You Can’t Always Get What You Want, But. . .

You Can’t Always Get What You Want, But. . .

Following your dreams is something you are called to do. Each of us is called to follow our heart’s dreams.

Yet following your dreams is often approached in a totally wrong-headed way. A way that produces a great deal of suffering.

Your dreams are here to lead you on your heart path. Each of us must walk that path if we wish to live our fullest, richest, most fulfilled lives.

We are encoded with these dreams to such a degree that we cannot be truly joyful, if we refuse to follow them. That would be like an acorn trying to be something other than an oak.

Yet, following your dreams is not about getting everything you want.

Despite what so many “manifestation” teachers try to tell you. Trying to get everything you want is just grasping. It leads to immense suffering, as the Buddha taught.

Following your dreams is not about trying to be the “perfect” you or live a “perfect” life. It’s not about trying to fill up a deep sense of inadequacy or lack that can never be filled. Because those are lies.

You are already whole. You are enough and you have enough.

Yet there are things your soul longs to be and do, to express and experience. And these lead you on your heart path to make your contribution to our world.

Give Up the Dream of Control

Following your dreams is not about “manifesting” your desires in the sense of controlling your world.

The acorn gets no assurances of the future of the oak tree, how big it gets to grow, whether a storm will split it in two, whether anyone will ever see it.

Walking the path of your dreams does not mean you will get the girl or boy, the big house or fancy car, or even the book deal or art show—although you may get all those things and more.

This is the shocking truth many new age teachings don’t admit:

There is no guarantee of actually realizing the dream as you first imagined it. 

There is no promise of success, abundance or safety.

But the surprise we discover on the path of dreams is: That’s not what it’s all about. There is something better.

Your Dreams Lead to Your Greatness

Your path of dreams is your heart path. It is about following your soul’s callings, giving what you uniquely have to give, playing your part in the whole.

Following your dreams is about growing into the fullness of who you are and can be.

Your path of dreams will ask you to shed the false beliefs and wounded self, to face your fears and shuck your laziness, all your clever subterfuge.

Your path of dreams is here to lead you to your greatest self.

It is here to challenge you and push you to grow, to heal and to shine. You cannot hide out on this path or play it safe or keep everything easy and comfortable.

Much Will Be Required of You

Your true heart’s dreams will ask everything of you.

Our true dreams require tremendous courage, devotion, care and persistence. They require inner strength, love, creativity and willingness to partner with others of like mind, to find your place.

They require your willingness to partner also with a field of Life greater than your small self, to recognize the limitations of the small self, the false self, and to live from something far deeper and more magnificent.

Many new-age teachings promise that you can get everything you want. They encourage you to feed your fear-based ego desires for money, possessions, prestige and, most of all, control.

But that is not the path to freedom and joy.

The path to freedom and joy comes from listening to, and following, your heart’s deepest desires, those yearnings that may terrify you even to admit.

And following them not out of the promise of arrival, so much as out of a willingness to go on the adventure.

You follow your dreams out of a love for the journey, the process and all the rich gifts it brings, gifts you cannot predict at the outset. There is no arrival point. That is one of the things you discover on the path of dreams, one of the many things that will set you free when you follow your heart path.

You follow because you have to, because that is who you are at heart.

You Get What You Need

I’m not saying that you will not realize those dreams that are in your heart.

With a combination of clear vision, commitment, devotion and attentive care, along with a healthy dose of surrender and partnership with the All, you can co-create extraordinary things in your life. Things that will bring great blessings to you and our world.

When you get clear on your heart’s true desires, you are in partnership with a force of Life larger than you, a force that is supporting you in unfolding in your gifts. When you clear the path to those desires by doing your inner work and taking steps to bring them to fruition, you greatly increase your chances of actualizing your dreams.

Using the processes that I teach, I have been able to realize remarkable dreams and create a life of passion, purpose and deep play that has been astonishing in many ways.

It has also been full of challenges and hard growth. Many times it has brought me to my knees, and still does.

But the path of dreams is not about trying to control life or handing the Universe a shopping list of your small self’s desires and expecting them all to be fulfilled. It is not about safety and security from the perspective of the limited self.

Following your path of dreams is about a deep sense of fulfillment, about connecting with the joy and freedom that are your true nature, and giving the gifts that only you can give.

If you would like to learn the time-tested tools and practices I teach to walk your own heart path, and get expert help on that path, check out my Creative Life Coaching & Creativity Mentoring, and sign up for a free Discovery Session with me.

