Astarius shares journaling from his 40 day prosperity plan. I did not transcribe the video, so we’ll just have to listen to it to know what it is that he has to share about it.
For those of us who prefer to simply listen, here is the audio version of this video:
Sources and Links:
I think it might be interesting to spend a little bit of time exploring our known limitations, and figuring out how they serve us, what their benefits are, and how to work with them instead of allowing them to work against us.
First we need to know what they are. So, this means a list. A list of the limitations in your life that you feel are holding you down. These are the situations and the circumstances that you don’t believe will ever change, or that won’t be changing any time soon. For example:
- Getting old … inevitable, right?
- Physical disabilities …. not everything has a miracle cure.
- Geographical location … it’s not often possible to just pick up and move.
- Education deficits … you lack the degree or the training, and have no means to acquire it.
- Slow learner … not everyone is a genius.
- Not a creative thinker … not every one is.
- Not a people person … let’s face it, you just don’t like people all that much.
Be honest and creative with your list. This is not a judgment list, it’s a truth list. Think of what you’d like to accomplish, have, or do … and then list the undeniable limitations.
For me, it looks something like:
- I am old. Not as strong as I used to be. I am not two, three, or even four people.
- I have to continue to work. I have too many pets. I am reclusive and anti-social.
So now what?
Our limitations don’t really limit us as much as we might think. So let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater, instead, let’s look for the tiny nuggets of gold hidden in the muck and the mud. In what ways do each of these limitations serve us, how do they help us, what do they do for us?
Here are a few examples:
- Getting old = means lots of life experience, a wealth of knowledge, children and grand children (for some of us)
- Physical disabilities = forces a focus on health, allows more time at home, brings helpers and a support group
- Slow learner = slow and steady wins the race, teaches focus and concentration
This might require some thought, so take your time working your way through your listed limitations looking for the reward or the positive side effect.
And lets get real:
There are a number of things that you would love to be able to do, accomplish, or be that will probably never happen for you. Let’s make a short list of what they might be. My list looks like this:
- Climb an amazing and large mountain… all the way to the top.
- Travel overseas – Wales, New Zealand, Tibet, Siberia… cool places like that.
- Be a black belt in karate.
- Regain my lost youth.
- Have the ability to shape shift into any form, plant, animal or living thing.
- Explore alien planets and meet alien life forms (friendly ones).
- Have my own island, complete with large comfortable home, and all the amenities.
Don’t let your list depress you. And don’t put anything on that list that you think IS a possibility, however remote. We’re just narrowing down the possibilities. And this is helpful because unlimited options can be just as big of a roadblock as not enough options.
This is also true for me when I’m working on a creative project. When I have unlimited resources, I find it’s much harder to come up with something interesting and amazing. When I’m working with not quite enough materials, the art that comes is so much better. I think this might also be true in more practical ways as well. Have you ever noticed that too many choices at a grocery store makes it really really hard to decide what to buy?
And let’s go one step further. Take your list of things that will never happen, and see if there is any way you can tweak, twist, or revise them into something that despite of, or even because of, your limitations, they are indeed possible.
- I can’t regain my lost youth, but I can enjoy every moment I have left. I can be childlike and excited about every day.
- I can’t climb a mountain, but I can get into good enough shape to go hiking.
- I can’t be a black belt in Karate, but I can take Karate lessons. If I want to…
- I can’t explore alien planets, but I can read and watch Sci Fi, I can paint aliens and alien planets, I can pretend to be an alien… I can paint a closet with day glow paint, decorate it with planets and cool stuff and hang out in there with a black light and some cool music… wow… that does sound fun!
Well, are you ready to get moving on this exercise? I’m going to figure out where I can put my “alien” hangout… LOL. As always, I value your comments and any insights or experiences you’d like to share.
Are you still reeling from yesterday’s post? That Big Ass Character Development Questionaire? I know I am. So today, let’s do something really easy. I thought it would be informative to revisit our very first exercise, and find out if anything has changed.
If you don’t remember it, here it is. Have a piece of paper and a pencil at the ready. Now finish the following sentence with the very first word or words that come into your mind.
I am not …
Now, how many other things can you think of to finish that sentence with? Make a list. Write them down. Write as many as you can think of. As the day goes by, pay attention if you find yourself saying or thinking “I am not …”
We have been working hard exploring the not so comfortable aspects of our selves and our experiences. I think it might be nice to take some time to think about what brings us happiness, the little feel good things, the simple pleasures that we enjoy right now…. when we allow ourselves to, that is.
