How to Leverage Downtime to REEVALUATE EVERYTHING… PART THREE: Open Your Heart
Welcome back! Since the last post in this series (12 days ago), my oldest daughter turned 21, my sister’s cancer has metastasized to more scary places, and my 14 year old had a meltdown at midnight because… she can’t take staying inside any more… and she hasn’t seen her friends in weeks… and, and, and she WANTS A BOYFRIEEEEEND! Life can be challenging. How are you holding up? The good news is that this will come to an end. And yes, we are still in quarantine, but we are moving forward in this journey of life TOGETHER! So, let’s do this!
In PART ONE of this series, we took inventory of all aspects of your life. This inventory is a working document, so keep adding and subtracting from it. Make it the desktop image that you see every time you open your laptop and make adjustments as you become more present in the process of designing your life with intention.
The more you work on your inventory, the more you will be conscious of each aspect of your life throughout the day. The more connected you are to your values and self knowledge, the more confident you will feel in your choices.
In PART TWO, we explored blindspots. I gotta admit, I kinda went easy on you guys given the dark period we are in with the lockdown, but the goal was to really get you to focus on the parts of yourself that need work. The blindspots you don’t like to look at. If you’re feeling brave and you want to take it a step further, take a look at all of the places where you have not met your goal, where you lost something to someone else that you really wanted, where you realized you had work to do but weren’t ready to do it yet… Write down those stories and realize they are just that – stories. But stories need to be told sometimes so we can move past them. So, with that in mind, let’s take another step in this journey and open our hearts.
PART THREE: OPEN YOUR HEART
- Analyze your inventory. Connect patterns of success and patterns of missteps. Connect patterns of relationships that have supported you and patterns of relationships that have held you back. What red flags and green flags did you see? Examine areas in your health where you have thrived and areas where you have suffered. Look at every aspect of your life: relationships, health (body, mind, spirit), career/money, home/lifestyle, education, community, hobbies/interests, etc. Break down the common elements that have supported you in your life up until now and the elements that have not served you. Write like you are brainstorming, and go back to organize later. Remember, to get the most out of this exercise, you must step outside of your ego and take on the curiosity of a child. Open your heart to being vulnerable. You are on a treasure hunt that will lead you to a more fulfilling life when you do this work. And since you’re on part three, you’re doing a great job!
- Analyze your blindspots. As with everything, come at this from a place of love. Specifically focus on the areas that are – quite frankly – weaknesses that none of us want to look at, but the only way to learn and grow is to acknowledge what isn’t working. Self honesty is important to self love and acceptance. Make a list of three things (choices, habits, emotions, behaviors,…) that have had negative consequences on your life more than once. These are things that YOU have done, not things you perceive have been done to you. Really look at the stories about these things and how they have impacted not only your life, but the lives of those around you. Forgive yourself for any mistakes you have made. Forgive anyone else involved for their mistakes. Clear the emotional clutter, but don’t forget the lessons. As my dad always said to me, “it’s not about the mistakes you make, what matters is what you learn from them.” Always build on your growth.
- Remember to be grateful for all of the lessons you are learning and look for ways to constantly learn more about yourself and how you can not only reach your goals, but help others reach theirs. Incorporate this into your daily schedule. What is one activity you can commit to doing every day that will help you show gratitude to others? In doing this, you put good energy out into the world while engaging in thoughtfulness, which will ultimately ground you in a place of love. Gratitude is essential if you want to live with intention.
- Set a reminder to check in with your inventory, blindspots, gratitude, and analysis once a day for a week (or longer if you need). The goal of this exercise is to train your mind to think about all aspects of your life design throughout the day, so you can be ever more open, present and intentional with your actions, so you can break old patterns and forge new paths. The right ones.
Life is never a straight line from one point to another. There are always curves in the road. Sometimes they are hairpin turns that we simply can’t make. But, there’s always next time and there’s always growth… if we choose it. Every delay, every setback, every perceived loss is a chance to learn. But more importantly, if we want to learn how to be balanced, happy people, we have to open our hearts and take a look at all the things we have experienced in life, the good and the bad, so we can evolve individually and as a collective.
Intention is the differentiator when it comes to life design. If you want to design a life that is lead with purpose and love, you have to open your heart, take inventory of the good, the bad, and the ugly, forgive the pain, and move forward with the knowledge that you are doing what you can to be a better version of yourself today than you were yesterday.
When you choose to live this way, you live free of doubt and full of love because you have a deep understanding of who you are, where you’ve come from, and where you want to go, and a silly little pandemic lockdown won’t hold you back from blossoming.
Open your heart by committing to design a life where you walk with your head held high, full of good intentions, with love for all, so that not only you benefit from this choice, but the rest of the world does as well.
PART FOUR is the final post of this series. In it, we will take a look into not just your future, but ours, together… Ready?