Last month we posted 'Envision, Part I' where we discussed the 'why' or reasons to 'envision' or be clear about what you want in life. That is more than setting goals; it is an understanding of your desires in life. This is important, because it is from that place of desire that your goals are made, at least the most fulfilling ones.
We aren't taught this way to approach life, not usually, and not in schools or traditional households. That is why this blog will discuss how to be clear about your desires - how to become aware of and how to keep your desires in your present awareness. When you do this, there is greater potential for joy and happiness, because you will understand what brings you the most joy.
Here is a simple activity that I encourage you to repeat over, and over, and over, as many times as you need in your day, week and life, so you gain understanding of yourself. Grab something to write with and a journal or piece of paper. You could even use a Word document if you like that better. Put everything down, and close your eyes after you read the instructions.
Pretend no one, I mean no one, cares what you do or think. There is no church, no parents, no boss who cares what you think or desire. Your significant other or kids or best friend are lovely, but they do not know what you think or feel deep down. Set a timer for 5-15 minutes (or longer if you'd like). Start imagining all kinds of things you think you would like. You could start simple, like, "I would like a vacation to the beach", but you hopefully will get to core inner desires over time. Those could be "I want to write a book about my life" or "I want to travel to all 50 contiguous states". Let yourself imagine, without judgement or constraints.
I say to imagine without judgement, because we have been conditioned to start telling ourselves all the reasons we can't do something. These few minutes of letting yourself imagine helps your creative brain engage. You may or may not do any of the things you think about, but It helps you get in touch with how you feel, what makes your heart beat faster, and what you really desire. Do this without concern about cost and finances. After all, it's free to imagine. You can be creative when you are free to imagine without judgement.
Next, notice how you feel as you imagine. When you are imagining, what thoughts make you feel alive? What thoughts scare you? What thoughts bring you peace? What thoughts touch you deep inside and bring a longing? Allow all thoughts, all creative ideas. Maybe you realize what you really desire is to feel safe, no matter what you do. Or, you realize there are lots of jobs you could do, but bottom line is you do not want to feel tied down.
Finally, after your timer goes off, write down things that you want to remember. Write down things that make you feel good. Write down ideas that you don't want to forget. This is NOT goal setting, or a list of things to do. It is a way to keep things that came to you and a way to note what made you feel positive (relief, satisfaction, safety, happy, etc). Repeat this as often as you like. I promise, you will be surprised what comes to you, and you will get better at allowing and noticing.
This is how you start to get clear about what you really desire and want out of life. It may have to do with concrete ideas, like you want to work less and spend more time with your children. But, it may be more of a general guide; such as, you realize want to do things that make you feel free. Over time, reading your notes, and practicing understanding how you feel, you will find that goals come from that place of desire. You may notice you start talking about or doing things that really matter to you, and you find yourself doing things less often that don't bring you good feelings.
Generally, no activity or decision, in and of itself is good or bad. What matters is how you feel. What does it do for you? Does it bring you the feelings you desire or does it make you feel sick or tired? You may find that many things you have been doing, because that is what is expected or what everyone else is doing, actually do not do much for you. Then, I challenge you to ask yourself why you are doing that. When you start making decisions based on how you want to feel or based on what brings you closer to something you desire, you feel like your day was worth while. You set goals that really matter to you, and you start to really enjoy living, even when bad things happen.