“Decide who you’re going to be and do it on purpose.” -Dolly Parton
You are the creator causing what you want to have happen in your life. This begins with you consciously deciding what you want to have happen. And because what you decide comes from seeds that are percolating in your imagination right NOW, there’s hardly anything more important you could to than to take time OUT to vision. Yes, VISION… so you can hear what you really want and act from that place. Not what your old self wants, or what you’ve been sold to want by society/family/lover, or what your ego tells you you should want – but what you in your heart r-e-a-l-l-y want.
Our culture is sooo stimulating and left-brained. Does anyone regularly go 24 hours without staring at a screen for at least 30 minutes (and that’s a really conservative estimate)!? I rarely do. And it only seems to be getting worse. But how many of all of our dreams pass us by as we’re busy getting lost in the sea of distractions we entertain in our lives?
Having a clear vision can slice through the swirl because then you have a direction. It will call you to action, inspire you to make new choices, reach out to new people, let go of old habits through creating new ones that better match the direction you want to go, and open to wider rings of life and support.
Though I haven’t always been conscious of it, I’ve spent a lot of my life morphing from one version of me who’s all about one thing to another. As a kid, it was brought on with my moving every couple of years. Nothing like moving from a loving neighborhood filled with sweet friends to one filled with violent bullies, or a wild California public high school to a conservative Southern Episciopalian private girls school to let you try on new realities and create new selves. But even after I left my parents, I kept moving and changing – going after one dream and then another, morphing into many different version of myself over the years, some hardly recognizable to the me I am now. And even that’s under heavy construction at the moment.
Ken Wilbur says that within this process, it’s not that we toss out the old version, it’s that we transcend and include them into the new version we create. I love this idea because it reinforces that we can include all of our old experiences and selves into who we are now. There is no part of us we have to turn away from, we just don’t have to let it drive our car anymore. Metaphorically speaking, this conjures up the image of Russian Dolls for me as we create a new outer doll while the old ones are lovingly held inside us.
What I most like about this process of self and life creation is that it affirms our power to create not only things in our lives, but who we are. This may be our greatest creative achievement – to create new, inspired versions of ourselves that can carry us further than the person we’ve been up until now.
So how do we go from vision to reality? I don’t have a 1-2-3 step-by-step formula, but I will share with you some of the things I’ve been practicing with lately that’ve been helpful… and are yielding fruitful results. Not that it’s always easy – it ISN’T. But, it is empowering. And that’s the point, right?
• I see my future that I want to happen as so. Because, in some parallel reality, it already exists. I flesh it out without being overly obsessive about the details and transpose it onto my life now, as if it’s what’s so (because it is), and show up as if this is what’s happening.
• With this vision in mind, I re-choose and re-commit every day, every moment to let my vision/dream guide and inform me. For instance, sometimes I get out of bed and start responding to the day in my usual old way. Because I’m sooo painfully yet hypnotically used to it, I may not notice at first. But the minute I get present to the fact that I’m experiencing my familiar, limiting emotions and stories, I know I’ve got an old version of me behind my steering wheel and I need to PAUSE, reconnect with my vision, choose who I want to show up as, and clarify what I want to cause through my actions. And I do this, oh, about 200 times a day because the default setting to go back to the miserable-familiar is so strong. And, because I’m prone to impatience, sometimes this seems rather tedious and annoying but I ask myself – How can I move forward into the new if I’ve got an old me up and running? I can’t. At least not gracefully or pleasurably. So I do what I need to do, as best I can.
• I can’t change everything at once so I prioritize what’s most important. What’s my dream as I know it now? What are the most important aspects of that dream? Lately my answer to that has been art and physical health so I’ve been putting these things at a higher priority and have been experimenting with re-structuring my day to give them more time, especially at the beginning of the day. But, each of these categories breaks into several smaller categories like learning a painting technique that will help me create what I want to express and organizing my art area to flow well and be an inspiring place to create. Or, taking herbs, regulating my sleep schedule, and getting a variety of exercise regularly. So, it’s a bit of a nuanced balancing act but I keep getting closer and that feels good.
• Possibly the hardest one I’m currently working on is choosing to focus on and savor my accomplishments and what’s going well with me and my life…. instead of feeding into the habitual pattern of focusing on what’s wrong or the next challenging hurdle I have to “deal” with. So much that’s wonderful is happening all the time and it seems we’ve all been brainwashed to disregard these moments, especially when they are our own, and focus on the negative. I don’t know about you, but that’s not the direction I want to be moving in!
If this rings a bell for you, here’s something you can experiment with. In a class I taught for several years, I gave the participants an assignment to not complain for a week. This included no verbal complaining or self-criticism, and no participating in anyone else’s complaining through agreeing or feeding their fire. Everyone came back the following week with their eyes wide opened to how much EVERYONE complains ALL the time… and how much presence it takes to step out of that way of relating both within ourselves and with others. But it’s doable, it just takes presence and practice.
Dreamers of dreams…
• What would you like to wake up to tomorrow? A month from now? A year? 5 years?
• Can you see this as so? What does it look/feel like?
• If you take this and transpose it onto your life today, how does that change how you’re called to show up?
• And how does that change who you want to show up as?
• What areas of your life are most important to focus on?
• What are 2-3 simple actions you can begin with?