Have you ever wondered what you really wanted? Have you ever really defined it? Or dared to admit it to anyone, even yourself? Or do you, like me (and probably many others), avoid the question or answer it superficially. In this post from Farther to Go!, there is an exercise that asks you to answer that question every day for 30 days.
I started about three weeks ago. I can’t tell you exactly without digging out the notebook I was using. I wasn’t using cards as suggested in the exercise–not at first. I am now. I’m doing several things differently now.
On Friday (12/6/13), I realized that the exercise wasn’t going very well for me–for reasons I will share below. But, the bottom line is that I decided that day that I would start over, and change the things that weren’t working. So that evening, at about 10:00, I filled out my first card for the new 30-day period. And afterwards, I had a breakthrough.
It may not have been exactly 10:23, but I suddenly understood with complete clarity that I could no longer settle for mediocrity. I had to think about what I want without limits, especially the limits I put on myself. Thinking that I can possibly know what’s best, or what’s practical, or what’s feasible, or–most importantly–what’s possible. My life to this point is full of experiences that would have seemed impossible by any standards and yet I’m here, living this crazy life that couldn’t have been imagined prior to living it. I realized that the starting over was important, that by changing the way I approached the process of exploring what I wanted, I would be more effective, and more free–I could imagine even impossibilities. Up to the point of starting over, four basic things were getting in my way of making the most of this exercise.
- Sometimes, I’d miss a day because I didn’t set an intention for writing in the notebook. If I had it would be on my daily list, and it wasn’t. I thought I could remember something as simple as adding a few lines to my notebook each day. (I know better than this!) To learn more about the power of intentions, look here. Further, the routine itself has an effect on what emerges. If I get in the habit of making the list each day, the pump is primed when I sit down to fill out the card..
- I started by using a notebook for making my lists, instead of the 4 x 6 index cards suggested in the activity. I didn’t realize it at the time (obviously), but it really makes a difference to have a confined space with a specific amount of lines for each day. Even if I had used the index cards, I suspect I wouldn’t have written something on every line. Many of my lists in the notebook wouldn’t have been long enough to put something on each line of a card. I took the “easy” way out, If no more ideas were immediately accessible, I stopped writing. Using a notebook made it easy to fall into that trap, so using the index cards is a much better method–for me at least. No stopping until I actually have something on every line. This problem is also related to the next one.
- I was approaching my list-making from a place of practicality. I knew on an intellectual basis not to do that, to let my mind go and to explore the possibilities in spite of the reasons for censoring. And while I KNEW that the sky was the limit, my lists had become rather dull and lifeless. At first, I wasn’t sure what had happened, and then I realized something that put a lot of things into perspective. I had fallen back into moving through my days and activities on autopilot. From there, it was more than a slippery slope to falling into old habits: it was a free fall into a pit of mediocrity.
- I needed to re-commit to paying attention, to being mindful of the process, and not just make the listing another thing to check off. Yes, it’s important to schedule it to make sure it happens, but the actual process has to be more mindful than that.
So on Friday, I dusted myself off and began again with 30 4 x 6 cards, a clear intention, and a plan. I can already see and feel a difference. Each of these cards is completed in just a few moments, but the impact isn’t limited to the immediate moment. Wherever this path leads me, I know that my life will be different because I dared to answer the question of what I really want. As I write this post on Sunday, I just finished my 3rd card, and I am excited about the possibilities that are showing up. Now when I finish a card, I’m smiling. I have gone beyond the intellectual grasp of the concept back to an experience of reimagining my life. I can’t wait to see where this path leads.
If you’ve never thought about what you really want (or even if you have), I recommend this exercise. It only takes a few minutes a day, but the results may change the way you think about what’s possible.
A Moment in Time is a shared blogging experience, where writers document and share their stories from the same moment on the same day. The day and time for the next A Moment in Time is posted by Randee every few days in such a way that you’ll have a heads up on the exact moment to which you need to attend and focus on and, if it’s significant in some way, write about and add to the list.