Your Breakthrough Dream Part II

Your Breakthrough Dream Part II

In my last post, I shared with you the powerful tool of the Breakthrough Dream as a way of co-creating the life your heart desires. If you missed that post, click here to read it first. Today, we continue with part II.

In this post we explore how to discover your Breakthrough Dream, types of dreams, naming your dream clearly and committing to your dream.

How to choose a Breakthrough Dream

Your Breakthrough Dream might be a specific piece of a larger life dream that could be accomplished in a year or so. For instance, if my dream is to be a painter, I might choose to have a gallery show this year.

Or your dream may be something else that feels like it is needed in your life or is calling to you now, such as improving your health or repairing your relationship with your children.

The most important thing is that your Breakthrough Dream will inspire you, feel right, exciting or vital to you, and most likely scare you.

Any dream that is close to our hearts scares us because it matters to us deeply and it asks us to grow. If your Breakthrough Dream does not scare you at all, you may not have the right dream.

Your Breakthrough Dream should not feel heavy or burdensome like something you should do but do not want. Nor should it feel arbitrary, like you are just coming up with something. It should call to you, feel right to you, and feel like it would be wonderful to attain. If you sit with it for a week or two, it should feel clear that this is truly something you deeply desire that is calling to you at this time.

Some questions to help you find your Breakthrough Dream

1) What one single change in some area of your life would represent a leap for you, a breakthrough to a new level of being and living? What would bring you more peace, joy, fulfillment or open up new vistas for you?

2) If you could change one thing in your life that would make the biggest positive difference right now, what would it be?

3) Is there one thing you are really longing for in your life now that, when you think about it, lights you up and probably scares you? Is there something you would love to be, do or have that you are afraid to admit?

To be most easily worked towards, the Breakthrough Dream would be a SMART goal. Your Dream may not fit that criteria and that is fine too. Trust your heart on this.

A SMART goal is:

Specific—it’s clear what the Dream is and it’s singular.

Measurable—an outside person could easily tell whether or not you realized your dream

Attainable/Actionable—it’s humanly possible for you, even if it’s a big stretch and you don’t know how. The A could also stand for Actionable—it’s possible for you to take action toward it.

Relevant—It matters to you, it’s meaningful.

Time-based—You’ve put a time marker on when you’d like to see the Dream accomplished, understanding that life may show up differently.

Some examples of Breakthrough Dreams might be:

  • build a cabin
  • write a draft of a book
  • become vibrantly healthy
  • meet my soulmate
  • have a solo art show
  • go on a 3-month trip to Bali
  • learn to sing
  • explore my creativity
  • start my own business
  • get out of debt
  • discover a career I would love
  • uncover my joy

Beingness dreams and Doingness dreams

Your dream might be a dream that involves doing, such as writing a book or starting a business or going to graduate school, or it might be more of a Beingness dream, such as deepening your connection to Spirit or discovering your true gifts.

Both kinds of dreams are wonderful. It can be harder to find action steps toward a Beingness dream and be clear about how you know if you have reached it, but these can still be excellent Breakthrough Dreams. If you choose a Beingness dream, you will simply need to define some consistent steps you can take toward it, ways to keep it alive in your daily life and cultivate it, and some measures of success or progress for yourself.

You don’t need to know the how

Many great dreams get stopped in their tracks because the dreamer said, “but I don’t know how.” If Martin Luther King, Jr. had said that, we would not have his amazing “I Have a Dream” speech, nor, more importantly, would we have all of the radical actions he took to fulfill that dream.

You do not need to know the how of your dream. You only need to know the what, what your dream is. The dream will show you the how as you declare it and begin to take steps toward it.

Please do not limit yourself to dreams you feel you know you can have—safe, small dreams that neither scare you nor light you up. Do not limit yourself to dreams you are sure are within your power. Notice that Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream relies on many people coming together.

Dare to dream big, but dream from the heart and soul, not from your head, not from your hungry ego, not from what the culture-at-large claims success looks like.

Wording the Dream

Come up with a simple statement of the dream that is worded in the present tense, as if you are already living the dream, that includes you in the dream, and that uses emotionally evocative language.

Also, keep the dream focused on one thing. Do not try to cram several dreams into one dream. This sends confused messages to your subconscious and generally yields less potent results.

Here’s an example of one of mine: “I am holding my beautiful published book of poems in my hand. Fierce Aria has been lovingly shepherded into the world by a wonderful press.”

I chose this dream in 2018 as my Breakthrough Dream. My book was accepted by a press in May of 2019. Although I chose a new Breakthrough Dream for 2019 because I felt it was time to choose a Beingness dream, I continued to work on this dream as well. And I am still working on it, as now there is much to do to promote the book. In fact, I might choose bringing the book into the hands of readers as my Breakthrough Dream next year.

