Last Monday I was deep in procrastination mode. By 9:45 I had already checked Facebook 11 times, answered every possible email, folded some random laundry, checked all my favorite blogs and researched the health benefits of hemp seeds. So I started cleaning out my desk. I began sorting through the tons of important stuff (aka 'crap') that gets stuck in there. Among the artifacts inside: 4 old wallets, an ancient asthma inhaler, a 1st generation iphone, expired coupons to the hardware store and an old list I'd written on a piece of notebook paper. Remarkably the paper had survived major moves through 3 cities and 25 years. It was a list of all the things I hoped for when I "grew up".
It included many things like travel to Hawaii, live in an apartment in New York City, have a great job that I love, marry a good guy whose jeans are bigger than mine, live in a comfortable craftsman house, experience childbirth and create a strong community of friends and neighbors where I could dig in deep.
As I read through the list I realized something amazing: In some form or another nearly every item had come true.
I had unwittingly mapped out much of my own life - years before it actually happened.
I lived in several apartments in NYC. I had a super fun career in music & film. I married a great guy who I met when I travelled to Hawaii, and his jeans are way too big for me. I got to have not just one but two awesome kids. I have incredible friends, an active social life, a kick-ass book group, and many other cool extracurricular activities.
Am I lucky? Yes. Blessed? Yes. Grateful? Absolutely.
But this is bigger than luck.
We humans are far more powerful than we think. We - each one of us - have the power to create the lives we want. And my list proved that to me.
I realized that I didn't just imagine how I wanted my life to look, I also imagined how I wanted it to feel.
I wanted my life to feel warm, cozy and safe but exhilarating and full of love, beauty, exploration and fun. For me, the way to those feelings was to envision the things on my list.
In Coach Training I learned how to ask myself hard questions and, more importantly, how to Pay Attention to the answers. The answers are not always big "Aha" moments. Sometimes they start as simple feelings of recognition or a tingle in the gut.
You know how you may be reading something or having a conversation or experiencing art/nature/music and you get that excited little shiver of "yes!"? That's a clue to pause and take notice.
What is it about that website/conversation/painting/person that makes you feel "yes"?
What flavor of "yes" is being served up and how can you start tasting that flavor right away?
Equally important: Paying Attention to the "hell no!'s".
The clues and affirmations are always there whenever we truly Pay Attention.
What are the feelings you want to have in your life?
If you crave more freedom in your life what can you do to feel free today? If you want more peace how can you feel peaceful today? Get into your desired feeling states as much as possible and see what happens.
If you begin there and build your own list, you can start to create the life you want.
It may not unfurl in the exact way you think it will, but try and let go of the "hows" and the "shoulds" and see what happens.
Keep chasing the feeling and it will lead you home.
My own list pretty much ended after "have kids and find a great community in which to raise them". It seems that although I had envisioned my life up to this point, I forgot to plan any further.
This past weekend I made a new list. It includes things like build a fun and successful business for myself, collaborate with people I respect and admire, re-define what it means to be 50 and beyond (#f*ck50!), go on a yoga retreat to Mexico, create more of an edible garden for me and my family, rescue another dog and write a little book.
My original list had only 3 things left undone:
1) go to the Greek islands
2) sail on a yacht
3) be a philanthropist
I like feeling adventurous, luxurious and kind, so I'm rolling these over. Because apparently I am a powerful creator. And so are you!