Five Easy Steps to Begin Your Own Life Quest
If you are one of the millions who have read Elizabeth Gilbert's wonderful book "Eat, Pray, Love," then you may also be one of the fans that are saying to yourself: "Hey, I want to create my own year dedicated to pleasure (Eat), spirit (Pray) and the magical blend of both (Love). What miracles would happen in my life if I did that? "
Well there is no reason to wait until the day you have the time, money or courage to set off around the world for a year. What you are craving is connection to the divine and guidance from your true or higher self. And there are ways that you can bring this magic to your life today. In fact, there are 5 EASY ways to get you on that path. My hope is that they bring you the miracles that I discovered when I consciously put these into my own life.
1. Stop being so busy and create S P A A A A C E
"Your Soul talks to you everyday, but if you are too busy, you cannot hear what it is trying to say." --Denise Linn, Author of Soul Coaching
I don't need to tell you that we live in a fast paced world that prizes productivity and DOING. The mind set we are hypnotized by is "more, more, more" and "you have to work hard to be successful." It is also a very masculine paradigm that reeks havoc on our health if we are constantly pushing and pushing without any R&R. (And for some, "illness" becomes the only way that they allow time for themselves--not a powerful way to live!)
Let's flip this on it's head. Have more by doing LESS. Take a look at your schedule right now. Is there time in there for doing nothing? That's right, nothing! If you are scheduled with back-to-back-to-back appointments, then there will be no room for flow, or the mystery and whispering of your soul to come in. You need to create some space in your daily activities to allow for the feminine and to get in the rhythm of your life. Fight the urge to fill up every hour in your schedule with doing.
And I don't mean that you are going to schedule an activity to be your nothing. When I first introduce this concept to some of my clients, they want to count their yoga class or their meditation time as nothing. No, that is not nothing. These are upgraded, spiritually evolved "to do" activities. Yes, they will nurture you, but these are still appointments. The only appointment you want when you are creating SPACE is an appointment with yourself. No plan. You will only know when you arrive there what it is your heart wants you to do (see steps 2-5 for more guidance).
When you get good at this, you can block out entire days for doing NOTHING except what feels right to do. A mini-retreat for you, where you don't know where the destination is but only what your heart is telling you to do next. This is when your soul will come in and grab you by the hand and take you leaps and bounds beyond anything your mental "doing" self would have ever conceived for you.
2. Look for and notice coincidences, synchronicities, and repetitive thoughts
When you create space and are not running from one thing to the next, that is when you will notice the signs and synchronicities around you. The Universe will nudge you or confirm that yes, you are heading in the right direction, or "Hey, notice this--it's important."
I have a friend who when she drives makes a point of noticing license plates, road signs and slogans on the sides of trucks. For her, these are messages from the Universe. When she was working on her music album, a license plate saying "Rock Star" was a great thumbs up to keep going!
When I was living in New York City I always felt that running into someone I knew (in this city of millions) was more than just a random coincidence. I would look for what gift or message we had for each other. Or it would serve as an affirmation that I was on the right path. During the writing of my book, "Real Girl Real World: A Guide to Finding Your True Self," when we had received yet another rejection letter from a publisher, I took a chance meeting with a high school friend who had made it big in the music world as a great sign to just keep going. Dreams do come true and if he can do it, I can do it.
What signs do you see around yourself? Are there any synchronicities or coincidences that have been happening to you? What might they mean? Keep a journal for recording these occurrences and your insights about them. Also, take notice of any repetitive thoughts that are coming to you. Often we receive guidance through these quiet but consistent ideas. Pay attention, even if they seem random. The more you take notice, the more your soul will communicate through your surroundings and your own thoughts.
3. Stop "should-ing" yourself
Shoulds are guilt dressed up as Puritan work ethic. And they creep up on you. One day I was squeezing in a quick run to the grocery store that took me along the street where my gym was located and I caught myself thinking "You should go to the gym." But it was even nastier than that, it was more like, "You should go to the gym, you lazy bum." Ahh! As if it wasn't enough that I was already rushing to get one thing done, this "SHOULD" slams down on me about what I am not doing. No appreciation for what was getting accomplished but this never ending barrage of what still should be getting done.
When you catch yourself Should-ing, say to yourself "Thank you for sharing and I COULD do that, but right now I choose not to." It works magic, and puts the power back in your control. It also helps you get in touch with what you really want to be doing (important to our next step) and not the slave to some Puritan sitting on your shoulder that beats you up. When we keep following all the shoulds in our life we don't even know what we want to do!
4. Follow your heart. What do YOU want to do next?
Now that you have created some space, are watching for signs and have stopped hounding yourself about what you should do, notice what the intuitive part of yourself is expressing. Ask yourself (and be honest), what do you really want to do now? Maybe you want to simply take your favorite book and go to a local coffee shop and read. Do that. Or maybe you are craving some time in nature. Get outside.
You only need to take hold of the next rung on the ladder. You do not need to see the top. Our guidance is often just what to do next. In fact, Elizabeth Gilbert writes at the beginning of "Eat, Pray, Love", that when she was crying on the bathroom floor and asking for help from above, her inner voice said simply, "Go back to sleep." And she realized later, that the need for rest was the perfect guidance for her confused mind at that time.
You can never see the whole journey from your current vantage point. All is not revealed at once. Just do what is next for you to do. The more you do what's next, and what feels right, the more your path opens up and takes you to the most amazing places. So get started on your own magical journey, which is truly unique and perfect for you.
5. Raise your vibration through inspiration
Get to know what inspires you. What are the things that consistently put you in a happier, good vibes place? When you are sad, depressed, upset, tired or lethargic, it is difficult to be in touch with the magic flow of the universe. You need to raise your vibration so that you are in sync with that higher part of yourself that is waiting to open doors and show you the way. If you are complaining about someone, beating yourself up about something, or just in a funky funk, then you cannot access the guidance that is available. In fact, you should AVOID making decisions and taking important actions from a negative place. Do what ever it takes to get yourself feeling better.
Here are some of my favorites (borrow and add your own): journaling, writing up a gratitude list, walking in nature, listening to my favorite tunes, reading a book by an inspirational author (I always carry an inspiring book with me), taking a personal growth workshop, wearing something that makes me feel great, praying, watching Oprah, sending silent blessings to people, and seeing an uplifting movie.
There is so much more to say about this, but the most important thing is for you to begin adding inspirational practices into your life today. Notice what makes you feel better and surround yourself with these things. This will help you along the way, especially when you are entering into the sacred space you create from less doing.
Finally: Get started today!
Elizabeth Gilbert deepend her connection to spirit and her own truth by using a year to allow herself pleasure (Italian pasta!), connection to the divine (prayer in an ashram) and finally through immense gratitude (falling in love ☺.) Don't think that you need a year to do this for yourself. Start today! Learn to relish those times when you have an hour between one appointment and the next.
Magic happens when you have that extra time and you wander through a bookstore and find that perfect book. It's when you walk on a new street because you felt like it and end up running into someone you haven't seen in years who happens to be the perfect connection to something you are working on.
(c) 2008 Heather Gray
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