Committing to the Dream

Once you have chosen a dream, it is time to commit to it wholeheartedly. Declare your dream to yourself and the universe. Create a ritual of planting your dream seed.

Now the challenge is to keep it in your consciousness and stay in consistent action toward it throughout the year. As I have written elsewhere, it is not enough to get clear on the dream, name it clearly and commit to it, we have to also be in motion toward it. This is our offering to the Universe, which then responds in kind with support, synchronicities, guidance, necessary challenges and blessings. Read my post The Dangers of Wishful Thinking: Nothing Changes If We Don’t Take Action here.

This is where hiring a life coach can be enormously helpful. So that you have the structures, support, skills and accountability that any big dream needs to thrive.

If you are interested in learning more about how working with me as a Creative Life Coach can help you walk your unique heart path, realize your dreams and experience profound breakthroughs in your life, click here to schedule a complimentary Discovery Session with me, and we will explore together.

The Breakthrough Dream

The Breakthrough Dream

The Breakthrough Dream: A Radical Tool To Create the Life Your Heart Desires

In my Creative Life Coaching and in my Living Your Dreams class, I share a potent tool that brings profound focus, momentum and satisfaction to creating your heart’s desires.

That tool is called the Breakthrough Dream.

The Breakthrough Dream is a dream that, if achieved, would be a real breakthrough for you.

At the start of each year I choose a Breakthrough Dream as a focus for the year ahead. I like to choose a dream (desire/goal) that could be accomplished in a year’s time or in a few years at most.

Discovering this tool has led me to co-create dreams that I have deeply longed for and that have brought incredible joy and richness to my life, dreams such as finding and marrying my beloved and getting my book of poems published.

This act of choosing one, and only one, Breakthrough Dream and naming it clearly is radical and powerful in itself. And, for most people, it is quite challenging.

Choosing the Breakthrough Dream does not mean that you give up all other dreams, desires or goals for the year. But it does mean that you choose one primary dream as the core of your focus this year. It requires you to get clear about what is truly in priority for you.

Why do this?

The Power of Focus

focus on the breakthrough dream

Choosing a primary focus for the year and committing to it wholeheartedly aligns our energies. It sends a clear message to the universe.

We are far more likely to invite positive results, when our intention and actions are clear and aligned. Whereas, when we disperse our energies in too many different directions or do not make any choice at all, we are likely to invite mixed results that may not be at all what our heart desires. 

Think of it this way. If I go to the coffeeshop and say to the barista, “I’d like some kind of beverage,” I’m either going to get whatever is easiest for the barista to give me, or more likely, I will get nothing, because she does not know what I really want. It works the same with our heart’s desires.

person in overwhelm

One of the reasons many of us do not have more success co-creating our dreams is because we are so scattered. We refuse (or are afraid) to choose, to narrow our focus, to get clear, and simultaneously we neglect to fully commit to a dream.

Many of us are afraid to commit to a dream for fear of being disappointed or failing or choosing wrong. But that fear keeps us engaging in half-measures and flitting from dream to dream, goal to goal, project to project without ever enjoying the passion and fulfillment of deep engagement and of actually reaching our dreams.

When we choose a Breakthrough Dream, we get our whole self on board. I have found that this level of clarity opens up all kinds of energy and momentum, not only for that dream, but all over my life.

What if it doesn’t come true?

Life is full of surprises and shows up in unexpected ways. But the path of your dreams is not just about fulfilling them. It is about growing into the fullness of who you are.

Your chances of reaping the harvest of your dreams is far greater if you clearly choose and commit to a dream than if you do not. Either way, you will learn and grow a great deal.

Sometimes in the process, you may decide you no longer want the dream. You may discover you were pursuing it out of some motive that does not come from your heart or soul, such as a need to prove yourself to your parents.

In the process of letting it go, you find freedom and a clearer connection to what does matter to you. Or sometimes on the road to your dream, Life shows you a different path. That too is success.

What if I choose the wrong dream?

Moving towards the dreams of your heart and soul is ultimately about growing into the fullness of who you are and sharing your gifts with the world.

This kind of dreaming is about experiencing the innate freedom, wholeness and joy that you are, and transforming what comes in the way of that.

So, when I teach, we practice tuning into our hearts and souls, listening deeply to the still small voice within that is guiding us. And I help you hear what that voice is saying, to name a Breakthrough Dream that has real aliveness and meaning for you.

