The exciting part of being on a personal journey is that you can change any aspect of your life! The counterpart of it is that there is always a part of your life that you want to work on- it’s infinite! Luckily, I have accepted that by now and that’s how I recently signed up for a workshop on how to discover your new career. Part of the assignments we had to do last week was to visualise 2 things: our ideal life and our ideal working life. I came up with some pretty wild concepts there-specially in my ideal life, that I had to share with 2 other fellow students.
So here I was, talking about unicorns and rainbows, nomad life and abundance, total freedom and infinite self, as if it was all natural, when I noticed their faces on the Zoom screen. They were both nice and all, but they looked at me a bit weird. That’s when it hit me: that was it, I had become a crazy old hippy! I did-I do! I realized all the things that came out of my mouth. Not that there was anything wrong with it, but when exactly did I happen to have gone that far in my daydreaming?!
After a bit, one of them finally asked me “How do you do that? How can you sit down and have all those thoughts coming to you?” That is an excellent question that got me thinking since, so I figured I would share my 2 cents about it.
The first thing I spontaneously shared with my co-adventurers was the fact to give yourself permission. And that’s a big one, so let explain what I mean by that. You are currently living your life and, whatever it looks like, there are some aspects of it you would like to change. Good for you. Now, if you have grown up in the same sort of culture than I did, you most likely have been repeatedly told to be grateful for what you already have instead of seeking for some hypothetical other options that you don’t have-or so you are taught to believe. And this teaching is so strong, and you have believed it for so long, that the mere concept that you could even have the idea to start thinking about a different life feels wrong-very wrong.
First, you feel like there is no point- since it won’t happen anyway, who cares? Or you believe that if you start just even thinking about a different life, you sort of betray the one you already have. It’s all in your head, we are not even talking about it but still: the guilt is already creeping in. And guilt is a very powerful emotion. Hence, when you just suggest the idea of visualisation, your brain is going full on drama queen mode: “What do you mean you want to dream? Is your current family not enough? And this job you studied years for? Is that all going to the drain? All those efforts and money, for what, nothing? And what’s wrong with your husband now? He is such a nice guy, how dare you!” (Am I the only one with a guilt voice that sounds exactly like my mom ? Just wondering…). Bottom line: you settle for a safe and known option-most of the time not doing anything then.
Now, I feel like I should share a bit more about my personal experience at this stage. Probably around 2012, I came to a point in my life where I wanted more. I just didn’t know more of what. I struggled to know what I was actually talking about and how that could look like. Bear in mind that at this stage of my life I hadn’t read any self-help book, I didn’t know what visualisation was, and I thought meditation was for sects and stoned hippies-true story. The only things I intuited was that I wanted something new in my life. So I did 2 things: I started to volunteer in local festivals that I liked and I started to travel on my own (the first instance being a full 2.5 days weekend about 100 km from my place). That was it. No epiphany, no big revelation.
However, it taught me 3 things:
1- I was still alive. No drama happened, the sky didn’t fall on my head, I could do new things. All good.
2- I loved it! I had a lot of fun doing all of that.
3- The most important of all: it made me start to wonder “What else?”. What else could I do that will bring me the same feeling of connection, discovery and adventure? What was out there that I hadn’t experienced yet out of fear- but maybe I should have?
So why am I telling you this now? Well, if you had told me about my unicorns and rainbows life visions back that time, I would have laughed hard -and called an ambulance, because you are crazy my friend. Because I was at a completely different stage of my journey. Just like you might be at the moment.
Our brain is a muscle that needs constant training if we want to shape it in a different way that it got wired. So even thought changing your thoughts or dreams is not an easy job, it is possible through time and practice. Doing tiny changes will help him create new connections, new versions of what he thinks of as “normal”, so he (and you) will be more comfortable doing it the next time. And the next. And the next-you got the idea. Just bear in mind that it’s a process, and you have to accept it- if you don’t want to get frustrated in the way.
So if you can’t dream about what you really want now-cause that sounds too “out there”, why not starting with day to day situations that you could improve. Nothing big, but things that you would feel more comfortable implementing: “I want to take a nap on Sundays”, “I want to take my full lunch breaks every day”, “I want to try this dance course once a week”, whatever it is that will bring more “you time”, more self-care, adventures or anything you want in your life. Clear the air. Connect a bit more with what you love. See what happens. And take it from there.
(Read the second part in my next post!)