Now THIS is interesting.
Today I was scanning my email and noticed that Oprah.com had posted its new Dream Board software for making your very own vision board online. I’d heard about it from Martha Beck and others, and wanted to try it.
So I spent about an hour and made My Wildly Improbable Life in 2011 and Beyond vision board.
I was quite proud of my creation, and I could feel the emotions behind the images soaking into me as I looked at it, rearranged, resized, added intentions to each image, and picked words that resonated with me. And right afterwards, when I sat down to eat lunch, I realized I was feeling like CRAP!
I sat with that feeling in my chest, a constriction and mild sense of not being able to breathe in fully, and asked it what it was trying to tell me. I had just read a notice about a keynote speaker at the upcoming Martha Beck Coaches Convention, someone whose newsletters and blogs I’ve been an avid reader of. Her pitch to us was that most coaches who go broke do so because their only business plan is “hope”. She would provide us with tips, strategies, etc, to bring our lives to the next level. Here’s an excerpt from her exact language:
This is the stuff to master. This is where the lost become leaders. This is how you take your coaching business to the next level.
She was offering us a way to plan our way to success, happiness, prosperity, whatever she was defining as the Vision we all should want. That’s actually what I read right before I got up from my computer to eat lunch.
And so, why this feeling of constriction in my chest?
I noticed that in my life, I have never had a problem “setting goals” and “getting to the next level”. I have actually been quite adept at that game. My own personal journey, right now, is to learn how to be at peace with what is, and to stop manipulating my mind so much that I begin to believe that I have control of every aspect of my existence. Making the vision board, and then reading about how essential it is to plan our way toward our vision, triggered the part of my brain that has been well-trained for striving. It triggered the feeling in my body of getting “armored up” for “warrior mode”. My old neural pathways wanted to treat the vision board like goals I had achieved previously in my life. “Start doing! And make sure you do it right!” screamed the ancient voices in the stored memory of my brain.
Only this time, I was on to them. I knew that these voices were not absolutely who I am. I am transforming by observing myself and questioning each habitual response, noticing that I have a choice.
My own practice, right now, is to learn to let go of the need for goals, plans, and visions. I’ve had those, I’ve followed them, they have worked. However, what I personally need to learn how to do, for the first time in my life, is to make space for creativity to emerge, and to allow myself to live within that space, without planning away every scrap of spare time. For me, it’s not about proving anything, or continually ascending the escalator or elevator of life. I’ve done that, and I’ve experienced that. I’m so grateful and appreciative of those experiences and skills. I will always have them.
And now, my vision is to slow down, and take time to appreciate every little tiny thing about right now. My morning ritual reminds me that just this breath is enough for right now. Then the next breath. And the next. Each little tiny moment is enough. And I am always enough.
So the gift of that feeling of dread after doing my vision board was to tell me that everyone’s journey at any particular moment in their lives is unique. The self-development resources available to us now are great, but there is no one formula or program or piece of advice that will be universally true – for you, for me, or for the rest of our lives. We so want the reassurance and illusion of certainty that comes with the latest program or solution. But the truth is that it’s still up to each of us to go inside, and feel the questions for us emerging in each moment. We need to be able to tune in to what’s true for us at any given time in our lives.
And now, as I breathe in the content of this post, and reveal to myself my own journey right now in this moment, I feel the peace again. I can breathe deeply. I have space. I have time. I am all that I need to be right now.
And that’s my vision. For now.