As you move toward your Breakthrough Dream with clarity, commitment and consistent action, you may find that you no longer want the dream. If you are truly losing interest in it, rather than simply getting scared or losing faith in yourself, then it is time to consciously release the dream and choose a new one. Nothing wrong with that. You have freed yourself of that dream and now have more space within to create what is truly aligned with your heart.

If you feel relief and happiness in letting the dream go, and joy in choosing another, go for it!

But if you find yourself wanting to change your Breakthrough Dream every month, then you need some support in finding what is really in your heart and in releasing the inner blocks that keep you from following it.

What about my other dreams?

When you choose a Breakthrough Dream, you are not abandoning any other dreams, desires or goals. You are simply creating priority and focus. In my experience, priority is a key not only to achieving our dreams, but to living a sane, balanced, joyful life.

We cannot do everything at once. We only have so much time, energy and resources. So we have to make choices. To live a beautiful life, I recommend making choices that come from your heart and soul.

You can work towards multiple dreams, goals and desires in a year. I certainly do. The Breakthrough Dream simply asks you to choose your #1 focus out of those, the one that will give you the most at this time or is the most vital, alive, exciting or important to you now.

In committing to the Breakthrough Dream, I find that I get so much more clear about my priorities throughout my life. I am less likely to over-extend myself. I also find that other dreams, desires and goals gain momentum and have an often magical way of coming to fruition.

In my next post, I’ll share with you how to choose a Breakthrough Dream, the different types of dreams, and how to support the dream coming to life. Stay tuned!

If you are starting out on the path of dreams, seeking your passion, joy and unique gifts, or have come to a crossroads and are wondering what your next step is, there are few better gifts you could give yourself than to sign up for The Artist’s Way. I’m leading a new group in Nevada City.

If you don’t live in the area or are ready for deeper support for your dreams, discover how investing in Creative Life Coaching could change your life.

How To Discover Your Heart’s Desires

How To Discover Your Heart’s Desires

To follow your heart’s desires, you first have to know what they are.

This can be hard for many people.

Today I share some practices and questions (as well as pitfalls to watch for) to help you walk your heart path.

Open the Door

To discover our heart’s desires, we have to develop the ability to hear and trust our hearts. We need to quiet our anxious minds, tune out the distractions of daily life, silence the clamoring voices of others.

We have to make sacred space to listen to the longings, the callings, the singing of our hearts and souls. To open the door to believe in ourselves and our dreams. Begin to know ourselves deeply, trust ourselves. And trust life.

None of that comes easily for most of us.

Many of us have been taught to deny our hearts, our longings and feelings. We are encouraged to listen to our heads, to society and other people’s needs above our own heart wisdom and knowing.

I have been struggling with this lately, as the compulsion of the computer and busyness grabs me. And my fear wants to keep me from getting quiet or doing anything that doesn’t look directly like work.

Taking a walk, journaling, prayer and meditation, being in nature, dream journeying, guided meditations and/or guided inquiry can all help us to go within.

Some of these are part of my morning routine, but I’m finding I need more of them now to guide me through these tumultuous times.

Whether you are seeking guidance through a challenging transition, wanting more fulfillment, joy or connection, or to discover your life path, I encourage you to make time for practices that help you listen to your heart.

Some Questions to Help You Uncover Your Heart’s Desires

If you are unsure what your heart’s dreams are, try asking yourself one or more of the questions below. Choose the ones you are drawn to and/or the ones you are afraid of.

Be patient with the answers. Ask more than once. Ask on different days.

Write the answers in your journal.

I encourage you to use the practice of freewriting for this. Give yourself a time frame, perhaps 10 minutes per question. Keep the pen moving, allow any and all responses to come, even if they don’t make sense or seem untrue. Write whatever comes without pausing to think or edit.

Or ask the questions with a trusted friend, asking each other back and forth, repeating the same question over and over, allowing any and all answers. This is a powerful, deep practice.

See which answers have the most resonance and power for you, the most emotion. Let yourself be surprised. None of this is carved in stone. Take it lightly.

  1. What is my heart’s deepest desire?
  2. What’s missing or lacking in my life?
  3. What would make my heart sing to be, do or have?
  4. What do I secretly long to be, do or have?
  5. Wouldn’t it be nice/fabulous/amazing if _________?
  6. If I truly let myself dream, I would ________________.

What Gets In the Way of Dreaming

Often we don’t know what our dreams are because we have been discouraged from dreaming long ago. We were discouraged by our parents or other adults when we were young, by life circumstances or others close to us.

