Letting your inner light guide the way

by | Dec 25, 2016 | Mindfulness

Intuition is the wisdom formed by feeling and instinct—a gift of knowing without reasoning… Belief is ignited by hope and supported by facts and evidence—it builds alignment and creates confidence. Belief is what sets energy in motion and creates the success that breeds more success.

—Angela Ahrendts

December is always a time of looking within for me. Starting from a place of appreciating from where I’ve come, I appreciate where I am a bit more. Coming from that internal place of intuition, as I think about 2017, I’ve decided that instead of focusing on the resolutions or vision, I’m going to focus on being mindful every day as the path to change and growth. It may sound counter-intuitive, but how many times have you tried harder and gotten less done? How many times have you willed yourself forward just to come up short? Now how many times have you decided to just let things work themselves out, deal with it when the time arose and miraculously things worked out, sometimes better than you expected? It has happened to me so many times that the other day, despite waking up antsy and raring to go, I slowed myself down, stopped and meditated before I did anything else. It wasn’t easy, but low and behold I got everything done with ease and grace. Personal experience has taught me that I get more done by doing less, by slowing down. This year I’m going to listen to what experience has taught me instead of my racing mind, which more and more often proving itself to be an unreliable companion. So I’m going to make a conscious and purposeful effort to follow the path of ease to achieve my goals all the yearlong.

This change of focus doesn’t mean that I’m abandoning planning for good. In fact planning is more important than ever. So I’ve looked at my resolutions, made sure they should still be on my list and then I turned those resolutions into specific goals. One that has been on my list for several years has been “to get in the best shape ever.” But what does I mean? Loose weight? Increase muscle mass? Get toned? What specifically do I need to do to make that happen? How will I measure success? How long will it take to get it done? The others are “to focus on career,” “to make in my relationships better” and “to make my home a place that I love to be in.” Looking at each, I decided if the resolutions still needs to stay on my list and which don’t. Then I asked the same series of questions as above to insure each goal is specific, measurable and had a deadline. Then I picked 9 goals for the entire year. (Expert say never pick more than 10 for a year. Yes, just 10.) And beware of add-on chains. What is an add-on chain? Example, I decided I want to loose 7kg pounds in 2017. But if I add to drink a liter of water a day, to work out 3 times a week and cut out carbs, that’s 4 goals. Avoid those unless of course you want to use 4 of your 10 of the year that way. For the record, I’ve chosen 2 add-on chains (one around loosing weight, another around growing my business) and 2 other individual goals (perfecting my French and meeting new people), plus the goal of tracking my goals for a total of 9 goals for 2017. Then to keep my goals both focused and manageable I divided those 9 by the 4 quarters of 2017.

But I’m not abandoning my vision this year either. I write about forming my vision here. Because my vision is what’s going to get me through the messy middle. The messy middle is the place between now when I make my goals and then when I will have actually accomplished them. The messy middle is often marked by frustration, insecurity, and sometimes doubt that I can actually do what I planned to do. Fortunately, my vision is so vivid and fun that it makes me smile just thinking about it; it is strong enough to carry me through the worst setback. My vision is compelling and rich. With it, I’m clear, certain, excited, committed and I’ve got the wind at my back. With my desire and imagination firmly intact, I am positioned for the fundamental shift I seek.

Thinking that through, now I can refine my process of easefulness. I’m actually thinking it through here as I write. Well, I don’t need to focus on diet and exercise because that’s baked into my specific goals—I just need to ‘do’ that—instead I’m going to be mindful of how I feel in my body for example. Rather than avoiding chocolate, I’m going to totally pay attention to how I feel when I each chocolate. If I love it, I’m going to relish the moment. At what moment do I feel satiated? Do I totally loose and control and need to avoid it? But I’m going to be open to discovering that I perhaps don’t like it as much as I thought I do. In short, I’m going to be where I am in the moment. That’s quite a change and it’s going to take a bit of discipline because honestly I’m not in the habit of being 100% present, 100% of the time. But I can see how my disciple will turn into blissipline with just a little practice. And even if I fail to reach my goal of 100%, life will still be sweeter than it’s been in the past. Now that’s progress toward a life that is full. Perhaps this is actually my 10th goal?

I suspect that now that I’m clear about both my goals and the quality of both of my experience I’m going to enjoy the journey more. Ursula K. Le Guin, writes in The Left Hand of Darkness, “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” I never really thought about why we make resolutions, but we make them because we think they will make us happier to have whatever our end results we seek. Norton Juster adds to this line of thinking in The Phantom Tollbooth, “The most important reason for going from one place to another is to see what’s in between, and they took great pleasure in doing just that.” Isn’t that nice? Yes there’s some vanity in my wanting to be in good shape, but more importantly I want to have fun. And it’s just more fun if my body can keep up! There are more journeys I want take. I want to take great pleasure in all of it, so I need to be prepared to take them. It makes a lot of sense to me. It’s working smart not hard. Earl Nightingale says, “We are at our very best, and we are happiest, when we are fully engaged in work we enjoy on the journey toward the goal we’ve established for ourselves. It gives meaning to our time off and comfort to our sleep. It makes everything else in life so wonderful, so worthwhile.”

Happy holidays!

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