Purposeful Wanderings - Bradford L. Glass - January 2022
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver
I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. They don’t work; they don’t work because they rely on willpower. If you want to make profound change in life, willpower is one of the weakest forms of consciousness energy available. Human consciousness has evolved with many different levels. Some we use every day, often without awareness. Others we may not even know exist. (You don’t need the same consciousness to clean a closet as you do to solve a problem.) The power to create and live a life you love is found in the ability to access higher levels, consciously and consistently. This takes awareness and practice. Here’s a snapshot of two very different ways you might see the upcoming year … as well as your desires for personal change. How you use your consciousness a choice.
· If you wake up every day and do just as you did every day last year, it should be no surprise to you that the next 365 days will look alarmingly like the last 365. This is why things generally stay the same for us, year after year … because that’s what we do – the same as yesterday. This approach is fueled by a [lower] level of consciousness that says, “that’s the way life is; I have no other choice.” If you believe it as so, it becomes so. (Of course, if 2021 was your “best year ever” and you couldn’t imagine better, then keep doing what you’re doing.)
· Or … you could wake up today and realize that 2022 hasn’t been invented yet. As of this writing, not even one day of it has gone by; the slate is 100% clear for the next 365 days. You may then ponder the year ahead and realize that you are its inventor … how the year goes for you is entirely up to you. It is here that you open the door to higher levels of consciousness, the ones that truly do allow you to “dream your world into being.” And it’s here that you also notice how your lower levels of consciousness scream, “nonsense,” and try to pull you back to resigning yourself to “just the way life really is.” [Are you hearing those voices right now? No, really?]
Perhaps a key word above is “realize,” as awareness seems to be one thing that keeps us from our own limitless potential. If you could see this day, and the entire year, consciously – as clean slates – imagine the possibility you represent to create “what could be,” as opposed to a less-conscious resignation to “what is.” [Really, just imagine.]
I’m not in denial here … of commitments, obligations or tradition … or even “motivators” like guilt, resentment and anxiety. But – if you envision bigger possibility in life – it sure seems worth it to even consider the idea that you already have what it takes … to create a year that matters, to make a difference, to manifest joy, to make your life dream come true, to be your true self. Just know that willpower won’t create that; but envisioning will.
So … what if … what if (1) you could be aware enough of all the judgment your lower levels of consciousness levy on your mind, so that (2) you could hold those judgments in abeyance, even for long enough, so that, (3) you could consciously envision how 2022 could be your most wonderful year ever, and (4) you could paint in details of how your best year ever would bring you meaning, joy, peace, satisfaction, or whatever experience you long for, and (5) you could be with that imagined experience for long enough that it created energy inside you, and (6) you could allow that energy to seep into every crevice of your being. OK, so at this point you may see this as only an imaginative game. But if you were to try this out, and believe in the beauty of your dreams, you might just find how the world’s creative geniuses manifested their potential … using exactly this same power of consciousness, to include J. K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame, Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Gandhi, M. L. King, and even hard-core science people like Galileo and Einstein. Every one of them envisioned a world that previously didn’t exist … and by the power of their consciousness, created that world … making it real, for themselves and for others.
So … what do you think about your 2022? Will it be the same as 2021? Will it be a manifestation of your dreams? Or will it start as a conscious dream and then lose energy to the continual yammering of a discontented world and a powerful unconscious mind? Only you can decide. Only you can choose if your commitment to awareness and practice of new possibility will overcome the draining energy of habituated thinking.
Exercise: Setting the Table. (from my June 2021 newsletter). Sit quietly, in a place free of distraction. Let your mind calm. Imagine you have the power to “set the table” of your future in exactly the way you’d like life to unfold. (You do.) Start by seeing the table as empty – nothing at all on it. Your future hasn’t been invented yet; for now, nothing exists except your inner truth. Allow yourself to be with this image for a while. “Clear the table.”
Now, set the table, with a life you’d love. It’s your life, so all you need here is energy that’s already inside you (your deepest longing, for example). Name the one most important thing you’d like your life to embody. It could be an idea, like “freedom,” or an activity, like “meaningful work,” or “connection with nature.” Allow what’s unique in you the room to play. Remember: it’s an exercise!! Absorb the feeling of this being the core of your life. Then ask what’s the next most important. Keep going, one at a time, allowing the energy of your inner truth to surface, be “felt,” then become part of an expanding whole. (P.S., You don’t have to fill the table!)
You don’t need space on the table for everything in your life today. The point of this exercise is to “dream an ideal life into being.” Why would you put toxic people, bills, resentments or meaningless work on the table if the idea is to create a life that brings you joy? You wouldn’t. Remember: it’s an exercise. Nothing goes on the table unless you want it there! As the picture of a life you’d love emerges, embrace it, feel it, fall in love with it. You need “sell” your ideal life to only one person – you! As you do this exercise regularly, its energy grows.
Now, as you re-enter “today’s reality,” notice how this exercise proved you have the power to choose where you put your energy. (You chose to do the exercise!) This means, despite life’s “stuff,” you also have the power to take one step toward your vision every day. Try it out! As a way to guide you, notice that because you have the power to imagine a life you love, you also have the power to become the life you love. It’s the same power – conscious choice, fueled by awareness. If you believe someone can stop you, why did you put them on the table?
Life Lessons from Nature: When I walk the mountains, I’m emotionally held by a connection I feel with the land. Wilderness is compelling: I’m enveloped by nature’s jewels – rich earth, soft mosses, big hemlocks, a rushing stream, a waterfall, birds singing, leaves rustling in the breeze, a splashing waterfall growing louder as I approach. At the summit, however, my world changes. My focus moves from the close-at-hand to big picture; from the peak I see a larger world. It was always there, but now it emerges into view. What captivates me here is relationship. I see forests instead of trees. I see how rivers cut and sculpt the land, how mountains and valleys coalesce to create the tapestry we call landscape. It’s not just the “stuff” of nature that holds meaning and beauty. The relationships among the parts of the whole open up new possibilities. When I’m walking in the woods, I may want to save a turtle in his seemingly risky journey across my path. But when I’m at the summit, I want to save landscapes, to cherish how it all fits together, to imagine how it was all created, and to wonder what possibilities may come next.
Book of the month: Daring Greatly, by Brené Brown. Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness … cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up and think, no matter how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, yes, I’m imperfect and often afraid, but I’m brave and worthy of love and belonging. And if you’re on Cape Cod, you’ll find this book at the Market Street Bookshop in Mashpee Commons; 508-539-6985.