We have been ridiculed for our dreams, told to get our heads out of the clouds and our feet on the ground. We were told our dreams are impossible, absurd, unrealistic. Or that we should be content with what we’ve got. Or that we can’t have what we want.

We may have been crushed by disappointments in the past and don’t want to get our hopes up again. We’ve been hurt or scared by humiliations, by trials and tribulations.

We want to play safe. That’s understandable.

Building Your Dreaming Muscles

One way to deal with this is to start by dreaming small, yet still connected to your heart.

Choose something small that you really desire, that lights you up.

Commit to that dream. To plant a garden or take a day-long solo retreat or read a book a month or start learning kung fu.

As you allow yourself to desire and dream and to go for your dreams, you create small successes in your life. In this way, you build your dreaming muscles. You’ll develop courage, connection with your heart, and confidence.

Then you can begin to hear and follow larger dreams.

Identify the Dream Killers

5 Dream KillersThere are many ways we stop ourselves from dreaming, from hearing the desires of our hearts.

In my work helping others to live their dreams and helping myself to live mine, I have discovered five dream killers that often stop us from hearing, believing and living our dreams.

My students have found these to be illuminating, helping them to open the doors to new dreaming.

I’ve made a beautiful, little e-book of these that includes some encouragement, guidance and inspiration to find and follow your dreams. It is my gift to you.

Click here to download Five Tragically Common Ways We Kill Our Dreams.

Seeking Your Heart’s Guidance

Seeking Your Heart’s Guidance

A simple but powerful exercise to help you hear your heart’s guidance. 

Your heart is here to guide you to your best life. Not the easiest, but the best. The fullest expression of you. The richest, most beautiful, rewarding life.

Your heart has answers your mind could never devise. Astonishing in their wisdom, rightness and simplicity.

But how do you hear the voice of your heart? How do you access that guidance?

Here is a process to cultivate connection to the wisdom of heart.

1) Set the scene

Find a place and time where you will not be disturbed. Turn off your phone (really) and close your computer. Have a notebook and pen or pencil. Light a candle or sit somewhere beautiful in nature.

2) Open the flow

This step is preparation, to get your controlling mind out of the way, to open inside. You aren’t yet seeking any guidance. You are clearing the channels to receive guidance.

Grant yourself full permission to write anything at all without judging, doubting, or expecting anything of it. Write for two full pages without pausing to think or edit, starting from the words “In this moment…”.

Write whatever comes, whatever you think, feel, notice around you or in you. Just keep the pen moving the whole time, without pausing, even if you think it is nonsense.

3) Make a request

writing heart's guidanceNow, write a short paragraph to your heart, asking for its guidance and promising to listen.

You may ask about a specific challenge or situation, or you might just ask, “Oh my heart, what do I need to know, be, or do now?” or something general like “How can I live a more joyful life?”

Make a promise to set aside doubt, second-guessing, or your mind trying to figure things out and control the process.

4) Write your heart’s guidance

Drawing on the feeling of freewriting that you did in step 2, simply relax and let the pen flow, writing whatever answers seem to come from your heart.

Keep your promise to yourself not to judge, doubt, second-guess, analyze or edit the answers while you write. That will stop the flow. You can use your wisdom later to discern what feels right or to interpret it.

If your heart tells you anything you feel you cannot do or do not understand, ask follow-up questions. Express your feelings and concerns. Dialogue with your heart about them.

5) Take action

If it feels true and right—even if it also feels scary, hard or silly—follow your heart’s guidance, taking action on what you were told. Keep the faith with your heart by not ignoring its precious wisdom.

What steps will you take? What changes will you make? How will you act in accordance with the guidance you received?

Keeping the Channel Open

magical heart path

by JR Korpa on Unsplash

If you ask for guidance, receive it and then ignore it, you close down your connection to this most valuable inner resource. And your life will feel out of balance.

If, on the other hand, you learn to discern what your own heart voice sounds like, what it feels like when it is speaking to you, you will strengthen your access to this guide within.

Learn how your own heart speaks to you—which may be in images, sensations, impressions or emotions, more than words. Learn to trust and follow the guidance. See what happens as you do.

As you refine your ability to hear your true heart guidance, as you cultivate your deep trust in it, your willingness to follow it into the challenging, scary and wondrous places it is leading you, you will begin to create a life of extraordinary richness and beauty for yourself and for our world.

We want our souls to be fed in the heart’s great pool. Sit with your pen and wait. Sit. Listen. There, it is whispering. There, formless but real. Like wind.

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy: Cultivating Intuition and A Return to Heart and also What I Know.

