Line It Up:
Going to Maine or Santa Fe?
There are four things you must consistently line up with your vision—or just keep bringing back into alignment as soon as you notice you've gone off-kilter with any one of them:
Think of these four components as belonging in two groups of two: Choices and actions go together because the second is the enacting of the first. Thoughts and language go together because the second speaks the first aloud. Think of them as the four wheels of a car: if they're misaligned, you may still get to where you're going, but it won't be the most efficient or quickest trip, and it may cost you more or wear something out.
Living in upstate New York, I like to use a metaphor of going to Santa Fe when I speak about pursuing a vision. Let's say you decide you're going to Santa Fe: that's your vision. It's such an amazing place, Santa Fe—desert and mountains, the presence, color, and culture of the beautiful Native peoples, amazing food that understands and fully validates the wonder of green salsa. … So you get in your car and you head northeast.
Ah, but going northeast will get you to Maine, won't it? Maine is an amazing place, too, but it's not Santa Fe. It's pretty much the antithesis of Santa Fe—ocean, rock beaches on a scraggly coastline, lighthouses and lobsters (no green salsa to be found). You said you were going to Santa Fe. Why didn't you head southwest?
Choices and Actions
Your vision means nothing if you don't hold it and keep heading in the right direction—toward the vision. This means pointing your choices and actions that way. Choices and actions are the most obvious and easiest to get into alignment with your vision once you decide to do so. Let's be clear: it's just as easy not to, so bring this choosing and acting thing to consciousness. You can even ask yourself a simple question to keep yourself in check as you make decisions (choices) small and large: Does this move me toward or away from my vision? If the answer is away from, this would be a Maine-bound choice: choose toward Santa Fe instead.
What pulls you to Maine? Some people are particularly vulnerable to choosing in the direction of what others want from them. They may even be so conditioned to help that they hardly see it as a choice if someone presents a need. You need me, I'm there—never mind my energy level, my prior plans, or anything I, myself, might need in the moment. And my vision? Can't even see it. I'm heading toward your lighthouse with a great big new light bulb just for you (and I took time I didn't have to wrap this pretty colorful ribbon around it). Others fall prey to flattery and being honored in community. If they're asked to be on a board, they can hardly think clearly if it's a good cause and a prestigious appointment to boot. Of course they'll make time for that! And they've just traded chili peppers for lobster traps.
Whatever it is that gets you—your particular downfalls, distractions, and defaults—all will surely show up presenting you with choices you need to make toward or away from your vision. If you're the life of the party and love that social thing, any number of large and small opportunities may come up to squander away your time for organizing that community center or setting up that mentor program in local schools. It could honestly be nothing more than a series of coffees, drinks, lunches, parties, and movies keeping you from your vision. Note that these may sometimes be great choices—because they point right to Santa Fe: when the coffee date lands you with someone who has something to teach you; when the party is about networking; when you've worked enough and that off-task dinner with friends is the very thing you need to be refreshed and ready for that next Santa Fe-bound step.
Small choices do count too—if you have 20 minutes before it's time to get ready in the morning, you could default to checking emails and Facebook the whole time or—let's say you have a vision of living in a clear, well-ordered space—you could use that time to clear clutter and start setting up that filing system you only fleetingly picture in moments you can't actually take it on. Getting on the internet, answering the phone, going for that more labor-intensive dinner preparation (because won't the guests be wowed!)—any number of small choices can take you to Maine in the moment and ultimately affect the ease and efficiency in your journey to Santa Fe.
Keep track of the question: Does this choice move me toward or away from my vision? Use it often.
Thoughts and Language
Thoughts and language are trickier to get into alignment—or perhaps they simply require more diligence. Let me remind you that nothing we decide to do gets set in stone just for having decided it. (Remember my meditation metaphor—you don't sit for twenty minutes with a clear mind and a relentless focus on the breath; instead, you keep catching yourself in thoughts and simply bring yourself back to the breath.) You will most certainly catch yourself in Maine-bound thoughts. Think of all your mind tells you to stop you from moving toward your vision: I'm not smart enough; I'll never get in; they won't choose me; I don't have the money; this is a pipe dream; I won't stick with it; others can have that—not me. … Why would you sit around thinking you can't have what you want or aren't equipped to create what you're imagining? It makes no sense, but people do this all the time.
