“The unexamined life isn’t worth living.”
In yesterday’s post I wrote about the first step I took to bring about positive and lasting change into my life, spending time alone. There were three important steps I took that I believe were instrumental in bringing about REAL change into my “stagnant pond” of a life. The 3 pebbles I tossed into my stagnant pond were:
- time alone,
- writing it down,
- and doing it now.
Time alone is important so you can hear your own wishes and dreams. Many find meditation to be helpful with this but I don’t think it’s necessary. You only need to have the intention of listening to your thoughts and feelings. For me, having a specific day and time was an important key in making this alone time happen. Thursday nights at the library were my time for me.
But there was another step I took while I spent time alone and that is the topic for today’s post: writing it down.
There is something magical about writing down your wishes and dreams. Writing takes the wispy thoughts floating through your mind and puts them into a more tangible form, words on paper. Paper is something you can hold and the words you can see, read, even say aloud. In spending more time on my creativity these past few months, I have realized how fleeting and ethereal dreams, wishes and ideas are. I wrote once that thoughts and ideas are very much like wildlife and you have to be quiet and alert to be able to see them. Writing is the perfect net to capture the “wild butterflies” of wishes and dreams in your mind.
A book I had found at the library was Write It Down, Make It Happen: Knowing What You Want And Getting It by Henriette Klauser. In this book, one of the very first things she has you do is write anything and everything you can think of wanting to do, have or be. My second “date” with myself at the library I did that exercise. A huge long crazy list of stuff came out of my pen onto my paper, with things like make painting a part of my everyday life, living in England, and learning to play the piano…like I said, it was a crazy list!
*** Warning! When writing your list, be careful about confusing what you really want to do and what other people expect you to do. Write this list about things you want to do. Doing what others expect us to do helps us to feel liked and responsible and as if we have accomplished something when they pat us on the back and say nice things like “you saved the day,” or “I can’t thank you enough for helping us sew costumes,” or “I can always count on you.” These comments are nice and I’m not saying to ignore responsibilities, but I am saying that meeting the expectations of others does not feed your soul like doing what you want to do for a little time each day. In fact, I think doing what you want to do expands your ability to give to others.***
After doing the magical part of capturing all these fluttering wispy thoughts on my paper, I did a much more practical thing during my time alone. I looked at what all these seemingly crazy, random things had in common. Was there a common thread among any of them? Were some more important than others? Were some more within my reach right now? So I played with my list. I rewrote it in different ways by priority and practicality. I did notice something as I spent time alone with my list of dreams. I wasn’t doing anything in my life for ME. I cooked, shopped, cleaned, chauffeured kids, taught school, did laundry, and managed finances. And not one single little part of my day was doing something just for me because I loved to do it. In looking at my list I found MY missing link. My list was pages long but I managed to find 1 thing in it that I could do right then: painting everyday.
My old self, the one who helped create the stagnant pond life, would never have taken the step of writing things down. She would have read the ideas in books and on blogs and highlighted meaningful areas with a highlighter, thought about them, maybe even talked about them, but she would never ever have written anything down on paper. Writing down what I wanted was a huge key in bringing about change and finally starting to paint everyday.
This week may still be too busy with holiday activities for some of you to take time for yourself and write down some thoughts, ideas, and wishes for next year. But when you do find the time, (and I firmly believe finding time to do this is a choice) spend some time alone and write your ideas down. Even if you have to come back to it another day, write it down.
As of today there are 4 more days left in 2012. Are you able to spend some of that time examining your life and what you want from it? Can you experiment with what you do and how you do it?
Join us in making 2013 the year of YOU!