“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.”
- Joseph Campbell
Another year has passed and 2012 by far seemed like it slipped away faster than any year previous. Three years ago I was changing this same calendar when I had the thought, “I hope I am not in the same place a year from now.” Well here I am in the same cubicle, changing the same calendar but I am far from that place consciously. I have grown so much this past year. 2012, my 40th year will be one I never forget.
Like many mythological and true stories, good things come to people after they make it through a dark time, sometimes even death. Perhaps a dark time is necessary to flip that switch in the mind in order to start looking at the world differently. Everything around us honestly has no meaning except the meaning we give it, good or bad.
Now believe me, I know positive affirmations can’t change dire circumstances any more than Febreze can fix a pile of dog shit on the carpet. That pile of crap must be dealt with before the Febreze can do its job. It’s the same in life. Unearth those dark things inside. Shine a light on them and then let them go like the pages from last year’s calendar. In other words, clean up that shit on the carpet before, not after, spraying the room with Febreeze. Getting rid of the crap, the dark spots in our hearts can be as easy as looking at them closely, shining that internal light on them, accepting them for whatever they are and then simply letting them go. Move on! Then spray the Mediterranean Lavender Febreze as much as you want! But if the crap is not removed first it is still going to stink at the end of the day.
The pages from last year’s or the last 40 years of calendars are meaningless and have nothing to do with who we are. We are not our failures or our successes for that matter. The outcomes we have had have absolutely nothing to do with who we are. I’m talking about the person deep inside that is left after everything else is gone. That spirit is who you are. And you are a divine being. If you can chew on that thought for a minute and really digest it in your mind, it can change everything.
Let’s start 2013 with a clean slate. Every second is a new beginning if you let it be. By simply changing the way we think about things our world can be a lovely place to live. And things we don’t like, in my case my job, can be changed. But first we must find out who we are which brings me to making my New Year’s Resolutions for 2013.
I am doing my resolutions differently than I ever have in the past. I am one of those people that like to make goals. I like to have something to shoot for. But how do I come up with them? Usually, I would look at my life from the outside and decide what things I should be doing. I would look at the year before and see what I didn’t get accomplished and add those goals on the new list again. Most of the goals were based on completely external things that a person in my shoes should be accomplishing. At the end of the year, I would feel good about a few of the accomplishments but usually I would not feel so hot about what was happening in my life. My state of the union address would be, “meh.” Nothing too exciting or sexy there.
It is time to try something new. Almost all of my goals in the past were based on external things, outcomes. This year I am not making goals based on outcomes. I am first figuring out what exactly I want to feel in 2013. Yeah, I know it sounds a little feminine and airy-fairy but stick with me for a second adventure seekers.
Think about something you want. Why do you want it? Do you really want it or do you want the feeling it gives you? It’s the feeling. And yet we don’t, at least I never did, take the time to figure out what we want to feel. For example, I want to do another bikepacking tour. Why would I want to do that? Because I love the way I feel from a bikepacking adventure. It’s not that I simply want to ride 400 miles through the mountains, supporting myself like a rough outdoorsman. I feel strong, brave, courageous, free, young and one with the universe on a trip like that. I crave those feelings. Think of why we do the races or adventures that we do. Part of living as a human being is feeding your Adventure Monkey. It feels good. For me it is very real therapy. A hundred miles on a bike and I am free from any external anxieties, not to mention healthy and strong too! Feeding our Adventure Monkeys is very necessary because of the way we feel from doing so. Without adventure I don’t even feel human. I feel like a zombie in a work-sleep cycle that never stops until I die. Yeah, that’s not good.
You want it and you want it bad. Aspiring. Hoping. Plotting. Recurring. Reaching. Bubbling beneath your surface. You crave it — and it craves you.
So you make a plan to get it. A to-do list. The bucket list. Quarterly objectives. Strategy. Accountability. The goal. Except . . .
You’re not chasing the goal itself, you’re actually chasing a feeling.
We have the procedures of achievement upside down. We go after the stuff we want to have, get, accomplish, and experience outside of ourselves. And we hope, yearn, pray that we’ll be fulfilled when we get there. It’s backwards. It’s outside in. And it’s running us in circles.