If you're having the thoughts, you're probably speaking them aloud. How many people have declared they want to be in a relationship and may even be taking smart steps to open to that possibility (they've got well-crafted profiles up on three dating sites, they're active in their communities doing things they love to do that also attract other singles), but their speech is a constant listing of obstacles, either about the problems out there (All the good ones are taken; They're nice but not attractive, or they're attractive but not nice; If they're single at this age, there must be a problem) or their own perceived personal flaws (I don't know how to date anymore; I just attract the crazy ones; I'm not lovable; my body isn't what it used to be).
When you catch yourself in Maine-bound thoughts or speech, think again; speak again. We love to bring thoughts and sentences to completion, but how often have you already noticed you're on the wrong track as you keep going? Stop! Stop mid-thought, mid-sentence. Tell yourself what's true instead. In a conversation with another person, depending on the context and the level of intimacy, you can say something simple like, “Hold on. I'm working to steer away from (or clear out) thoughts like this. What I want to say instead is ...” and speak again.
Line It Up!
When you drive a car, your hands are never still on the steering wheel. Even if it appears you're moving forward in a straight line, your hands constantly make little adjustments left and right. You can do this too with your choices and actions, your thoughts and language. Just keep bringing them back into alignment with your vision as quickly as you catch yourself veering off. Sometimes this involves a major shift and some hard decisions—a divorce, a resignation, a move. Sometimes all you need is a small or medium tweak that's pretty effortless (I'm not having dessert tonight; I'll just unpack one box while I talk to my brother on the phone; I won't go away this weekend even though it's super tempting). It all gets easier the more you practice it. As you consistently line up your life with your vision, moment to moment, you train your entire being to better stay in and always return to alignment. You'll love how it feels. You'll know what to do when you have a clear vision, hold the vision, and keep moving toward that vision—getting choices and actions and thoughts and language all pointed in the right direction.
Love & blessings, Jaya
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The idea of offering an X-minute taste of coaching to get clients comes from many sectors, but I'm breaking the rules by having no stipulations around who can take me up on this. I find I get plenty of clients this way and I don't worry about how many come of it. I consider it a time tithe. I happen to love these sessions and get a lot out of them myself. It's a privilege and even a perk of this work that I get to hear the stories of amazing spirits moving with such courage through this human experience. I find it deeply gratifying to sit with people of all kinds and send them away with a new perspective on life, self, circumstances—whatever needs readjusting—so that they can do it differently, connect to all that supports them, find their own innocence, come closer to self-love, be inspired by all that's possible. The fact that I get to do this on an ongoing basis for 6 months at a time with some people never ceases to amaze me and fill me with joy and gratitude.
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Fun with Facebook
Below are my top 3 posts (in terms of number of likes and shares) in September.
On Being Here Now to Heal the Past:
You don't have to go questing into your past to heal yourself. Any old stuff you still need to face shows up in the present. A courageous client with a harsh past wrote me this: "What I have learned is, instead of going back again and again, unable to retrieve what has been left behind, I must learn to stay here, make a space, and allow the past to find its way thru the eye of the needle in which I have already passed. The lost parts of myself must meet me Here. There is no going back, only a turning towards. The home I have been seeking resides within me. I must be present in the moment in order to find myself." That's how it works.
On Making Clear Agreements:
Make clear agreements. So much awkwardness between people simply follows an unclear agreement. Go back & clean it up: "I'm loving clear agreements and the one we made isn't." What did you fail to speak clearly? Lay out what both parties accept as parameters (timeline, money, who does what, loan vs. gift, etc.). If you're not sure you're still doing something with someone, go for closure: ask for or offer a clear "This is over." (Do this with yourself if that's best.) Don't allow the burden & entanglement of unclear agreements. This is also a personal power thing: unclear agreements are power zappers!
On the Beauty and Pathos of Life and Death:
This life is here and then gone, sometimes taken in swift and shocking ways. While you're alive, be alive. While your loved ones are alive, love them, forgive them, laugh with them. Look often into the amazing faces you encounter and let consciousness dance with consciousness whenever your eyes meet someone else's. This stuff is precious. Run your fingers through it with raw sensuality and boundless gratitude.
Visit my Facebook page anytime for daily inspiration and reminders.