Re-Imagine Your Life – A Step by Step
You know the word…but, what does it mean? and what does remembering have to do with creating a future? or decluttering?
It means, to recall, recollect, bring to mind. To bear in mind, keep in mind, call to mind. You know, what you do when you are remembering.
But I’m not talking about the kind of remembering you do when you are looking for your car keys or trying to remember that dentist appointment. I’m talking about the kind of re-membering that re-connects you with you. The kind of re-membering that helps you connect with your core – your essential self.
The essential self is that place within from which connecting to people and things causes real happiness. It is the core from which all your senses come alive. Connecting with your essential self and your true desires is key to maintaining and sustaining an environment that feels good and creates harmony in your life. After all the work you will be putting into decluttering your space, you definitely will want to be able to maintain your vision.
To successfully declutter your space you need to have a vision of what you want it to look like. That vision will come from your essential self. Connecting with your essential self and your true desires in the midst of everything that “pulls” you away from listening to your inner wisdom can be tough.
Two well known strategies for hearing your inner voice are to go on a retreat or to make sure to get up an hour earlier than everyone else in your household for quiet meditation. Both of these strategies work especially when there is an experienced guide to take you on the journey.
The trouble with going on retreat is we often come down from the mountain-top and do not have a well established habit to continue the experience. As to quiet time in the morning there are lots of ways to use that time – prayer, yoga, just being still to get your thoughts together for the day. You may have a routine set already.
The process I am going to share with you can be done during that quiet time or anytime you can set aside without distraction. It is like going on a personal retreat. But before we go there let’s get back to the idea of Remembering and why that is so important to this process.
One of my first encounters with really getting in touch with my essential self and the my inner wisdom happened years ago at a beautiful retreat center tucked away in remote Minnesota.
As I sat cross-legged on the gleaming hardwood floor, fresh out of college and seeking my heart’s desire, I hoped for the perfect “download” of wisdom and technique I would need to become the best of the best. I thought I had come there to become an accomplished mime performer – to learn the art of “illusionary” performance.
The Teacher, an amazing mime and Methodist minister, spoke of the importance of remembering. The art and act of performing required remembering who we were, what was important, and what we believed would gift others. We had to Remember. He described remembering as an act of putting something back together again.
As I re-member my experience in that place, I am awash in memories of creative, colorful people, movement, conversation without words, terrifying moments of clarity, and much joy.
Mime school morphed to interpreter training school, work as an interpreter, work in human services, training, career development and coaching.
Fast forward – it is 2017. I made the career decision to “retire” after 28 years from my role in a non-profit to embark on my next journey. Making that decision took alot of introspection and remembering who I am at heart, what I want for my life, and how I want to contribute to my family and other people.
You’ve come to Didi’s Korner because you are ready to make some big changes. You may have been thinking about it for some time, planning it, or your life may have taken you by surprise and it’s time to take a closer look.
Whatever the impetus, you are in the right place. You can design your next steps and create your own retreat space. You can do this by following some simple steps.
The “Reimagine your Life” exercise below is my rendition of the Design Your Life exercise developed by Dave Ellis in his book Falling Awake. I have found the process to be extremely beneficial. I also highly recommend attending one of Dave Ellis’ Falling Awake workshops if you ever have the chance. He and his team are phenomenal.
Here You Go:
- Set aside a space and time that you know you will not be interrupted.
- Get a stack of unlined 3 x 5 index cards and select your favorite colored pen or sharpie. If you don’t have any cards or don’t have a favorite pen, treat yourself to one. You might want to buy several packets of index cards to have ready.
- Go to a that quiet space with your cards and pen, pick a comfortable chair, and settle in.
- Begin by taking a few long, slow deep breaths. Be aware of yourself in your surroundings. Relax and breathe. Close your eyes.
- Holding your cards vertically in one hand and your pen poised in the other, ask yourself, “What do I really have to have, be or do in this lifetime?”
- Let that question sink in. Breathe in and out, be still.
- As thoughts, ideas, goals come to mind write each one down in the middle of the card, one idea or thought to a card.
- This is not the time to save on cards, be economical or worry about putting more debris into the landfill. Use as many cards as you need for as many thoughts and ideas as come to mind.
- Keep writing. If you feel stuck or don’t know what to write, write that down and go to the next card. It’s a bit like free association…when you get one idea or block out of the way more ideas will surface.
- Write down everything that comes to mind, no matter how small or seemingly outrageous or grandiose. This is not the time to edit or decide you can or cannot do it. Just be with what you discover you want.
- Once you have written as much as you think you can, ask yourself, “If I could think of anything else what would it be?”
- Write down your answers, one answer to a card.
- When you are all done, take a deep breath and notice how you feel. Do you feel exhilarated or surprised at the amount of ideas or goals you have? Do you feel empty or excited? Notice what you feel and where you feel it in your body.
- Take another breath and acknowledge yourself for all the great work you just did. If you have a connection to a Higher Power give thanks.
- Now, reread your cards one at a time and let your ideas soak in. You may want to spread them out in front of you.
- This is a good time to put them in categories – things you want to be, have, do for yourself and things you want to be, have, do with people important to you.
- Put them into categories or piles of things to do right now, or in the next 30, 60, or 90 days. Group together things you want to do over the next few years or in your lifetime.
Keep your index cards handy and in a safe place to revisit. I like to call my box of cards the Treasure Box. You have created a treasure trove of what is most important to you and are in a great place to set goals for now and in the future.
Take your cards out every so often to see what you have accomplished and what you want to do next. You can also keep a stack of blank index cards available to do a “mini” brainstorming session with your Self as you work through the goals you have set. I keep a stack on my desk to “think” with and use them regularly.
When you create your life by design you come into alignment with your essential self. When that happens you will know what you like and love. When you live from that place, you create an energy that positively impacts every aspect of your health and life – mental, physical, and spiritual – it all improves. You might discover any number of new directions as you play with this exercise.
Doing the Re-Imagine Your Life exercise is a great way to create Real Connection with people you love too. Using this process with your kids or significant other and sharing what you came up with is great fun and often incredibly enlightening. It’s a fun way to share ideas and dreams for the future. And a great way to garner support for changes you want to make.
Let me know how this worked for you or if you have ideas or suggestions on how to make it better.