Wouldn’t It Be Cool If…

Do you allow yourself room to dream? To release all the normal restrictions you accept in your life and run with wild abandon, giving yourself the chance to expand into your best, biggest life?

I know what my normal answer to these questions is…no, I don’t.

For me, this begs for an important awareness to rise to the surface of my life. An awareness that asks, “Why not, why don’t you?” It asks not in a mean-spirited way; it just wants to know my answer.

I suppose there are many reasons and if you are at all like me, they start with, not enough time, too many other obligations, it feels too selfish, not enough money and the list goes on.

Maybe it’s simpler than that.

Maybe I’m just plain scared to live my best, biggest life. Maybe you are too.

Enter Marie Forleo. If you don’t know about her, you’re in for a treat. One of my last trips to our public library I checked out her audiobook, Everything is Figureoutable. It takes a little bit to get past the title being kind of weird, but every moment of the book is well worth it. Marie has fabulous things to share with readers/listeners and fills the pages with her personal stories and insights.

Every time I read or listen to a book, attend a retreat or workshop, or watch a movie or TV show, I’m attentively waiting for some gold to come my way. Something that will help open my world and set me free.

I’ve come to believe that one will always be there and that was certainly the case in listening to Marie’s audiobook. She mentioned that one of the exercises she recommends is writing down an answer to this statement,” wouldn’t it be cool if…”.

I admit, I was intrigued by this. I didn’t do it immediately, but I filed it away for when I could spend some quality time with it.

When I eventually decided it was time, I got out my journal and sat quietly and waited for what desires came into my heart and mind that wanted to be expressed through me.

It was a deluge, one coming after another, along with a string of images. It was an immediate ‘high’ and I sensed how fantastic it would be if they all came true. In the moments it took to create the list of wonderful ideas I felt no need or desire to critique, edit or modify my answers. They just tumbled out and gave their light to me.

It doesn’t seem important to share my list with you because the point of the exercise is for you to give birth to your own personal ideas and dreams. To let them take a step or two into the world through you.

So, are you game?

Would you like to sit in the quiet of your own heart and mind and ask yourself to envision your world by asking, “wouldn’t it be cool if…?”

What would you write down? What would expand you and broaden your life and allow your inner fire to flare up into acts of creation and joy?

I liked the idea so much that I now have a note I keep that reminds me to answer this question each month. I think it will be very enlightening to see my responses side by side and witness the changes that occur in and through me.

I encourage you to explore this idea and see what happens in your life as your dreams become real.

Exercise One- Seeing Beneath the Surface

An idea came to me that it might be fun to include exercises that readers could choose to do as part of this adventure. So, I thought that maybe after every twenty posts, I’d offer you one.

I hope you like the idea.

Here’s how the first exercise goes. You can use any size paper you like. A standard notebook page will work well. Begin by turning your paper so it goes lengthwise and make five columns, labeling them as follows; Concern, Reason, Reaction, Deeper Reason, Benefit(s).

Let me explain and then share an example to get you started. I find this exercise rewarding and have made positive shifts as a result of spending some time with it.

In the first column you write down some issue or concern that is troublesome for you. This may only take a few words, but write whatever you need to define the issue.

The second column identifies the reason or reasons why the issue concerns you. You may need to list several reasons or it may be as simple as one.

In the reaction column, write down how you respond to the issue. Consider your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual reactions.

Column four is an opportunity to go deeper and explore what might be beneath the reasons you initially identified. This is often where the shifts begin, so give yourself a little extra time with this one.

Hopefully you find there are benefits that arrive from this exercise and you can note them in column five. A great focus here is to allow yourself to see what positive outcomes are created by shifting your perspective.

So, that’s the set up. Now for the example.

Although I’d like to think of myself as a pretty tolerant individual, I have to admit that when I’m driving, there are lots of things other drivers do that bother me.

So, my column one lists…slow drivers.

In order to better understand myself and find a way to deal with this ongoing problem, I have to ask myself, why does this bother me?

