Welcome back, how are you progressing?
(If you’re new here, we’re in the middle of a review as we want to be sure that our dreams are supporting us – you can read more in my previous blogs).
To recap; over the past few weeks you’ve reviewed the garden of your dreams, identified what flourished & what didn’t, pulled out weeds & unhealthy plants & the soil is now ready for new planting. This week you’ll start to consider what your future garden might look like.
I appreciate that last week I asked you to take BIG action. If you’ve done everything I asked, well done, & if you’ve made a start well done too. If you haven’t quite finished everything, that’s okay. I suggest you start dreaming, BUT please schedule time to finish letting go of old dreams. As I’ve said several times before, there will be no room for new dreams until you make space for them in the same way that new plants can only grow once you’ve pulled out those which are no longer thriving.
You might be thinking that this is a lot of work especially in winter when you want to hibernate. Of course you don’t have to do any of this, you could continue as you are. Living in tune with your heart’s desire takes effort & you might prefer the easy way out. But before you decide to do that please take a few moments to answer this question:
How would my life change if I dedicated the same time & energy to my dreams now as I did to my dream of trying to become a mother?
Are you still with me, shall we start to look forward?
Are you ready to dream?
I want to be clear; I’m NOT asking you to set goals or resolutions. Instead I’ll be asking you to start to dream about what your life might be like in the future.
You’ll do this by answering the questions below. Well not so much answering them as taking your time over the next few weeks to ponder them.
I suggest that you put some time aside to do this, ensure you have no distractions & clear your mind first perhaps by meditating or taking a walk, whatever works for you.
I’d also ask you to be open minded & to dream big even if ideas seem impossible or crazy (or maybe especially if they do), there’s time to refine them later. Be open to everything which comes up.
What does my heart want?
The ultimate & perhaps only question to answer. I suggest that you first spend time looking what you’ve done in the last couple of weeks, maybe lay everything out in front of you.
Then in a quiet place, put your hand on your heart, take a few deep breaths & ask; ‘what does my heart want/what’s my heart’s deepest desire?’
Sit quietly until an answer emerges & maybe do this a few times over the coming weeks & be open to words popping into your consciousness at any time.
When I do this, what usually bubbles up are words which describe feelings, sometimes it’s things I want to do or places I’d like to visit, but mostly it’s words like peace, joy & love. They may come to you as an inner knowing, eg I had a feeling in a yoga class that embroidery will be part of my life.
And if this questions is too vague or challenge for you at the moment, here are some alternative questions, some of which are edited from Chapters 13 (Yes, You Can! Reclaiming Happiness and Joy) & 16 (What Story Are You Telling Now?) of my book, Finding Joy Beyond Childlessness.
What am I curious about?
Maybe you’ve heard people saying that you should follow your passion or purpose. Well that’s all very well if you know what they are, but many of us don’t.
Elizabeth Gilbert; in her book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear advises forgetting passion and instead following curiosity. She explains that passion can be a dangerous impulse as it takes everything from you, whereas curiosity only gives. It asks; is there anything you’re interested in? It could be anything, large or small, and it only has to capture your attention for a moment. This is a clue, and she advises turning your head a quarter of an inch and following it. Follow it a bit. If it really grabs your attention that’s great, and if it doesn’t, let it go, ask the question again and follow something else.
Following different clues may lead you nowhere, or it may lead you to your passion, but as she says, ‘You might spend your whole life following your curiosity and have absolutely nothing to show for it at the end – except one thing. You will have the satisfaction of knowing that you passed your entire existence in devotion to the noble human virtue of inquisitiveness. And that should be more than enough for anyone to say that they lived a rich and splendid life.’
Amen to that.
What do I want to create?
Being creative is fabulous way to bring more joy into your life, and it can also be a challenge to embrace. I used to have a narrow definition of creativity, and because of my lack of art skills, I believed I wasn’t creative. A few years ago, I shared this conclusion with a friend and she was aghast. ‘But you have a business, you write, you’re a great cook, you take fabulous photographs. Okay, maybe you can’t draw, but that doesn’t mean you’re not creative.’ I reluctantly agreed with her, and so began the scavenger hunt to find my creativity, which has brought more joy into my life than I ever thought possible.
Maybe there are things you’ve always dreamed of creating or others you loved to create as a child.
What have I always wanted to do/ places I’ve wanted to visit /experiences I’ve dreamed of having?
A wise friend asked me these questions & they’ve changed my life. Immediately I wrote down a short list & I’ve added to it since. I realised there were some dreams which I’d put to one side years ago, & others I’d decided to do ‘later.’ However if I’ve learned one thing these past couple of years it’s that there is no ‘later,’ the time is now.
Looking specifically at your answers to the previous weeks questions, ask yourself;
Who do I want to be? Which qualities do I want to develop?
Looking back at my achievements, what do I want more of in my life?
In which ways can I use my gifts?
Looking at my values, in which ways can I live true to them?
What my heart wants
Planning my life too far ahead has always been a challenge for me – or maybe life’s taught me that when I do, something usually throws my plans out of the window. In recent years my dreams have been more about paths I’ve been drawn to follow rather than end destinations.
The words ‘I learn by going where I have to go’ from this poem essentially describe what drives me. Exploring Yin Yoga felt like something I had to do & it’s opened up my life more than anything else I’ve done. It opened up many doors to potential future learning, my biggest challenge is which path of learning to choose.
They’ve also encouraged me to sign up to a couple of Yoga, Qigong & Traditional Chinese Medicine courses & workshops in the next few months. Each I felt they were things I had to do & how they fit into my life I’ll learn in time.
These past few years I’ve consciously followed my curiosity, with various levels of success but each experience has taught me something, even if it’s what I don’t like.
As a child I loved hand sewing & recently started again & I love it, especially embroidery. I’ve also explored making hand cream & candles & each time I try something new I get a huge sense of achievement especially when I make gifts for others. I have no idea whether any of these will be part of my life in the future, but for the moment I’m exploring.
I take huge inspiration from the words of Elizabeth Gilbert when she says, ‘I am going to spend as much time as I can creating delightful things out of my existence, because that’s what brings me awake and that’s what brings me alive.‘
Over to you
I hope you find these questions helpful & please don’t feel under pressure to answer them all. As I wrote earlier, the only one which matter is ‘what does my heart want/what’s my heart’s deepest desire?’
The blog will be back in around 5 weeks & I hope that by then you’ll have a good idea what your heart wants. In the interim if you have any observations or comments, or feedback on your progress, please leave a comment or drop me a line.