With spring in the air and our new year’s resolutions made a few months back, it’s a great time to review how the seeds we planted at the start of the year are progressing.
Is your 2018 bringing you happiness? Whilst saying that happiness is our sole human purpose, the Dalai Lama says it’s “…not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.”
So here are three questions you can ask to help you check in on your journey.
1) What am I manifesting?
What did you hope for, and are your efforts bringing you what you intended?
Go back to what brought you to setting that resolution. Progress feel good? Great.
Not so much? Ok, do a little more to get into your big picture. What was the intention you resolved to meet in the first place? Draw it – make it real. I’m not kidding, get the crayons out and vision it in pictures.
Now you’ve got a clearer idea of where you’re headed. Decide which of your present actions are walking you along the right path, and which actions might be holding you back. Often, we get in our own way, create too much complexity unnecessarily. Decide what isn’t useful, and work towards letting it go.
Putting yourself back into your vision will help you see how to get back on track – maybe you need to prioritise your energies, change a habit or routine, put some dates in the diary or simply give yourself some kindness. Water those seeds every day.
Take 5 minutes each day to journal what you’ve been up to and take note which of those activities have taken you further. And remember, as Joe Sabah, writes, “You don't have to be good to start ... you just have to start to be good!”
If you’re the kind of person that’s talked yourself out of it before even getting the crayons out, maybe it’s a confidence thing. Know that you are already enough. We all are. Every. Single. Person. Build your efforts on what you know you do well, or even just ok, and celebrate even the smallest win. Take a photo, tick a list or do a little dance.
If you’ve given it your best effort, maybe been pretty successful already and your results aren’t hitting the spot – re-evaluate. Just because you said you’d do something, doesn’t mean you have to see it through if it turns out not to be what you truly want. Chalk it up to useful learning and rather than seeing failure, see feedback.
2) How am I sustaining my efforts?
There are many elements to a balanced life and you can cut your life pie in many ways. Key areas would include things like work, family, money, health (hopefully not in that order!). Like pillars they hold you up. They’re also a hella work! If one is more cared for causing others to be forgotten, we get out of balance. We need balance. If you’re limping to your Easter hols, one eye in a constant twitch, then maybe you could scale back your efforts or set a longer deadline - up the self-care.
Doodle your life pie, give a segment to each one of your key areas. And then give each area a score out of ten, colour it in and take a step back. Make sure all your seeds are getting enough light.
Attaining a dream or resolving to a different way of being, if it’s true to you, should feel effortless, fun even. There’s always work to do and changes to make but balance won’t come from a place of tension. If it’s not completely effort-less than it should at least not be effort-ful and straining.
Ramana Maharishi said that ‘Happiness is your nature, it is not wrong to desire it. What is wrong is seeking it outside when it is inside’. You’ve got what it takes to get there. But if your efforts are having a negative impact on another area of your life, or other people in your life, it’s going to be one hard slog. Manifesting what you want and pushing through ears may well come with necessary turbulence, just be sure you can level the wings and float into ease. Its helps to make an agreement with yourself to stick to it, ask for support, adjust your timetable to fit it in - like standing on one foot, balance is a dynamic ever shifting thing.
3) What am I learning?
Trust that you can achieve it - if you can dream it, know that you have the ability to make it real. Align your actions to your big picture and you’ll find a path between ease and effort. If you’re really not sure about yourself, fake it until you make it and prove to yourself that you have what it takes.
Van Gough said that ‘normality is a paved road. It’s comfortable to walk but no flowers grow on it’. If you’re struggling with discipline, take smaller steps. If you’ve put too much on your plate, re-prioritise.
Importantly, pay attention to the way you are approaching the tasks at hand and make adjustments. Keep track of what you’re learning and how your mindset is helping or hindering - how are your green shoots pushing up through the ground, which are leaning toward the sun, does your pot needs to be turned?
Take note note of how your seedling intention changes shape and clarity as you act in its direction. Treat your learning like you do your celebrations, take a photo, tick a list or do a little dance.
How ever well you think you are doing and whether you are able to give yourself pep-talks or being self-critical, connect to what you are learning. Listen in to your own experience and see how else you’re growing. There’s a whole life pie to be eaten.
As summer draws near, what life pie ingredients will be growing higher? See, hear and feel it - create a Pinterest board, Spotify playlist or space in your home dedicated to it.
Happy gardening, I’ll leave you with these words from Lao Tzu -
“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”
A long serving Londoner, Phoebe is a qualified practitioner in Neurolinguistic Programming, life coach and yoga teacher, and experienced singer songwriter. She’s been leading workshops in a range of personal development topics and supporting people to achieve their goals for over 15 years. She teaches and sings regularly in North London and all around the world. You can find her over on instagram, facebook