As the holiday season approached, I felt the urge and responsibility to write some thoughtful words. Being that I am in the industry of motivation, and an individual that tirelessly aims to spread positive, I typed up words of guidance to my students, one that nudged a 2013 year in REVIEW, instead of an all too common 2014 idealistic goal-setting preview. An edited version for you as follows:
“As we have snuggled into the thick of the cold, and embraced holiday hibernation, we also enter a time of reflection and contemplation. We approach a new upcoming year with hope, promise, and eagerness, but naivety too. We dream before we reflect. We want more than we have. We start new goals before we finish old goals.”
After this passage that questions our new year’s resolution process, I proceeded with the assignment prescription.
“Please cross-examine the success of 2013 with a ‘year in review’. Reflect upon your goals for this year and ask yourself if you’ve completed them. Target things that are habitual, financial, lifestyle-oriented, physical, mental, nutritional, career-oriented, spiritual, etc. Write a paragraph describing these goals, the path you’ve taken to achieve them, and comment on the journey. Aim not to judge, but simply report. The purpose of this activity is to bring awareness into 2014 so that you start your year rationally and realistically.
I wish you all a 2.0 holiday, taking your chance to rest to the next level.
Play hard, work hard, rest HARDER!
Now that the holiday is ending, I am writing a follow up to my pre-holiday words of guidance. I hope these thoughts will guide you not only through a few weeks, but perhaps throughout the rest of the year. These thoughts have risen to mind as a result of the unfolding of my new life chapter; a moving out of the nesting home of my parents’ and into my own brand new condominium.
A change of habitat is overwhelming and consuming. It is pushing me, pulling me, and stretching me more than any yoga I’ve ever tried. I am embracing the experience as much as it can be held with love (over force). My friend ‘time’, lagged on with many delays in the beginning during pre-construction and pre-occupancy, and now, post-construction and post move-in, ‘time’ is always fleeting! Don’t even get me started with ‘space’, before, there was too much space with too little things, now there is too little space with too many things! Time and space; the most mercurial of house guests. I digress.
As a host, home owner, butler, maid, caretaker, DJ, manager, interior designer, contractor, accountant, financial advisor, and chef, all in one, I never thought I’d say that I feel the shackles of independence; freedom truly does come at a cost. I am learning that these first world issues, as superficial as they can be, still do provide deep lessons to be learned. These “moving” growing pains have given me moments of growing gains.
The reorganization and purging of my life’s belongings has given me reasons to stop, breathe and smile, as I reminisce with old photos, journals and memorabilia. The financial planning challenges have forced me to call upon my skills in fitness in order to make it through: exercise diligence, nutritional consistency, fuel budgeting with marathon training, etc. The stress of uprooting from my only known home has forced me to create my own home dynamic and plant my own roots. This snow storm clashing of past, present and future is turning out to be a blessing in disguise. I am learning that it is in the moments of struggle and challenge where optimism and positivity shine brightest.
1. Reflecting upon the PAST,
2. Celebrating the PRESENT, and
3. Dreaming up the FUTURE…
…are three seemingly equal parts to the planning process of self-development. But in recent readings and life experiences, not quite so. We use these elements of the time continuum to base our actions and behaviors. Depending on our tasks, needs and wants, goals, or inclinations, we tap into our memories of the past, our actions of the present, or ideas of the future to get those things done. But do you use this planning process to your advantage? Do you think too much in the past? Are you a dreamer? Have you been accused of being reactive versus proactive? Is there a balance in your past/present/future thinking?
I believe a deliberate amount of effort needs to be dedicated towards developing awareness of our three elements of time before we commit to any plan of action. Once an awareness arises, we can then use these time elements effectively to create a holistic, well-balanced pathway towards achieving our desires.
As an example of imbalance, the new year bombards us with the typical preaching articles, tips, and advice on how to improve in 2014, the same old “New Years Resolution” chatter takes precedence. The focus of these articles are solely on the FUTURE, without much regard for the past and present.
As someone who actively ‘thinks different’, I advised to reflect upon the PAST with a ‘year in review’ assignment, because I felt it was under preached and under practiced. Why plan goals for the future when one hasn’t accomplished goals set from the past? The idea of doing more when not knowing what has been done has deterred our ability to be present.
An all too common imbalance is our society’s inability to live in the moment. The PRESENT is defined by the midpoint between the past and future. Our imbalance of this midpoint is a result of our insecure ‘needs’ of the past or our irresponsible ‘wants’ of the future. I believe the only way to correct this imbalance is to let go of the idea of filling every moment in time and every pocket of space.
Pause and breathe!
Don’t get caught up with planning meticulously for the future; it’ll leave you with baggage from the past. Don’t lose yourself in the past; you will miss the flight to the future. Allow yourself to get out of the past and future in order to live in the present.
If we were to personify the past, present, and future, we might see the past as a University Professor, the present as a Buddhist Monk, and the future as an Entrepreneur. The professor’s mind is filled with memories, stories, culture, and academia. The monk’s mind is filled with appreciation, awareness, open-mindedness, and mindfulness. The entrepreneur’s mind is filled with promise, hope, determination, and dreams. Our minds are filled with what fill theirs. Each and every one of us are made up of these personifications.
My use of these three elements of time is to provide a re-balancing of thinking. Do not to think only of the future, because that can be unrealistic, limitless, and unproductive. Do not think only in the present, because that can be consuming, obsessive-compulsive, and narrowing. And finally, do not think only of the past, because that can be biased, limiting and judgmental.
WE MUST USE THE PAST PRESENT AND FUTURE IN BALANCE AND BE AWARE OF THEIR INFLUENCE ON EACH OTHER.
We must honor these elements in varying, but all-inclusive degrees, relative to our purpose and meaning.
In question, ask yourself:
– Are your thoughts dominated by the past?
(I remember when…., I used to…., I shoulda/woulda/coulda…)
- Are your thoughts dominated by the present?
(I need to…, I want to…)
– Are your thoughts dominated by the future?
(I wish…., I’m going to…., I will be….)
In suggestion, try to:
– Use your past as a reference, not as an evaluation
– Use your present as map, not as an agenda
– Use your future as a journey, not as a destination
In conclusion, a quote to ponder:
“Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.”
? David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas
All the best in 2014,