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Instead of Big Goals, Try Small Experiments

Instead of Big Goals, Try Small Experiments

If you tend to start big dreams, ambitious goals or new projects and resolutions and then peter out, here’s something to try that can be a whole lot more fun and fulfilling.

I’m a big dreamer. I love working and playing towards grand visions and big dreams for my life.

I’m a Sagittarian, so my arrow is always aimed at some distant target. I feel energized by having big visions to guide my life. Bold, outrageous dreams inspire me. And I’ve realized some amazing dreams in my life.

But I’m also a huge fan of small experiments and bite-sized intentions or goals.

I love these for (at least) two reasons:

  • Bite-sized goals are the best way to have huge dreams actually come true.
  • Small experiments allow me to try on and accomplish things over a short period of time and to learn valuable new information.

New Moon Intentions and 30-Day Goals

I love playing with New Moon Intentions or 30-Day Goals. These are a great way to conduct small experiments and divide big dreams into do-able steps.

New moon by Nousnou Iwasaki

The cycle of a month or moon cycle is a perfect length for many experiments, intentions and small projects. It’s long enough to try something on or complete a small project, but short enough to keep your attention on it and see the end in sight.

Some of my students prefer 30-day goals, because it’s easier for them to track things by the month, starting a new goal, experiment or intention on the first of the month.

I prefer to start on the new moon because I like to align myself with the natural rhythms of the universe, to be connected to and supported by these rhythms. The new moon is an excellent time for undertaking new projects, as people have known for centuries.

Find out more about drawing on the power of the moon (and 30-day goals too!) here.

At the new moon I tune into my heart and soul and see what naturally arises as calling for my attention, what inspires me, what I’m longing for or drawn to, and/or what has the most energy right now. I trust what comes.

Sometimes it’s a concrete goal like sending poems to five magazines or getting my taxes done. Sometimes it’s an intention like cultivating gratitude and appreciation. A good small experiment is specific, clear and do-able: for example, playing my violin for ten minutes a day five days a week.

Smaller (and Slightly Larger) Experiments 

Some creative experiments lend themselves to even shorter or slightly longer time frames.

You may decide to do something every day for one week. Or you may commit to a program for three months.

Regardless of the length of the experiment, the process is essentially the same.

How To Conduct Your Small Experiments

Aiming at the target

by Annie Spratt, Unsplash

To play with a new goal, intention or small experiment, there are a few simple steps to follow:

  1. Name it clearly in a single sentence as an “I” statement. Here’s a recent example of one of mine “I complete my vision-mapping for the new year, guided by sacred wisdom and heart.” It helps if the language is inviting and compelling to you. Also be clear on the time frame of your experiment, when it starts and ends.
  2. Write it down and post it where you’ll see it daily.
  3. Commit to it 100%.
  4. Read your statement daily.
  5. Take steps toward it daily or weekly.
  6. Track the steps you take by marking it off on a calendar, keeping a log or giving yourself stickers. You could get yourself a cool Steal Like an Artist wall calendar here.
  7. At the end of the time frame, celebrate and reflect on how it went, so you can learn, honor and grow.

Read more about cultivating a new healthy habit in 30 days here.

What’s So Great About Small Experiments?

Small experiments are energizing and can be fun. You get to see real progress.

You also don’t feel trapped into doing something for the rest of your life, which is often a recipe for failure because it’s too daunting.

Small experiments are more honest and do-able. They pique my curiosity without feeling overwhelming. They empower me to try things on that I might not do otherwise.

Pretend You Are a Scientist

I like to approach small experiments with the attitude of a curious scientist.

I take the approach that it is truly an experiment. I’m learning. I am free to stop at the end of the agreed-upon time period, but I commit to conducting the experiment fully until then.

And I track my results in some way.

One Small Experiment I Tried

A few months ago I decided to experiment with doing the Tibetan Five Rites. These are a set of fairly simple exercises that build flexibility and core strength. They are said to promote longevity, youthfulness and health. In fact, the claims made about the benefits of doing these exercises daily are huge.

I had dabbled with doing these exercises off and on for years, but I was never consistent. At the best times I would do them a few times a week. I never noticed any noteworthy changes.

So, I decided to conduct a small experiment. The book about these rites claims that many people see marked changes after doing these exercises for just one month. I committed to doing them every day for a month.

Here’s What Happened

When I started out I had huge resistance to doing the exercises. I had to push myself to start them every day. I didn’t like doing them while I was doing them either. They felt hard and not fun. The first exercise, which involves spinning, made me dizzy and nauseous.

