My best year vision is one of foundations – laying solid ground to build more on later. It’s about work, about storytelling, and graduate school, about self-care. My purpose thoughts circled around writing about my experiences of illness, and creation of empathy. I feel these thoughts like cats swerving and curling around my feet as I walk.
Would You Be Ready?
First, Ishita Gupta asks if questers would be ready for our dreams if they came true:
If what you desired most – the book deal, the mentor you’re scared to send the email to, the perfect partnership- what you’ve wished and prayed for – if it landed on your doorstep tomorrow, would you be ready for it?
As is my custom, I have to break this down into pieces. What do I desire most? What is it that I’ve wished and prayed for? Then, would I be ready if it landed on my doorstep tomorrow?
Through doing exercises like this for a long time, I’ve learned that the best way to root a desire in your heart is to be able to envision it. To not focus on the steps that it takes to get there, not for the desire. But to focus on the feeling and doing and sensation of success.
The one thing I desire most is to walk into a bookstore, peruse the shelves, and to pull a copy of a book I’ve written off the shelf. To hold that book in both of my hands, and see where it rests on a shelf, among which other books. To see how the cover looks and feels. The quality of the paper of the pages. How heavy it is in my hands.
This vision. This dream. This is the thing that moves me forward. I don’t think I’ve wished or prayed for it, but I sure as hell have worked toward it.
Would I be ready to go to that bookstore tomorrow? Yes.
The book on the shelf doesn’t mean I quit my day job. Most authors don’t make enough to do that, even successful mid-listers. The book on the shelf doesn’t mean I stop working, striving and learning. It doesn’t mean “I’ve arrived” anywhere, except to this first, essential vision. It changes nothing, really, except that it creates room for more visions. To be a public speaker. A few quests ago, I mentioned a TED talk in my future. The book becomes a stepping stone to those other things.
Then, Charlie Gilkey prompts questers to dream from our hearts, not our heads.
When prompted to dream, a natural default for many of us is to start thinking and end up in our head. We dream of logical possibilities, things we might do, places we might be, and so on.
What’s often left out of it, though, is how we feel. Since feeling drives action more than thought does, this is a major oversight and often leads to dreaming that never turns into action.
So, rather than dreaming from the head, I want to prompt you to dream from the heart. There are many ways to go about this, but choose one of the prompts below that tugs the most at you:
1) What do you want to feel at the end of 2018 that you currently don’t feel or don’t feel enough of? (Good: I want to feel excited about what I’m working on; not so good: I want to know what’s the right thing for me to focus on.)
2) When you look over or think about the items you’ve dreamed up for next year, which, if removed, causes you to wince or evokes some sense of pain or regret? Suggestion: get rid of all the optional items that don’t cause pain if they’re booted.
3) Place your hand on your heart. Imagine yourself at the end of next year. What calls to you? Pay more attention to what’s coming from your body than from your head. You’ll feel it. (Hat tip to Courtney Carver for the hand on your heart tip)
Gilkey has touched upon a pulse that many teachers in my world have been touching lately. How do you feel? What are the emotions surrounding this? I am super good at logical reasons and ideas and thoughts. I’m the best damned thinker! I don’t often have names for my emotional states, and sometimes it’s hard for me to get in touch with them. It takes a lot of actual work for me to access my emotions.
I fiddled with all three of these prompts, to start with. The first one seemed the easiest, but it’s easy to talk about feelings and not feel them. The second one was really hard. Pain arose from the idea of removing any one of the four basic elements of my 2018 to come (work, school, family, story). I’ve already boiled things down to the absolute essentials. I’m on a limited energy budget, I’m used to that. The third one? The third one surprised me.
The emotion that surprised me? The one that surged forth to say “ME”? Self-trust.
Whoa. I’m not just talking about this feeling “bubbling” up. It wasn’t a gentle tap on the shoulder. This feeling was a bear knocking me over, flat onto my rump.
I’ve got more to think about on this topic, but I don’t think I’m going to do it publicly on my blog. I’ll carry this one with me into Thursday and Saturday’s Quest instigations and prompts.