What if, first, we got clear on how we actually wanted to feel in our life, and then we laid out our intentions? What if your most desired feelings consciously informed how you plan your day, your year, your career, your holidays — your life?
Sounds intriguing huh?
OK, so I don’t actually know Danielle, but I did purchase the Desire Map (and will thank her for it when I do meet her) and set my mind to do the whole thing. I usually read self help stuff and skip most of the exercises because they feel stupid. Hmm, maybe because I was not paying attention, maybe even hiding my feelings deep inside because of untrue thoughts of not being good enough or only the weak show their feelings or who knows what other spirit quenching blocks I had inside (unearth, shine a light, let go, spray Febreze – ahhh). Well those blocks (ie. unfelt feelings) led me to an opened chest cavity on an operating table. I have changed my attitude about feelings like I did three years ago about adventure. Three years ago I said I would do any adventure that came my way. I am doing the same with this self help stuff – with feeling my feelings. I am jumping in whole heartedly. I have chosen to live a new life. And I am excited about it. Starting AM and taking on any adventure has definitely changed my life so this ride is going to get good! Don’t worry, I’m not going to hug you and ask you to express your feelings on the rides we may take in the future but I not scared of that either! So if you do need a hug…
So I read Danielle’s book and even did the workbook – all of it. I even answered a question about the scent of joy for crying out loud. I am no longer scared of those messy feelings. But I am scared of leaving a life half-lived. All those girly questions got me thinking about things I loved and then helped me come up with my Core Desired Feelings. Those are the feelings I must have to be happy and peaceful with life. They are of utmost importance. It was a good exercise and I recommend the Desire Map to anyone that wants 2013 to be better than any year before. I don’t get anything from the referral, I just think it was a great exercise in goal setting like none other.
“So big deal,” I can hear friends say. “What are some core feelings going to actually do for you? In this world results are what matters, no one cares how you feel and those feelings aren’t going to actually do anything for you anyway bro.”
Well that’s where it gets really good. Once I had those Core Feelings figured out then I set goals based on the question,
“What do I need to do to feel the way I want to feel.”
That’s a powerful thought right there. It takes goal setting to a level I have never been at before. No longer am I going to base success on crossing off a goal from my list, but rather by answering the question, “Do I feel the way I want to feel?” Because at the young age of 40, one thing I know for sure is that external goals I reach do not make me feel that great. In fact they leave me wanting. We can never have enough external shit. It doesn’t satisfy. We need to look inside rather than outside. The answers are in us. It’s the difference between simply getting a new job and feeling like your professional life makes a difference in the world. Inside out instead of outside in. I’ve had it backwards all the time.
You may be wondering what I came with after completing the Desire Map for myself. Well here they are – my Core Desired Feelings with explanations of the words to help my focus:
• in myself, confident; showing determination, self-control, and good judgment
• in my beliefs, they are clear and prominent
• deep rooted, not easily swayed or disturbed by opinions
• able to withstand great force, pressure or hardship
• like a huge oak tree protecting its inhabitants, I want to be strong for the weak
• my strength comes not from me but from Adonai – it never wanes and flows from me
• physically healthy, strong
My strength is not for me but for humanity. To break down boundaries of prejudice, injustice, and tyranny of the weak and underprivileged. To stand up for those in need.
• to mentally, physically and creatively stimulate others and myself
• the divine influence; the breath; to be inspired
• having plenty of everything in that I can share it with the world as a conduit
• especially money and love
• able to make my own decisions and act upon them without restraint
• time freedom; able to come and go when necessary
• unrestricted mentally and physically, independent; adventurous
So in 2013 I am looking for big changes. I am making goals to make me feel these feelings. They start in me. For example. I am not happy with my job. I need to figure out why. You know, like why don’t I like this well paying, low stress job? It has to do with what I am feeling. But I also need to make the best of it while I am here because EVERY life experience is there to teach us something. I need to learn it so I can move on. Yes, it is as easy as simply changing my attitude. I am not going to lie to myself. I’m not going to spray Febreze all over my shit, but maybe I can tone down the sarcasm a bit and completely turn off the pessimistic voice of my ego. We are what we think about. We get back whatever energy we give out. That’s the way the universe works, like it or not.
New Year’s Day Ride
Here’s to an amazing 2013!
Feed Your Monkey!