes open, or in my case let myself imagine what I really want.
The only warning is these signs appear when we are striving for what we don’t want too. So again it’s important to be true to yourself and your individual soul’s urge. No, I take that back. It’s mission critical that we stay true to ourselves. By now you know I don’t believe in one size fits all, I do however believe that if we change the way we think opportunities that works for us as unique individuals will present themselves.
So, if you are among those who have already lost sight of you New Year’s vision, I invite and encourage you to take a deep breath and start again. New Year’s Day is arbitrary anyway. If I change my mind, I can change your life, so if you gave up on your resolution or found it harder than you thought to create a vision, today I invite you to try to release whatever it is that holds you back. Money was my thing, but if family obligation or feeling trapped or getting lost or making a mistake is yours try asking the simple question, “What would I do if I were not afraid?” If you don’t need to do a total restart, maybe you’d like to edit your dream? Go for it. If all is well, congrats! No matter where we are, whatever the past has been, our futures are spotless. So have fun and create a compelling vision.