Are you living true to your dreams? Are you clear what they are? These were the questions that arose within me as I read this quote.
A couple of years ago now I did a reflective writing exercise that went something like this.
If everything in your life, starting from today, exceeded your most optimistic expectations, what would your life be like in 5 years time?
– How would you be feeling about yourself and your life?
– What would you be doing?
– Where would you be living?
– How would the people close to you describe you?
At first, I didn’t know where to begin. Then as I started to write I found my head saying things like ‘that’s unrealistic, you can’t put that’. But the instruction was very clear. Don’t limit yourself in any way! It is asking for your MOST OPTIMISTIC expectations. Let yourself dream big. Because the science now tells us that we actually have predictive brains and we tend to predict the future based on the past and then unconsciously go about behaving in ways that will just create the past again. So, it is very important for us to allow our mind to re-imagine our future without all the self-limiting beliefs and experiences for the past holding us back. Even knowing this I still found it hard!
I spent 15-20 minutes allowing all of my dreams to be written on a piece of paper. My dreams around my career. Around my relationships. My family. Having a house by the beach. My financial situation. The type of person I am – how I show up in the world. How I feel about myself as a human being, a woman, a friend, a mother, a partner. Most of my focus was on how I felt about each of these, versus the specific detail.
The recipe I was then taught was:
1. Write it down – get very clear, just like the above exercise
2. Share it – it takes on a whole new meaning to say it out loud, to share it with friends, family, colleagues. It can feel like the scariest part as it is like you are putting a stake in the ground. Making a commitment to yourself. And then providence kicks in and all kinds of wonderful synchronicities and offers of support can arrive.
3. Take action – say yes and no to things that align or don’t align with your vision for yourself, for your life. Take the first step.
4. Hold yourself gently & kindly with great self-compassion through the ups and downs, the challenges that will arise as you move towards them.
I followed this process completely and 2 years later, to the month, after reading this quote, I pulled what I wrote out this week and I am in awe of how much of what I wrote has already come true for me. My incredible friend and business partner, Heather arrived into my life, Authentic Woman has been birthed, my romantic partner arrived, last week we bought a home on the beach together (which exceeded my most optimistic expectations!), my son is thriving, I am thriving. I am living more authentically and a deeply meaningful life every day. And there were MANY challenges and much growth along the way. I have been on a deep and transformational journey of compassionate self-awareness and finally begun to like who I am, sometimes even love who I am. Some of my dreams were lofty and some of my dreams were simple and I feel the grace and gratitude that comes from living them on a daily basis.
With great warmth Jo