Although I’ve always identified more as “book smart” than “street wise”– by a long shot– periodically, I rise to the occasion and learn important life lessons through doing. Most of what I know is largely theoretical in nature (bless you, Communication Studies degrees), but 2013 definitely proved to be the Year of Doing Things… The Hard Way.
I invested most of my energy into “making things happen”, “figuring things out”, bumping against self-imposed rules and limitations, striving, straining, reaching, yearning, and basically mastering the art of swimming upstream in 2013. Midway through the year, I was completely and utterly exhausted– which, when you think about it, is pretty remarkable, considering I had been on holidays for three full months to ring in 2013. Way to excel at pain and suffering on the fast track, Dana! Kudos to you for being the star student in the ‘Making Things More Complicated Than They Need To Be’ Class! (Once on the Honor Roll, always on the Honor Roll, right?)
By August, I had already made resolutions for the new year. (Like I say, I’m way ahead of you guys!) These weren’t ordinary resolutions, though– no. These were solemn promises sworn to myself, borne out of necessity and sheer fatigue.
I promised myself that the new year would be different– that I wouldn’t neglect myself to the point of bottomed-out depletion, that I wouldn’t covet an empty energetic cup like I might a shiny trophy, that I’d turn down the competition dial on my behaviour radio (a whole lot), and that I’d try to max out the present moment, rather than always chasing something in the indeterminate future. Tall order, much? Maybe, but in a flash of genius, I also resolved to open myself up to teachers who could show me a different, more ease-filled path to abundance and prosperity. No more “finding the answers all by myself” or “getting a virtual Ph.D. by reading the entire self-help section of the library” for me! (Brilliant, really.)
The first Way-Shower* to cross my path was Leonie Dawson. I had heard Leonie’s name for a few years prior but hadn’t really resonated with (what I assumed was) her goddess-heavy, mama-slanted philosophy. I figured that since I was neither a mother nor a sandal-clad, patchouli-scented goddess, Leonie would have nothing of value to offer me. For the record: I was wrong. Super, duper incorrect. She is a true delight to behold! Something** nudged me to sign up for her newsletter late this summer, and when I did, I made the astounding discovery that Life Did Not Have To Be Hard! I had always– mostly subconsciously– equated capital-S ‘Success’ with boatloads of hard work and a great deal of toiling for good measure, but here was Leonie, frolicking on her gorgeous property with her family, making art, and raking in mega-abundance like it was falling naturally from the trees. Leonie taught me, right quick, that not only was my pipe dream of doing things differently possible, but it was also probable– if not absolutely, 100% essential!
Then came Brené Brown. Again, this was a name that I was familiar with– I had even watched her TED Talk on vulnerability back in the day– but I didn’t really know her like any A-student worth her salt should. That all changed when I read her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, and felt like it was written as a personal text book for my life. She even had an entire chapter with the subtitle, “Let Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self-Worth”. Ah-mazing! [And cue the Twilight Zone soundtrack, right?] Brené’s book gave me (personal, explicit) permission to stop chasing my own life on a never-ending treadmill of achievements and accomplishments. After reading her book, I felt emboldened to be… less productive. (In a good, non-slacker way– I promise!) Specifically, Brené taught me that we are all so much more than what we do. Sure, it’s great to have goals and to make contributions to the world, but it’s also important to make space for being. (It’s like Ovarian Cyst-er wisdom, all over again!)
Finally, in waltzed Danielle LaPorte. God, I love Danielle! Danielle is an electric, laser-focused, live-life-the-way-you-really-want-to pioneer. I devoured her Fire Starter Sessions book and promptly chowed down on The Desire Map right afterward. It was a full-on, Danielle LaPorte feast. (And by god, I was a piglet!) Danielle set the goal-setting process straight for me, and by that, I mean she stood it right on its head. No messing around! After reading The Desire Map, I morphed from setting traditional (lame) goals like “I will lose 10lbs!” or “I will buy a house!” to pointing my north star towards what she calls Core Desired Feelings. So now, instead of starting with “goals”, I start with my feelings. What can I do that will help me feel ___________? (In my case: what can I do that will help me feel Radiant, Centered, Magical, Abundant and Free?) I don’t know about you, but that seems pretty revolutionary to me. Life-changing. Soul-Altering. Way-Showing, indeed!
So. Finally. After a year of energetic toil and spirit-depleting strife, I’ve set a new, one-word intention for 2014: Ease. (Doesn’t that sound enchanting? Ease. Lovely!) I want to feel radiant, yes– but I don’t want to ‘earn’ radiance by laboring up a mountain of discipline and suffering. I want to feel abundant, of course– but if that means shackling myself to a back-breaking work schedule or neglecting my family, friends, or ‘real’ life, then I’m not interested. Ease into The Year of Ease! My life doesn’t have to be easy (at least not all the time), but I will welcome ease with open arms. Enough with imitating the salmon run in my own life– I’m ready to float like a leaf on the river towards my biggest dreams and highest potential. You in?
If you want to get concrete about your own Core Desired Feelings, I really recommend reading The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte. This book used to be offered as an audio-visual program through Danielle’s website but it will be released as a regular book on Amazon (and in bookstores everywhere) as of January 1st. I’ve also loved completing Leonie Dawson’s 2014 Create Your Amazing Year Workbook & Planner (Life Edition) for the first time this December. 100% converted to Leonie-ism now! It was through this particular workbook that I set the word Ease as my North Star for the upcoming year, and I can’t wait to see what other dreams of mine manifest and unfold as 2014 progresses. The workbook can either be purchased as an e-book here (less than 10 bucks!***) or bought in hard copy (under $30) via Amazon (.com– not available to us Canucks via amazon.ca, unfortunately). Two words, though: Worth It.
*The term “way-shower” was introduced to me by Barbara Stanny in her book, “Secrets of Six Figure Women”.
**And by “something”, I mean it was the knowledge that she runs a $750K business per year working 15 hours a week from her isolated, rainforest home in the middle of nowhere. That got my attention!
*** E-book link is an affiliate link. Like Google Ads… only not at all. I’ve actually used this workbook and actually, personally, cross-my-heart endorse it.