I have been thinking a lot about the Designing Your Life class I took the last week. I love so many of the concepts that were presented and also the practical nature of the steps to get you where you want to be. Some of the main topics discussed were about identifying your traits both positive and negative, identifying your beliefs about yourself and the world, taking ownership for past mistakes and wrongs, and “getting your traits on a leash”. It is so useful to have an actual action plan sometimes. I remember thinking after my father died how much easier it would be if I had a checklist to go through. I had no idea how to deal with his wake, funeral and even day-to-day life after he passed.
So, I love having the actual steps to hang onto as a way to mentally kick-start myself. One of the homework assignments was to write a list of confessions. I started this list feeling more and more like a loser. I have done some pretty lame crap which I am not proud of! However, after I was done I started feeling really empowered. I am kind of bad ass! I realized that my view of myself as the victim reacting to all this mean things people have done to me was a skewed perspective. This is a belief I have put in place to make myself feel better. I may have even set certain events into motion myself. I got to own that. It was a Dark Side of the Light Chasers moment for me. Accepting that part of myself that can be a jerk. That was very empowering. I don’t need to try to hide from that part of myself. It can be great to have that ability to stand up for yourself or to be a jerk if you need to. The next step in the homework was to make a short list of confessions you were willing to make and dates that you would have them done by.
All of these experiences. All of these confessions or repairs you need to make in relationships are like hangnails. You bump them every time you are in that space in that relationship, or in that place in your mind. Getting rid of that hang nail, clearing that up makes for a smoother , happier, cleaner existence. It doesn’t matter if you feel you were right. That is just a perspective. It’s not a real thing. You can just own your part in it and move on.
Leaving these things unfinished, undone or unsaid is like leaving little pieces of you all over the place. A little part of you is stuck there in your head, in the past. You can’t keep moving on because you have left it behind. Having the conversation, dealing with whatever it was allows you to bring your whole self forward. Your whole being can go into the future that you are creating. Otherwise, it is just parts of you that are headed in a direction and you can’t get the momentum, the energy aligned that you need to get where you want to go.
Another piece of homework we did was to list a trait that we wanted to “get on a leash”. The idea is that you recognize a behavior or trait that you do that doesn’t work for you. You come up with an action plan and a consequence if you break your commitment and don’t follow through. I chose to work on my anxiety. I honestly feel that I have come so far with this, but I know I still ride that crazy train from time to time. I decided that when I catch myself starting to spin out scenarios in my mind about what I should have, could have, or would have done, I get two minutes to stew about it. After that I have to do an action to remedy the situation or I have to let it go. If I don’t stop obsessing I have to throw away $5. Yeah, if you know me- you know that is not something I would be okay with. I literally have to have $5 bills on hand and just drop one. If you see me out and about looking stressed it might pay off to follow me!
Getting your traits on a leash and having consequences supports your success. When you don’t live in alignment with what you want, with what you’ve stated. Having that consequence be something that is so over the top, horrible that you just cannot deal. In that way training yourself. Changing your behavior. Changing your thinking. Getting your traits on a leash can also be a lot more simple than that. It can also just be about getting really clear that this is how you want to be. This is how you are going to be. That’s it. No more. Done. That can be with anything. You can find way to support yourself with that if you need it. Telling your friends, AA, whatever it is. There comes a point where you just decide that you are done with whatever behavior it is that’s not serving you. That’s not making your life be the way you want it to be. You just don’t do it anymore. The consequences are a good way to help you focus in on that behavior and see when you are doing it. A biofeedback sort of thing, so that you catch it. You don’t ignore it, miss it, not realize you are doing it. That can be powerful. Just tuning in to yourself.
The penguin from Madagascar, Skipper, has a famous line in our family. He is feeding Alex the lion sushi and says to him in his bossy penguin voice, “Savor It!” Well, this is your life. You are not going to be living once you get somewhere. You are living now. So, savor it. Savor this process of discovery. Greet it with Joy. Greet it with an open heart. Don’t fight it. Don’t hide from it. Don’t shut off parts of your life. Be open to all of it.
This is a huge part of what the Brighten Your Light seminars are about. It is unbelievably freeing to stop hiding from all these deep, dark parts of yourself. Trust me, you are not alone in being selfish, jealous, inhibited, insecure, anxious, unintelligent, and the list goes on. You just get to decide if that is where you want to stay. Do you want to dwell in a house built on self-doubt and recrimination? Wouldn’t you rather live a life bathed in light with the doors wide open to greet all that is to come?! Join us. Make some new friends or get to know old friends in a new way.