If you’ve been reading this blog on a regular basis, you know by now that I love finding things I’ve written down in the past–like goals, wishes, and secret desires. It’s a way of reminding me to respect the journey that I’m on, that all things happen in due time.
Even though I’ve made some exciting life decisions in the past 3 months, like leaving my job and going back to school, it’s all still a little bit scary. Sometimes I feel like I’m flailing with no grounding whatsoever. Or, even worse, consumed by paralysis. I recently came across a “personal mission statement” or vision statement I had created for myself about a year and a half ago. It helped me get some much-needed perspective.
As I was reading it, a question popped into my head and I knew that by answering it, I would be one step closer to feeling grounded and excited about what the future holds:
In the end, what is most important?
My answer was immediate: I want to inspire and bring joy to people, and, somehow, make their lives better and easier.
I knew I was making progress about getting closer (and clearer) to what I want by being able to answer this question without hesitation. And, surprisingly, I knew it was a step in the right direction when I was able to answer it in a very general sense. I didn’t feel the need to get bogged down in what specific job or career I wanted.
There is a lot of information out there about creating a vision statement for your life, but I find this one (which takes its lead from The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People) to be the easiest and most fun:
It takes you through a series of questions and then creates a mission statement based on your answers. Your vision of your life is constantly changing as you grow, learn new things, make mistakes, etc. But the key is to keep moving forward and keep what is most important in the forefront of your mind, always serving your true values.
Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive.
And then go and do that.
Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
One of the things that has been on my “to-do” list recently is to create a daily meditation practice. It’s pretty much always been on my list, but especially so since I’ve been going through a big transition. For years I meditated on a regular basis, but it never became a steadfast habit, and it quickly went from something I did to something I should do. This weekend I went to a meditation workshop in the hopes of getting some tips on setting up a meditation practice and getting back into a routine.
Here are some things that stuck with me:
- Meditation can be about setting an intention to start your day, whether it be with an open heart, calm, quiet centeredness, or anything in between
- If it’s hard to just sit down and start meditating, spend a few moments writing down what you are grateful for before you begin
- For the process and effects to stay with you, spend a minute after meditating to reflect on what you noticed or any feelings or thoughts that came up for you
You don’t have to be in the midst of major changes to benefit from meditation, or any grounding ritual. Do you have a morning routine or ritual that sets you for your day? I’d love to hear them so please share in the comments!
In March I took an online class called Mondo Beyondo with Andrea Scher and Jen Lemen. It was all about dreaming big. I think this class indirectly influenced so many of the big changes in my life right now.
One of the activities we were asked to do was set a theme for our upcoming year and write it in a secret place. I’m a sucker for things like this. I love finding secret wishes months later. There’s something easy on the soul about writing something down and then forgetting about it.
My themes were (because I can never be satisfied with just one): trust and rest. These are quiet themes, nothing like adventure or joy or passion. But, digging deep, I knew these were the themes I needed to meditate most on.
And now that I’m in transition, moving in with the boyfriend, quitting my job and freelancing from home, and soon going back to school to teach theatre, so many worried thoughts have a way of popping up. It’s so easy sometimes to get caught up in the fear. Fear of making the wrong decision, fear of change, and fear of not being able to do something the way you want. And when these little anxious thoughts pop up, I’ve tried to remember my theme. Trust that it’s all unfolding exactly as it should be. Not necessarily perfectly.
I’ve mentioned before that I have a hard time slowing down. With all the changes, I’ve barely had a chance to take a breath. Or, maybe, I haven’t given myself permission to take a rest. This weekend I found myself with SO MUCH TIME and nothing planned. I felt a bit of panic set in. All of my feelings about slowing down or resting came out in full force. “But I don’t want to look like I’m being lazy,” and “What will I tell people I did this weekend?” and “Now’s the time to get to some of those things on my long to-do list.” So what did I do this weekend? I went on a long search for a basil plant, I fell asleep reading a book and took a long nap, I took up residence in a Starbucks for an afternoon, ran into a friend and we had a lovely magical afternoon talking, and I had a picnic with Dave with a beautiful view of the Manhattan skyline.
Sometimes adventures, joy, and passion can simply come out of taking a breath and trusting it’s all happening as it should be.
I added a few new blogs to my blogroll that I’m particularly excited about.
Check them out:
Brene Brown’s Ordinary Courage blog. She’s most known for her TED talk on vulnerability.
Betsy Capes of Capes Coaching is a major inspiration for me and she’s started a new blog that I am devouring.
I’ve been jumping through this blog for quick spurts of inspiration about how to stay calm, create nurturing habits, and make creative changes.
Are there any blogs you visit daily? Share them in the comments. I’m always on the lookout for a quick bite of inspiration!
“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.” – Steve Jobs, Wired Magazine, 1996
They say that some of the most stressful events in life are changing a job and moving. Within just a few days of each other, I did both. I knew it would be difficult.
When I first moved to New York back in the day, cell phones were not part of the everyday fabric of life, and acting auditions were found in Backstage–on the newsstands every Thursday. I remember reading an article in Backstage about how resilient actors are because their lives are constantly in flux. Actors are always looking for a new job, their schedules are ever-changing, and many live in different cities throughout the year while on tour.
My first few years here were in constant motion, but along the way, I seemed to settle down. Up until this summer, I was living in the same apartment for 10 years (nearly unheard of in New York) and had the same day job for 4 years.
I wanted to see myself as the resilient actor who embraces and thrives off changes. The first thing I did, though, was to try to create a new routine. My life felt chaotic (and most assuredly the reason why it took me nearly two months to get back to writing this blog). I didn’t know what to do with all the new freedom I had, and the new environment I was now living in. Instead of embracing and thriving, I was now grasping for any kind of routine I could get my hands on.
I quit my job because I was feeling stagnant and I felt like small changes weren’t making an impact. I needed something big, something that would renew my spirit, and ultimately wake me up to the life that was waiting for me. I decided to apply for my Masters to teach Theatre and I knew that a corporate day job had no part in the new vision of myself.
Today as I took a long walk without any destination, a question popped into my mind, “Is it possible to just “be” with the chaos?” If there’s ever a moment to be present, it is now. The routine will make itself quickly known, but it’s rare to be in a position to create a life the way you want it. A clean slate. I can choose when to set the alarm (or not), I can choose what pictures I want on the blank wall (well, with my boyfriend’s input, of course!), and I can choose to take a deep breath as I step into another chapter of my life.