But I figured the resistance would diminish as I did them daily. It didn’t. It never got easier or more enjoyable.

I managed to do them 24 of the 30 days. One day I was traveling all day. A couple days I forgot. I probably just flaked the other 3 days. But 24 out of 30 is pretty good.

The striking thing was: There were no noticeable change in health or youthfulness, nor in enjoyment nor ease of doing the exercises.

What I Learned

These exercises aren’t for me.

It was a great relief to discover this. I’d always felt bad about not doing them more. Now I know I’m not missing out. I like to do sun salutations and other yoga. I love to dance and take walks. And these all give me great benefits.

I also learned that it was hard to be flawless with doing exercise every single day for 30 days, so the following month my small experiment was…

25 walks in 30 days

woman walking in wilds

by Michelle Spencer, Unsplash

I was thrilled from the moment I set this intention. I loved doing it, even when I had to squeeze in a 10-minute walk in the dark at the end of the day.

I hope this inspires you to try your own small experiments. They can be in any area of your life—creativity, relationships, health, home, etc.

What small experiment will you take on for the next 30 days?

Share in the comments below to give it extra power.

If you need help figuring out a good small experiment, post in the comments below what it is you are wanting to focus on, cultivate or do. I will give you a suggestion of a good small experiment to try.

To your fun and fulfilling life,

Maxima

Dreaming Your Year: A Recipe for Soulful Living

Dreaming Your Year: A Recipe for Soulful Living

At the start of each year, I speak about tuning into the dreaming of the year ahead, dreaming your year from heart and soul.

Why?

So that you can co-create an inspired, soulful, enriching trip around the sun. Not just blown about by the winds of habit and happenstance. But guided by deep vision, inspiration and heart.

It’s Never Too Late

I want you to know it’s not too late to do this. I often take all of January to complete this dreaming step-by-step.

A friend recently said to me, “But then you lose a whole month of the year!” That’s the old paradigm, in which time is scarce, and we have to rush and push to our goals. Where nothing is ever enough and we’re always behind. That’s not how I want to live.

Dreaming your year is a priceless process of listening to your own heart and to the heartsong of the world. Like anything worthwhile, that doesn’t want to be rushed.

Also, you can do it anytime. You could do it in July for the year ahead that starts from there.

But…

How Do You Dream Your Year?

Tuning into the dreaming of the year: What does that look like, feel like?

Start by dropping the shoulds, have-tos, anxieties, dropping the constant craving demands of the small self, to open a vast space within.

Seeds

by Steve Richey

Open to the fertile void, the womb of creation from which all life comes. The dark soil of earth which harbors already the seeds of new life waiting to push forth into the light and grow and blossom and bear fruit.

Get quiet and allow yourself to rest in the gap between the end of the old and the start of the new. Drop into that spacious dark in which the soul can fly free.

Listen patiently for the still small voice within. Not rushing to answers. Not trying to figure it out with the mind. Not trying to fill the void or control the process.

Listening, waiting, opening, feeling, resting, trusting, quiet, receptive.

Ask for vision. Put forth a prayer, an invitation for your heart and soul to speak, for Life itself to speak to you and call you forth. Express your willingness to be of service to something larger and wilder than your small self.

Ask for vision, open to receive.

Then, attend to any sensations, images, words, emotions, impressions that come. Take notes. You may also wish to dance or draw this vision.

Some Fertile Questions

  • What are the seeds of this coming year that are already planted in me?
    What is Life dreaming that desires to be born through me?
  • How do I most wish to feel?
  • What do I desire to embody? How do I want to show up in my life?
  • What is calling to my heart and soul? What needs or yearnings are calling to be filled?
  • What would bring me the most delight, joy? What would inspire me most?
  • What practices, passions, activities, adventures are calling to me?

Listen to the Deeper Currents

by Nicholas Han

Tune into the deeper currents moving you. Listen to these more than to your fears, doubts, your sense of lack.

You’ll find your life begins to flow in beautiful, extraordinary ways. Support and miracles will appear. Not that there won’t also be challenges. These are part of the path of our heart.

This dreaming through you is the Tao, the way of life. When we align ourselves with the Tao, we feel a sense of flow. When we resist or ignore the Tao, we struggle, hit obstacles, often get sick or depressed.

Let yourself dream without rushing to any concern about the how of those dreams. (That will kill a dream that is trying to be born.) Simply let yourself envision the what, however it wants to come to you now, even if you have no idea how it could possibly come about.

Zooming In and Focusing

♥ Is there a word or theme of the year that beckons to you?