My answer for column two is…because it wastes my time and keeps me from getting places when I expect to get there.

And my reactions in column three are…a great deal of sighing, inner irritation, drumming on the steering wheel and maybe some inappropriate language.

There has been a great deal of predictability to this. Certainly, more than I would like. That’s why the next step is so important to me. It’s where you get a chance to open up and ask to receive clarity. For some, the asking will be internal, while others will open to the divine for support and guidance.

For me in this case, I asked Lia (the part of god that appears as the divine feminine, also known to me as Love In Action, or simply Lia).

I sat still, slowed my breathing, calmed my mind and asked Lia for help to see beneath the surface.

Here’s what appeared in column four…what came was an image I recognized immediately. It was a car accident I was in. I was sitting waiting for the traffic light to turn green and was rear-ended by a pickup truck traveling 30 mph. It never slowed down and hit me so hard it shoved me through the entire intersection.

Wow, I knew this meant something big.

Enter column five. What was the benefit in seeing this image that lived beneath the surface…I realized that when I’m in my car and on my way somewhere, I’m impatient to get there because, without consciously knowing it, I’m afraid. I want a smooth ride with no interruptions. I don’t want anyone slowing me down and preventing me from getting to where I’m going. And, I don’t want to be in another accident. I want to be safe.

The benefit of seeing at this depth is that I can modify my behavior and reactions. When I get in the car I can tell myself to relax, take my time, enjoy the scenery, be patient, and realize I am loved and cared for.

Sometimes it takes a while before I can see beneath the surface, but, I’ve found it is always time well spent.

I’d love to hear what happens for you, if you decide to try this.

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Kindness

Here’s an opportunity to try something new. To open a door in your world and see where it leads. What beautiful shift might occur in your outlook if you allowed yourself some freedom. Freedom to explore some new spiritual practices. Ones that appeal to you and offer hope and excitement and a sense of connection, perhaps to an inner part of you or perhaps to what you think of when you hear the word, ‘divine’.

Ready? I’m going to assume that you said ‘yes’, and I’ll keep going.

Although there are literally hundreds of directions we could go, let’s take just one step and see what happens.

Spiritual practices offer us every possible direction, so we can go inside or stay outside. For this exercise, let’s do both at the same time.

It will be fun. I promise.

So here it is…spend a little time and create an “intentional act of kindness plan” for the next seven days. I say, “intentional”, rather than the more common term of “random”, because I believe the creation of a plan IS “intentional”. You’re doing it “on purpose”, not with a specific idea of how it will turn out, but because you want to be present and somewhat purposeful.

I’m going to suggest that you start out with creating ideas. What acts of kindness come to your mind. Just let them pop into your head and write down a bunch of ideas that appeal to you. Once you have them captured, say each one out loud and see which ones your heart is drawn to.  Make a list of 3-5 ideas (or more) that you want to put into practice during this week.

Once you have your list, imagine what you need in order to perform these acts of “intentional kindness”. Remember that they can cost you nothing or something. That part is entirely up to you.

How are you going to create some magic for someone else? Who will it be? When will you do these things? Plan it out a bit, but not too much. This isn’t intended to be a chore for you. It’s not another “to do” item, but rather an overflowing from the joy that lives inside of you, now and what is to come.

Okay, so now you have your plan.

One more thing. I’m going to suggest that you perform some acts of kindness anonymously and some where the person you’re doing this for knows that it is you. I’m very curious to know if that changes anything about the experience for you, so I’m going to ask you, if you are willing, to record your feelings about each one of the “intentional acts” you perform. That’s really a big part of this exercise.

That ought to be enough to get you started.

I would like to share with you that for my sixty-third birthday I performed 63 intentional acts of kindness. It was an amazing adventure. I learned so much about myself throughout the process, which actually took me all month to complete.

I was constantly surprised, amused and overjoyed by my experience. I found deep connections are always within reach, as long as I was willing to take one simple step.

I wish you well on this journey and would love to hear whatever you care to share.

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