Being the goal driven person, I was all gung-ho about starting 2018 off with goals to accomplish (some to be completed by March I’ll let you know). Maybe it was the Christmas gin, but my goal mojo was not happening. I even thought about trying to change and not be the goal chaser, be less driven, more content because that is what we all should be right? More content and at peace with life? So, not sure what I was doing, apart from having an adult tantrum, I tossed my dreams and goals into the sea, surrendered control and attempted to become ‘one that flows freely through life’, unshaken and trusting that whatever will be, will be, ke sara and all that. And it worked for about 3 weeks.
Over this time, I started to lose my focus, I was agitated, unsettled and questioned my purpose and felt plain miserable. I was looking to be someone I was not. I got sucked into comparing and looking at the photo frames of others, thinking “They make that look so easy, what is wrong with me?” It took a stranger, a lovely woman with no name and a beautiful South African accent say to me recently, that it is ok to be driven, to set goals as that is part of my personality, it does not mean I am discontent (phew!). Learning to slow down IS important, she said, so maybe set goals but smaller ones? “Good luck with it” she smiled, and we parted ways and I digested her words and wisdom.
It was a turning point and I felt the permission to take back my dreams, goals and vision that I threw away. I drew them back in and hugged them like a comfort toy. I need goals to thrive, inspire and keep going. Goals and dreams set vision and purpose. It is a reminder that before I open my eyes and I am conscious of what is ahead for the day, that I do what I do for that dream. What I came to realise these last few months is, I can have my future in mind and still be present with today. It is not one or the other, and that was where I became unstuck. I was either off in fantasy land about my future, which felt too far out of reach or reality that I would come down from daydream feeling rather flat and frustrated. Or I was working my bum off to exhaustion to make something happen. On the other hand, I would try to bend all my will and might to think about today only and be peaceful. That was just as deflating, boring and exhausting. (And concerning when I started talking aloud to my future and present self!).
So, my new approach is total permission and acceptance that I can be engaged in my present and future, that they overlap and it’s like a little dance. I am a big day dreamer (you should read my primary school reports) and I am learning to stop the more fanciful future thoughts, that don’t serve me well. You know the ones like, finding 3 million dollars in a briefcase under a bush and all your problems magically disappear? I keep my future plans, vision and dreams written down and I refer to them regularly. They sit on an imaginary shelf where I can see them, and some are reachable and very doable. Some are a little high up, but that’s ok. It is not impossible to get them, but I just might need to grow a little more before I can reach them. Sometimes I might hold those big ones for a minute and dust them off, because I don’t want to forget about them or get disappointed they haven’t arrived yet.
This present & future focus thing has liberated me to some degree. I need to still actively make sure I am doing the slow dance with it and not jump into Break Dancing because of that inner drive in me to strive to make everything happen NOW or doze off into fanciful land to avoid the present. It’s a daily practice (yes, practice) of focusing on what I do have and being grateful, rather than focusing on what I don’t have. My future is also guided by my attitude and actions today (some Divine guidance along the way helps too). The dance reminds me of the overlap of fully embracing today with all its complexities and pleasures, with the permission to dream about the future and creating the life I want to lead. For the goals and dreams that seem big and heartbreakingly out of reach, I remember that mountains did not fall from the sky but formed slowly over time with earth movement, wind and water.
Before you know it, you’ll be in your dream future, being fully present to it and looking back on the past recalling how it all unfolded in unexpected, divine, beautiful ways.