Perhaps the only real reason for having goals is to lure you to become the person it takes to actually accomplish them.
The process of finding your Life’s Intentions and creating a vision for yourself is often a baffling process in the modern digital age. With all the self help literature telling us to follow our passions and all the other sticky sweet slogans we digest on a daily basis, that for the most part often make us feel worse.
Often in the beginning of my work with folks they show up with a lot of “I don’t know’s”, which can be quite terrifying.
So how do we find the answer to the big questions in our hearts and live inside our highest intentions? By highest intentions, I don’t mean you need to be famous or rich or cure cancer or be the CEO of Google, although those are all worthy ideals if you feel called to them.
A life vision is not about size or reach, it’s about quality, contentment and a purpose that creates grace, clarity and connects you to joy on a daily basis. And that can show up as a big complicated life or a small simple life. It’s your choice.
My belief is a life vision is not a goal, it is the organizing principle for whatever goals we may have. A vision is a place to stand—the future as a possibility—a place to “come home to” in all that we undertake in the living of our life. Here are some ideas for coming home and making the vision come to life:
We can’t hear our vision calling unless it’s quiet enough in our head.
Many of us are so busy and over stimulated that there’s no bandwidth left for much else. It’s like we’re at a heavy metal concert 24 hours a day. To hear the call guiding us to our vision, we need to turn our phones off.
When feeling tired and disenchanted or confused … start walking away from the stress and ideas that no longer make sense. Maybe take a walk somewhere quiet, in a forest, or by the sea or some favorite place in nature, perhaps sit down and fold your legs and surrender to the silence.
The answers to the big questions in our hearts are all there waiting for us.
In the stillness is the source of all sources; Silence is our deepest nature, our common ground, our tranquilityand our true home.
The seeds of our vision grow best in the soil of stillness. To discover it, cultivate and quiet the saboteur mind.
This can be done through meditation, prayer, or a retreat of some kind. Do it through quiet walks in nature or even by turning off the car radio.
Create silence within your own mind just before falling asleep or spend some time once a week without talking. If you see this quiet time as essential, you will make it happen for yourself. Make the effort to spend quiet time with your greatest resource. YOURSELF
Your inner visionary must answer the call with courage.
Perhaps courage is the greatest virtue, for without it we can’t practice any other virtue consistently. Once you hear the call of your life’s intention, tremendous courage is required to heed that call.What inevitably arises is that you will have to face any or all of these:
Deep seated fears
Challenges that seem to big to handle or impossible for you
Failures and setbacks
The cultivation of courage comes as you face difficult questions: What am I willing to give up in order to pursue my life’s intention? What am I losing when I don’t live inside my high level values? Am I burned out or just too scared to act? What messages am I believing on a daily basis?
Fear leads to tunnel vision. Tunnel vision is a disempowering perspective to live in as it reduces possibilities and clarity and keeps you stuck in the problem rather than the solution.
The light at the end of the tunnel is not an illusion. The tunnel is.
Transforming the dream killers.
Courage always takes us to the next step in the process of discovering the vision for our life. This is the territory where we are asked to face and become friendly with our fears. We have all been taught to run from them or bury them somewhere or numb them with what ever behavior we use to achieve that.
The ironic truth is by moving towards what we fear we move towards what we love. We are not asked to slay our fears but rather to become friendly with them. We start taking care of them. Fear is a unavoidable part of the process, so we stop pretending we can avoid it.
Fears can take many forms that keep us from claiming the ticket to the life that is waiting for us. They may be deeply hidden and below the surface of our awareness.
A few ones I see coming up again and again are on this list. There are others or permutations of these.
Fear of not enough: not enough ( fill in the blank)____________
Fear of disappointment: fear of failure in all it’s ways it shows up for you
Fear of disobeying or going against the wishes of or displeasing: a father figure or a mother figure or a organization or culture or a spouse or lover
Fear of yourself:the inner critic and voice of the saboteur who tells you that you are worthless and can’t follow your passion, that you don’t have what it takes, that you’re not enough and never will be
These fears are part of the “uncovering” process that leads us to the life we wish to live. We either move towards them in order to find and transform them with mentors, coaches or trusted advisors or they slowly but surely erode our confidence and joy. If we decide we can use them as high octane fuel that runs the engine of transformation for us.
Leaving the known for the unknown.
Like all mythic journeys, we have to face the fact that we have to leave the safe harbor that are known and travel out to sea where at some point we will lose sight of the shore.
For many of us, we spend so much time and energy trying to keep everything familiar and known to us that we become terrified by the thought of anything unknown. We live in a world where we try to control everything and we tell ourselves it should make perfect sense every second. The truth is we live in a mystery.
Think of a artist or musician or poet that inspires you, that moves your soul in some fundamental way when you experience their work. These are examples of people who live in the unknown. It would be a pretty dull world if we did not try to discover things not yet discovered
A question to ask yourself:
Are you willing to dive deep into the vast unknown to collect the treasure that is waiting to be discovered or do you want to tinker around the safe edges of what you know?
Your values are your compass when the seas get stormy.
At the deepest level our passion and life intentions are the building blocks for the life we end up creating for ourselves.
If we value fear over challenge and adventure, our life will end up reflecting that. Some people may spend their whole lives living in shadow values, and what they receive are the boons of those values.
My own belief is that at the end of your life you will ask yourself a series of questions and they will most likely resemble these in some way.
Did my life matter?
Did I love enough?
Did I leave the world a better place in some way.
Did I do what I came down here to do or did I get caught up in the trivia of daily life and become a slave to it?
Why wait till the end of life to ask these questions. Ask them now.
And finally I recommend starting a writing practice.
If you don’t think you have the time, then will you begin a small, non-threatening daily writing habit and make a goal something like a 100 words a day? From there as you develop the habit you can increase the word count slowly until one day you will find you can’t stand the thought of missing your practice.
A writing practice can give our lives depth and breadth if we have the courage and create a feeling of genuine gratitude and fullness for our own messy lives.
A writing practice accepts the pleasant with the unpleasant, the perceived good with the bad. Genuine gratitude is not a zero sum game in which gratitude increases the more fortunate you become but diminishes the more hardships you experience.
Journal writing can help you to become more contented under all circumstances, and from that point of power you can step off into creating the life you want to experience.
Whether we choose to journal or not, our lives are all going to be books on the library shelf of the world.
How do you want your story to read?
If you want to travel to a new land, you will require the right map.
However, you don’t sit with a map, you carry it with as you walk towards your destination.
You live with it.
Just to sum up…
Find regular time for quieting your mind and discovering your life map (this may change as you change.) You will have many maps in your life.
You must bring your courage to bear if you want to accept the call of your heart. (Long distance charges may apply.)
Transforming the dream killers by facing your fears and turning them into allies (fear as fuel.)
Learn to fall in love with the unknown (close your eyes and listen to the beating of your heart.)
Your values are your compass during a storm that may try to blow you off course (hold tight to them.)
The hand connects to the heart. Begin to write the book of your life and be thankful for all of it. Don’t stop till you get to the point where you need a sequel.