Rather than choosing from what your mind wants or thinks sounds good, be patient and let your word or theme arrive in its own time from your soul. This might take days or weeks.

Write your word or theme on an index card and post it where you will see it.

♥ Is there a Breakthrough Dream you want to name for this coming year?

A Breakthrough Dream is something that, if you focus on, complete or realize it this year, would make the biggest positive difference in your life. It is the one that most calls to you now, even if it also brings fear or doubt. (Fear and doubt are often a good sign. Just set these aside for now, if they arise, so that you can freely dream.)

Write your Breakthrough Dream on an index card too.

Put It Into Existence

Once you’ve allowed the vision of the year to come to you, it’s time to do some gentle mapping of the how, to put it into existence in time.

Name some steps you will take to support your dreams. Put some milestones in your year and/or schedule things in your calendar that are important to you.

Divide big dreams and desires into small steps and put them in time. Be willing to try things, to risk.

Be sure your dreams and desires are aligned with what matters most to you, what you most care about, what brings you joy. Because the “small stuff” fades. Life is not an endless self-improvement project, but a treasure to be lived fully and beautifully.


To read more of my posts about creating your year from inspired, heart-centered vision, check out: https://brilliantplayground.com/harvesting-and-dreaming/ 

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The Shining Bridge to Reach Your Dreams

The Shining Bridge to Reach Your Dreams

Here is what I have discovered. There is a shining bridge between willpower and enthusiasm: Commitment.

Commitment is a tool we all need in order to realize big dreams, visions and aspirations for ourselves and our world.

Yet, commitment, is often misunderstood. In today’s post I will clear up some misconceptions and show you how to connect with your own commitment.

[This is the 2nd installment in a series on Enthusiasm vs. Willpower and how to realize your life dreams. If you missed the first post, you can read it here.]

Scottish mountaineer W. H. Murray said:

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: ‘Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.’ Begin it now.”

Commitment, once made, must be repeatedly renewed in the heart through the power of re-committing.

The Most Powerful Tool on the Path to Our Dreams

Woman on top of mountain

by Ruthie Martin

Recommitting is probably the most essential tool on the path to realizing our dreams.

On the path to our big dreams, we will encounter many setbacks, disappointments and challenges. We will meet our own resistance and faltering self-belief. We will get thrown off by unexpected life events and unanticipated challenges, by enticing distractions and the allure of comfort.

It is completely normal to fall off along the path to our dreams. It’s what we do next that matters.

Recommitting gives us a way to get back on the proverbial horse and ultimately realize the fulfillment of our great aspirations.

Commitment Must Come From the Heart

If we attempt to be committed to a dream, a project, a relationship, from the mind alone, our commitment will be dull and hard to maintain. To be a true commitment, it must arise naturally, without force, from the love in our heart.

The paradox of commitment is this: We cannot manufacture true commitment in the mind. But we can and must be conscious of our commitments and renew them consciously. We must make a conscious choice to recommit to that which matters to us, to our highest aspirations and deepest values.

We do this by reconnecting to our love for that person, place, dream. We reconnect to our vision for it, what it means to us, what it gives to us and others, and/or what it can give.

In reconnecting to our vision, love, and what has meaning for us, our commitment naturally rekindles.

Accessing a New Kind of Will

From this heart-centered commitment and conscious choice, we can then access the energy of will in a positive way to help us move past resistance, discomfort, doubt and fear and actually take the next step on our path of dreams—whether that next step is picking up a paintbrush, going to the gym, or calling a prospective agent.

Once reconnected to vision and love, to our deep why, our will is energized and not forceful. We know why we are doing what we long to do, and we are motivated from a deeper place than just thinking we should do it.

Then, we aren’t beating ourselves up to do it. We don’t have to battle ourselves and be at war with ourselves, which is stressful, exhausting and doesn’t work. Instead, we use the positive energy of commitment to empower us to take another step in the direction of our dreams.

by Luis Davila

And, we use 30-second bursts of will to move past the initial resistance every creative person feels before beginning to create or do anything difficult and meaningful.

We use will to set clear, helpful boundaries that protect our creative time, space and energy.

We use commitment to pick ourselves up after a disappointment and continue on our path of dreams.

But that will and commitment come from love.

In my next post, I’ll talk about two different types of will and also about the inner taskmaster and the rebel. And I’ll give you a radical assignment I think you will love.

Stay tuned!

To your dreams,
Maxima

P.S. Remember, if you sign up in December for soul-based creativity coaching with me you get 40% off my regular rates. Save $300 and give yourself this profound gift to help you create your bold, beautiful visions now. Find out more here.

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