“If heaven is a happy place, then the happier
I am the closer I am to heaven.”
Sarah Curts at age 5
What would you do right now if you were joyful, passionate, vibrant?
This is the question I’ve been asking myself multiple times a day for the last several weeks. I’m someone who’s long struggled with lethargy, and amazingly it and all my bad habits have only gotten worse with pregnancy. I think I am not the first burgeoning mother to discover this, nor that previous tools I’ve used to successfully manage my inner state no longer work.
But some tools do.
In last month’s article I talked about focusing on the emotions you want to feel and letting these inspire your actions. This was a concept I’d thought I long understood and had even mastered, yet I discovered how little I had truly gotten it when I went to a workshop a few weeks ago led by Sarah Retzer (email@example.com), an apprentice of my teacher Joey Klein.
The workshop focused on how to create an effective vision, with an emphasis on the role emotions play in motivating behavior. It took this idea a step further and explained emotions as the building blocks of long-term vision.
Normally when people create a vision, they focus on what they want to have in their lives and the actions needed to get there. They rarely think about how they want to feel, but nobody would want something without the expectation that it will feel good to have. In fact, emotions are the core component of all visions, and the leading factor of all actions.
Emotions inspire thoughts which inspire actions. The results of those actions then cycle back into feelings (as your reaction to events), which inspire new thoughts and new actions, and so the wheel continues to turn. When people aren’t mindful of how they feel first, they can get caught in a cycle of feeling bad about their situation, trying to change it, being disappointed by the results, and trying again with a deeper sense of failure laid in. This is because how you feel at the start of an endeavor sets you up for how you will feel at the end.
Using the model Sarah taught, a vision starts with how you want to feel and actions you imagine taking when you feel that way. What happens as a result is held very lightly, to the point it ceases to matter as you get into a cycle of feeling good and doing things that help you feel even better.
Imagining what you want to happen as a result of your good feelings and actions can help you stay inspired and active at the beginning. Having a sense of “getting somewhere” can be very useful for focusing the mind and making the practice feel important.
For example, after the class with Sarah I decided I wanted to feel joyful in my relationship, passionate in my work, and vibrant in my body. In the future I imagine greater connection with my husband, a thriving business which involves public speaking and travel, and myself physically excelling in martial arts.
Every day when with my husband, I ask, “If I felt everything I want to feel in my relationship right now, what would I do?”
Every day when doing my work, I ask, “If I were fully turned on and passionate right now, what would I do?”
Every day when experiencing my body, I ask, “If I felt completely vibrant right now, what would I do?”
These questions are a guide to deeper connection with the life you want to lead, so it stops being a far off myth and becomes a current reality. For myself they have helped me find my sparkle again when I’d started to give up, thinking mindfulness techniques couldn’t outmatch pregnancy hormones. This technique shows just how powerful the mind is, and how it can determine your state no matter the conditions.
At the same time I feel the need to address the fact that sometimes we really don’t feel good about something and there can be many negative feelings and thoughts built up around a situation that don’t make it easy to switch to a joyful state. Or, in trying to feel good you deny or shut down how you really feel.
I will discuss what to do when you just don’t feel good about something in next month’s article. If you’d like help now, you can check out 20 Tips to Make Life Easier, my 99 cent ebook at Amazon.com, which has an entire section on working with thoughts and emotions.
For now, where you can start moving from a space of inner joy and peace, or whatever emotional experience you want for your life, do. You’ll sow the seeds of joy throughout your life and inspire many effective actions.