There’s a trap in the idea I posed and the challenge I gave you last week to have a resolution free new year. You could easily interpret that as meaning, don’t do anything. This week I’m here to support you with ideas on HOW TO begin with contemplation and without a commitment to act.
If you missed last week’s blog on having a resolution free new year, you can find it here: https://movestrongmethod.com/2019/01/05/1518/
Knowing Where To Begin
We start with knowing where to being. There are many ways to contemplate what’s next. You can journal, meditate, talk to friends, seek expert advice, make a vision board, write your thoughts in a list of actions or read one of the MANY blogs in the world that tell you how to make this year the year you succeed at everything you want to accomplish!
With so many options it can be hard to know where to begin! And with so many options it can seem like the option you choose is what will make this process successful for you. However, this is not true!
Regardless of the medium you choose for contemplation, there are 3 ingredients you need to do it well! I’m giving them to you right here so you can BE successful with this first step in making any action into a reality.
Ingredient #1: A Question
You’ve got to ask a question to get contemplating! And it can’t be just any question. Ingredient #1 is about engaging your curiosity and your creative mind. The brain wants to define, sort, categorize and execute. These are all great functions for action but can create noise or static that gets in the way of simple reflective contemplation.
The quality of the question matters and so does the way in which you ask. For example, one of the easiest questions to begin reflecting/contemplating on any topic is; What’s most important to me right now?
Now this is a very BIG question. It casts a wide open-ended net. If you’re not one for a lot of structure in life, say you like to navigate your way while you’re headed to your destination, then this question is for you.
If you prefer a little more security, stability and structure then you can be more specific with your question and ask; What are my top 3 priorities right now?
Both questions point to similar subjects in a very different way. You’ll want to choose what personally feels the most comfortable.
Ingredient #2 A Mode of Answering
Once you’ve got your question, you’ve got to choose your mode of answering. Just thinking about it is a good start and true reflection and contemplation goes beyond just thinking about something. You’ll need to engage in some practice, any practice (like one of the many listed above) to peel back another layer of the onion and go deeper than the initial thoughts that occur to you on the subject.
For example, I was so excited last week to get to do some of my own contemplation and preparation with a coach I adore who’s helped me over the years, Ms. Pati Maez. Being a more feel my way through things and use my intuition kind of gal, Pati’s sage burning, storytelling, drumming journey, and vision board collage process gets me going every time! The question I’m using now is “What my direction?” and the mode of answering I’ve chosen is the journal collage that Pati teaches in her coaching practice. The cover of my collage is the image for this blog.
Ingredient #3 Permission
This last ingredient may sound a little strange and IT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE! Permissions is consent and consent is an agreement. I’m just going to touch on this today. We’ll expand into it more in the coming weeks. Bottom line: we all have silent agreements in our minds that we may or may not be conscious of. If you want to know more, there’s a great book on the topic by Don Miquel Ruiz called “The Four Agreements”.
These agreements often sound like beliefs and can severely limit the permission we give ourselves to move forward. One common agreement many people hold is that negative emotions are bad. Aka. Anger, grief, sadness, overwhelm are all something to be avoided, let go of and even gotten rid of. Today I’m not going to challenge this agreement as true of false. I am going to point to its impact.
In case you didn’t notice, reflecting and contemplating is an opening experience. You’re looking into something you’ve never looked in before and you don’t know what’s inside. Something in your body is likely to already be telling you that what’s to come may include something you’d often want to avoid.
If you’re holding the quiet belief that your emotions are too uncomfortable to feel and you’d rather kick them to the curb and just move on; how’s that going to work for you when facing what’s next in planning or action, brings up the very emotions you want to avoid?
This is where permission is imperative! You need permission to feel and experience whatever comes from your first 2 ingredients. You need to give your body and mind consent to think about things that may be challenging and know you’ll be ok when it’s all over.
Let’s Get Cooking!
You now have a map to creating a beginning contemplative experience for yourself. Choose a question and begin to think about it. Choose a medium of expression and get your thoughts out of your head into a journal, a collage, a conversation or set a timer for 5 minutes and write whatever comes out on the subject. This is called free writing.
Whatever you do, give yourself permission to do it. If it’s scary or uncomfortable, you have permission to be scared and uncomfortable. If it’s intriguing and exciting to contemplate, you have permission to be intrigued and excited! If you don’t want to do it, you have permission to not want to and do it anyways 😉
I hope you can see that beginning without a commitment to act is in reality a very active task! It’s just that the focus of your action is directed inward towards yourself. This can be a foreign experience in a world where everything is often directed outside to external outcomes and rewards.
Good luck getting your reflections going. I’ll be back next week to give you more thoughts on permission and take you one step closer to action and choice!
Have a great week!