The New Story

Creating Space, Taking Action

#quest2018 #purpose

{The italicized are writing prompts from Quest2018.}

When we get clarity on what we want to create and it’s for the greater good of humanity, then that vision can happen more easily. When we make space to show up this way, the universe will fill it with our desires, but we have to make space. How are you going to make space in 2018 to create what you really want that will be for the greater good of humanity? What ritual might help your mindset make space? What habit or activity might you stop to make space and test your fulfilling purpose? 

I am going to make space by prioritizing four daily morning practices for myself, at least 5 mornings per week: sitting meditation, yoga (both asana and pranayama), reading and writing.

When I sit, I may chant mantras and do purification practice. I may sit silently and practice mindfulness or vipassana. I may do both. I may drink of mug of tea or light some sage. When I do yoga, I will stretch, strengthen and breathe consciously and intentionally. I will read a few minutes of inspirational text: Natalie Goldberg, poetry, dharma teachings and the like. I will do writing practice for at least ten minutes, ideally longer.

I am going to prioritize these practices by choosing to do them when I wake up, right after brushing my teeth, even if I don’t feel like it. This is the ideal time for me, because I am an early riser naturally and my husband and daughter usually sleep much later than I do. The ritual of going to the same place each morning (the balcony) and rolling out my mat, with my mala beads, book, journal and pen nearby, will help me dedicate to creating this creative space. If I am also inspired to do practice in the late afternoon/evening after work, so be it. Bonus!

Stopping the habit of listening to my inner critic will help make my head space healthier and clearer. The voice that says “you can’t do it” or “nobody cares to read what you have to write” or “just relax, you don’t need to practice today. it can wait” will no longer be heeded. It will be noticed and willfully ignored.

If you choose to tackle harder goals on a daily basis, imagine how you could amplify the positive impact you want to have on the world. It’s often said that ‘you can’t keep what you don’t give away.’ What will you give to others through your best work in 2018 that will positively impact them so that you might keep it, as well? What do you need to do in 2018 to ensure that you live without unnecessary regrets and have that kind of fulfilling purpose and impact on others?

I have a funny relationship with goals.

I was an overachiever as a kid, teen and young adult. Basically from age 10 to 29. Now, I am a slacker by comparison. I used to be obsessed with lists and had an excess of plans and schedules to dictate my personal life. I was a major goal setter.

In my thirties, I have consciously slowed down my pace of life. Significantly. Moving to Guatemala City in 2009 helped. Moving to Lake Atitlan in 2012 helped more. Moving “off-the-grid” into a more remote area of the lake in 2015 helped yet more. Now, it’s safe to say my life moves at about 35 miles per hour, compared to the average speed of approximately 80 mph for most people in North America.

However, I feel that I’ve come to a standstill. I am at an important turning point in my life, and I’m not sure where to go from here. I’m on a plateau. I have been practicing yoga and meditation for a long time, and I practice with dedication but I can’t say that I’m really improving or enhancing my practice…. or my yoga teaching skills. I need to be stretched and challenged. I need to have a good look at my shadow, shine the light on the places I’ve avoided looking. I need to set harder goals for myself. One concrete, hard goal: write every morning. Writing practice. Really do it. Use that as fodder for future published pieces: poems, posts, essays, etc. Another one: work on specific yoga poses that I want to improve. I want to have a stronger core and stronger arms, so I need to do poses like plank, side plank, handstand, headstand. I have been practicing every morning but it’s time to start challenging myself to go deeper and focus on strength and endurance.

Basically, my harder goals equate to greater discipline with my own personal practice and morning rituals. Sit, read, write, yoga. Or yoga, write, read, sit. I can do them in any order and for any length of time, but I must do them all, first thing (or else it may never happen all the live long day.) By giving myself the gift of these practices, I will be able to give others the gift of my insightful writing, clear presence and loving kindness.

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