Are you in a job that prevents you from living your dream? Can you see where you want to go, but your current life makes it seem impossible to start?
I have good news. I was blocked, and now I’m living my dream life. Here is my formula for how to start.
The hard way
Does someone need to go through tragedy to start on the path of their dreams? Waiting for the piercing boost of pain to inspire change works excellent for motivation. This is the traditional way we watch in the movies. But it is hard to put this inspiration into action. Healing myself and pursuing dreams at the same time, turned messy.
The day after my son died, I started meditating, journaling, writing, learning, and pursuing a life of meaning. The trauma of his short and painful life gave me the inspiration to live my life. The growth out of the ashes is always inspiring. Heck, I’m using that growth to help tell the story right now.
It took me eight painful years of suffering and healing from the trauma and grief to get to me to a life of meaning.
A life of meaning requires personal growth. I can not create a new powerful thing without learning new skills and also new ways of being. A life of meaning requires exploration into new areas of discomfort that allow for discovery.
Doing this exploration while also healing the raw wounds of trauma is painful. Growing pushes us into new places, and when these new places hit raw nerves, it hurts. For me, learning meditation while also having spouts of anger brought me to high levels of shame. This shame continuously sent me backward.
It didn’t seem wise to jump into a life of meaning when I had so much healing work. I still have shame that I didn’t fully focus on a meaningful life before Finn’s death. Had I learned the tools of a better way of living before this trauma, I would have caused a lot less suffering for myself and others that I love.
Meaning from a place of peace:
The movie I want to watch is the hero walking through a meadow. Seeing a soft spot in a sea of wildflowers, they take a seat. A pause gives a reflection of peace. In this place of peace, their dreams unfold before them. As the dreams turn real in their imagination, they leap up and start building their dream. To come from a place of peace, and finding the action to start the dream sounds magical.
This story is total BS. There is a reason the above movie isn’t playing. No one would believe it.
The reality is that we are all living with our daily traumas. Our health, family, and continuous crisis in our workplace block us. Before my son died, I was also living in everyday chaos. At that time, I was too consumed by life to consider following a dream. Growing my career for more money to save for retirement was the pursuit of my life’s dream.
Waiting until the sun started shining never created anything. Rainbows need rain.
Your life is hard, and you want more. That is why you are reading this article.
My formula is straightforward. Do a small act of kindness for myself. This small step brings the energy and growth for another step, and these small steps put me on the path of a life of meaning. Living in this way connects my dreams to reality.
The trap I fell into was taking on audacious goals that didn’t serve me in the beginning. Saying I’m going to start training for a marathon tomorrow sets me up for a painful failure. Walking around the block today is a more impactful act.
The day after my son died, I committed myself to a life of meaning. This audacious pursuit led to a brutal and disruptive eight years. I don’t think it would have been so hard if the day my son died, I did one small loving act for myself and accepted this was living a life of meaning.
Doing small loving acts for ourselves every day is what I call a life of meaning. These small acts add up and create openings. These openings create space to build our dreams.
The hardest part is starting:
Everyone knows the first step is the hardest. But for me, every step is the first step.
I currently track 9 acts of self-kindness that I do every day:
- Morning: breathing, yoga, and meditation
- Day time: meditation, learning, body movement
- Night time: play, stretching, meditation
These acts give me the focus and energy to take on my commitments of health, family, work, and cubicleMonks. These steady habits are the bedrock of my daily life. But, the reality is that I don’t do each one of these every day.
Doing each habit is a start. Every time I sit to meditate, I am starting. A missed stretching session in the evening is not a failure. Instead, each stretch is a start to my life of meaning. When each action is a “start,” the missed “goals” are no longer failures. They turn into golden pieces of information. The misses illuminate a disruption in life that may need attention.
You don’t need to take any action. Reading a blog article is an act of self-love. Congratulations, you have started.
For your next action, find an act of kindness for your mind or body that you can spend 10 minutes a day doing. After a month, you will see a shift. I guarantee you will have the energy and focus needed to start seeing your dreams unfold.
Next, find a guide. There is someone in your life who you admire who would be happy to work with you through a struggle or growth opportunity. I’m always here for you: http://cubiclemonks.com/mentoring/.