8th February, 2014
When I dance, it’s as if my body is singing.
I have this inescapable joy pulsing through my veins and an indescribable feeling of freedom. Somehow, with the music coursing around and through me, the people I am with, the thoughts in my head, it all comes together inside my heart and my spirit, and I can’t stop moving. I am vibrant. I am blissful. I am happy.
Our feelings are one of the main driving forces in our lives. When we strive for something with the same overwhelming passion that we feel when we are in love, we will stop at nothing to shift mountains and gain our desire.
It’s a little ironic then that we are told from a very young age, to deny the very feelings that inspire us to be at our best. We are told not to get emotional in our workplaces and our relationships. That decisions are made best without the messiness of feelings. It’s true that when we make decisions about our lives or our work we need some evidence. We need some research. We want some factual information, so we can make the best decision possible.
But here’s the thing: Living our lives without emotion, making decisions without acknowledging and engaging our feelings is a bit like fresh bread without the butter: very dry! We need to trust our emotional intelligence as much as the factual research. Especially when our feelings can be the difference between realising our dreams or not.
I am assuming that most of you, like me, wrote up some goals over New Years. You may have reassessed your achievements in 2013, and then spent the first day of the year writing up a plan for 2014, using any number of tried and trusted planning tools.
I have a very dear friend who spends his entire day, locked away in his flat on the first day of each year, painfully reviewing his achievements and failures in every aspect of his life: money, relationships, health, well-being, family, spirit, career and adventure. Then he spends the next day writing up new goals and strategies for achieving his goals for the new year. In many ways this has worked for him. As far as I know he has maintained this commitment for the past ten years, and over the past decade has achieved some amazing outcomes.
I have also used similar tools to achieve what I want to achieve throughout the year, and in many ways this has worked for me. But I always get to the end of the year feeling a little disappointed at the list of unmet goals. And I am always puzzled by the number of goals and dreams that seem to sit on my list year in, year out, never quite achieved; shoved aside or packed away, for more urgent or pressing work or responsibilities.
Why does this happen?
For example, I have wanted to travel to Ireland since I was fifteen.
For a long time I didn’t quite have the resources to go, but over the past three years I have definitely had the means and the time to travel, so I have placed Ireland at the top of my bucket list. ‘Travel to Ireland for two weeks.” I still haven’t gone.
The other issue is the weird, empty feeling that I am left with when I achieve some of my dreams or goals. Odd right? If you really want something, then surely when you achieve it you should be over the moon?
How different to the experience of one of my son’s who bought a jeep. It’s his first car, and he had worked hard and saved for it all year. He had magazine pictures of jeeps up on his bedroom wall and bathroom window. When things were a bit tough at work, he told himself that he was on a mission to get his jeep. But it wasn’t just the jeep. It was the feeling that he imagined having the jeep would give him. It would give him freedom. He wouldn’t have to rely on his girlfriend and his mates to drive him around all the time. He could come and go when and where he pleased. When he imagined buying the jeep, he imagined the feeling of being completely free and independent, and that’s what he wanted more than anything. That thought, that dream, was what he was ‘in love’ with. When he did finally purchase the jeep, the feeling of achievement stayed with him for a long time. He still has a delirious grin on his face when he arrives at our house for a cup of coffee. It’s because he can.
So, that brings me back to our feelings as a driving force behind what we achieve and what we really want to achieve.
Think about the goals on your 2014 Bucket List, or Yearly Life Plan that you are ‘in love’ with.
How do you know that you are ‘in-love’ with it? Think about why you want to achieve it. Why do you want this thing or achievement in your life? How will it make you feel? Will it make you feel the same way you do when you are dancing? Or something that for you evokes a similar state of bliss and joy? Or have you listed ‘lose weight’ as a goal, because you think you should or your mother will stop nagging you? Perhaps you have “buy a house’ on your list because that’s what everyone one does when they become an adult? Or perhaps you are losing weight to feel blissful in your own skin, and just the thought of feeling beautiful and strong in your own body makes you feel free?
Just a thought.
I took a good look at my Bucket List 2014 plan today. All four jam packed pages! Definitely enough here to achieve for the next few years! Anyway, I started to work though the list of goals, experiences and achievements, placing a feeling next to each one. For each goal I asked myself: Why did I want this? How would having this or experiencing this make me feel in my life? What was I actually trying to feel?
I was surprised when I reached my precious goal about travelling to Ireland. Even though it has been my number one goal for many years, I have always put it aside. Why? Did I not want to go?
Was it not really a passion of mine?
How do I imagine travelling to Ireland will make me feel? Or is this goal sitting on my current Bucket list because it has been on the list for such a long time? It turns out that I wasn’t connected with how travelling to Ireland would make me feel at all! It’s been a goal on my bucket list for so long that I had lost that loving feeling…instead I had zero attachment to it. My choice was to take it off the list or reignite the romance I had. So a few travel documentaries and websites about the emerald Isle later, I looked into the eyes of my long lost love and wrote down ‘Travel to Ireland and do a 10 day tour’.
What about you? What’s on your list? How will each item you have listed make you feel?
Like you are dancing? Like your body is singing? Will it make you feel free?
“Last night I lost the world, and gained the universe.” – C. JoyBell C.