Where are the bright spots in your life?
Reviewing your vision of a joy-filled life, where can you see that you are already living that part of your dream life...or with a couple of tweaks could be living that part of your dream life? Are you already getting up early to do something just for you...to bring you joy? Perhaps you are already preparing the next day's lunches the night before so that your morning is not rushed and you can enjoy your children or spouse. Maybe you plan a week's worth of dinner menus so that whoever gets home first knows what to do to get dinner started for the family so all runs smoothly. Do you meditate some days, but not everyday?
A bright spot is an area of your life you feel is going well, in our case a part of your dream life you are already living. If you start with a part of your dream that you are already on your way to accomplishing you are more likely to be able to turn it into a habit that you no longer have to think about...and that is when it becomes automatic and you can focus on the next part of your vision. Working towards your vision of a joy-filled life is a long term project, it is likely to take years to get there...but as I read recently, those years are going to pass by anyway so you might as well be working towards your dreams over that time. I like to set 5 year goals...but they are flexible...as in, I don't get hung up by the timeline, I just use it to plan for my goals. There are a lot of events in life that get in the way of reaching our goals within a certain time frame, but as long as I am moving forward I don't worry about it. In 1997 my husband and I had a dream of moving to the country and building our own off-grid, earth-bermed home. It was a 5 year plan. We bought our property in 1999, moved there at the end of June 2000, started building in the Spring of 2001 and have been living in our home since July of 2002. Yes, it looks like we were able to reach our goal within 5 years. Did I mention that we built the house ourselves, with the help of friends as volunteers? Did I mention that we are still finishing our house? Did I mention that part way through building our house my husband decided he wanted to raise meat rabbits...so for 2 years we were working on our house and building a bunny barn? Did I mention that we have also built a 40' X 46' raised bed garden and planted fruit trees, and planned a couple of ponds? Did I mention we were raising 2 boys and joined a new Church which both my husband and I have large callings in while we were building our house? Did I mention I was working full-time and my husband was working part-time for most of the last 16 years since we started this journey. Everything takes time and we did not feel we wanted to put our lives on hold to finish the house...so, most of it is complete, but we don't let it get in the way of everything...we noticed by February of 2002 that our lives were severely out of balance and sacrificed finishing the house for our family relationships. It was the right choice. We don't have door frames, but we have fun with our children and visit family (3 and 5 hours away) many times a year. We knew the sad statistics going in to our building project...50% of couples break up during the process of building their own home...we did not want to be one of those couples.
Our dream has come true...even if the house is not finished. But I want to tell you one more thing...dreams come and they go. We have other dreams we also want to work towards and so we are. Dreams of me retiring before July 9, 2021...which is my current retirement date; dreams of serving a mission for our Church; dreams of travelling; dreams of making a bigger difference in the world; dreams of spending more time with family and friends; dreams of running retreats to help others live their dreams; dreams of publishing a number of books currently in my head and on my computer. The same will happen to you...you will not be finished with one dream when another arrives and waits for you to pick it up. These dreams are potential choose-your-own adventures, and it is okay to go for them, not go for them, or start down a road towards one of them and then decide the time is not right and leave it for a while. There is not one potential fulfilling life waiting for you and all the others lead to disappointment. No, there are many possible paths that can lead you to a fulfilling life if you let it. Stop perseverating about this choice or that choice...if they are all positive choices, just choose one and go down that adventurous road for a while and see how you like it.
So, your challenge for this week is to identify the part of your vision of a joy-filled life that you are already partially living...your bright spot...and make it brighter, live it more fully so it becomes a habit, becomes automatic, and so you can move on to the next part of your vision.
Make it a great week!