No New Year’s resolutions, no professional goals- gentle musings for 2014

While on vacation in America last spring, I had the time and distance to re-evaluate parts of my life. The friend I was staying with had a book on ‘finding one’s purpose’, and I thought that working through the exercises might bring me clarity for my next step.

Believe me, in the past, I’ve done my share of visioning, goal setting, etc, led by a book or workshop promising to find my real ‘vein of gold’, which if exploited would bring me fulfilment and prosperity.

They never did, and I admit I approached this book with a certain cynicism. There were valuable points in it; and though I obediently envisioned a goal; went through steps on confronting and removing obstacles from the past that were keeping me back from ‘succeeding’; and  did the bit on breaking the grand vision down into manageable steps;  I finally baulked on the ‘committing to go for it’ part.

Here is what I wrote at the back of the workbook:

After working through this book it is clear to me that this approach does not work for me, and never has. Using rational methods and the force of will to bring success feels too based in old methods of control. I’m at the point where I’d rather create a fertile, joyful, intentional field within myself – and trust the right thing to come my way.

8 months later, this conviction was affirmed by Charles Eisenstein in his book
where he says that some teachings speak of creating a vision,  ‘but this is mistaken; the proper way to start is to receive a vision…’

A vision of your path or purpose or next step is a gift.

My heart has always known that.

When doggedly pursuing one goal, I often miss what life is offering me. Or in my ambition,  am blinkered to things that also need my nurturing, and may not directly serve the goal, but would definitely enhance my life.

Another confirmation of the more gentle path I seem to be entering on, came from a quote Cat sent me in a recent mail, and it is my motto for the new year:

“It’s far more creative to work with the idea of mindfulness rather than the idea of will. Too often people try to change their lives by using the will as a kind of hammer to beat their life into proper shape. The intellect identifies the goal of the program, and the will accordingly forces the life into that shape. This way of approaching the sacredness of one’s own presence is externalist and violent.  It brings you falsely outside yourself, and you can spend years lost in the wilderness of your own mechanical, spiritual programs. You can perish in a famine of your own making.
 
 
If you work with a different rhythm you will come easily and naturally home to yourself. The soul knows the geography of your destiny. Your soul alone has the map of your future, therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of yourself. If you do, it will take you where you need to go, but more important it will teach you a kindness of rhythm in your journey.”
by John O’Donohue, Anam Cara
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2 thoughts on “No New Year’s resolutions, no professional goals- gentle musings for 2014

  1. Hi Sarah, Happy New year to you and thank you for posting this. It is very much what I have come to realise this past year. Over the past few years I have also done various workshops and read books on visualisation and training your mind etc ect. and deep inside me I questioned it all. I have always led my life according to what felt right and resonated within me and I followed my path and intuition, especially with the book idea which just presented itself to me sort of challenging me to have a go. The mindfulness principle is extremely valuable especially paying attention to our thoughts.

    • Hi Sonia, Great to hear this and to know that your experience is similar. The use of will to change our lives is so ingrained in our culture, it takes strength and conviction to allow for other approaches. Eisenstein says in his book that it is lonely living according to another(new) story than the consensus reality. One is often thought crazy, while actually it is the culture that is insane! That is why it is so good to share these things with others.
      Happy new year to you too!

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