I’d love to see our lists get really long with this one, so I’ve come up with some ideas to get us started:
- Morning pleasures … what feels really good first thing in the morning?
- Evening pleasures … what do you love to do in the evening?
- Outside pleasures … how many things can you think of that you love to do outside?
- Inside pleasures … fun and pleasurable activities for inside, what are they?
- Seasonal pleasures … Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall…. what feels good in each of the seasons?
- Social pleasures … what you really love doing with friends and family.
- Childish pleasures …what you enjoyed as a child… and still enjoy today.
Here are some of my simple pleasures, just in case you’re feeling unsure of what to write.
- An ice cold beer on a hot summer day.
- A hot cup of campfire coffee while cuddled up in a blanket outside watching the sun come up.
- Cranking up the music and rocking out to Buddy Holly.
- Finger painting and making a huge mess.
I don’t know about you, but the simple act of writing this list inspires me to get up and do some of these things!
Sometimes we just feel stuck. I think it’s important to pay attention to the places where we feel stuck. If you have identified areas in your life where you feel stuck, here are some questions worth asking:
- Am I really stuck? Or am I just waiting?
- What am I waiting for? The other shoe to drop?
- Am I waiting for help? For answers?
- If I’m not waiting, could it be that I am resisting?
- What am I resisting? Why would I resist that?
- Why wouldn’t I resist that?
- What if I’m not stuck at all? What if I’m just resting?
- Do I need to take a nap? Am I just tired?
- Am I being pulled in opposite directions?
- Who is pulling me? And why?
- Maybe I really am stuck… glued down, even, what about that?
- Am I a prisoner here? Do I need to plan a prison break?
- Do I need a parole? A pardon? A passport?
- Should I make a battering ram? Find some dynamite?
- Maybe I like it here and I’m not stuck at all, what about that?
We all have uncomfortable feelings that drive us mercilessly, and I’m not talking about the feelings stop us dead in our tracks – that’s for another day. I’m talking about those not so pleasant feelings that get us moving, and doing. For example:
- Worry (I didn’t want to … but I did it because I was worried about …)
- Guilt (I did it … because I knew I should … or I didn’t want to get caught with my pants down… etc.)
- Fear (I didn’t want to … but I did because I was afraid that …)
- Rage (I got so angry I just …)
These are my primary ones, I’m sure you can think of some more. So let’s figure out how to use them, instead of letting them use (and abuse) us.
The first step is to pick the one (or ones) that shows up for us almost every day. Are you constantly worrying about things? Do you carry a lot of guilt? Are you afraid? Angry?
For me, worry is always a big one. I can worry at any time about anything. If I plant a seed in a pot I worry did I plant it too deep? Maybe it’s not deep enough. Did I water it too much? Maybe I didn’t water it enough? Does it need sun? Shade? Is the soil right? What if the soil isn’t right? Is it too cold? Is it too hot? Is it going to sprout? When is it going to sprout? What if it doesn’t sprout? Shouldn’t it have sprouted by now?
Maybe you can relate to that, maybe for you it’s something else. What ever it is, there’s a reason why this feeling drives you. There is a really good reason why it’s such a looming presence in your life. Let’s see if we can figure out what that is. See if you can think of all the ways in which it benefits you.
If I take my example of worry, I can say that it serves me well because it helps me to make sure that I do things in the best possible way. My seeds are likely to sprout and do well because I fuss over them and pay attention to what they might need.
Fear is another example, it keeps me safe – most of the time anyway. Some fears are irrational, like my fear of heights. On the other hand, I have never fallen off of a roof and broken my neck! So there’s that.
Once you’ve figured out what your slave drivers are, and how they benefit you, it’s easier to make friends with them. And having made friends, it becomes a much healthier relationship. It feels so good when I can say to my old pals, Worry, Guilt, Fear, Rage:
“Hi guys! I see that you’ve decided to join me today. What’s up? Want a sandwich? A nice cold beer? Are you coming with me to work today?”
Today I thought we could explore motivators that work. How do we know they work? Because they have worked for us in the past. In my experience these fall into two categories.
- Things we didn’t want to do, but did anyway.
- Things we wanted to do, and stepped out of our comfort zone for.
So lets start with a list of things we didn’t want to do, but did anyway. And let’s not stop there. I think it would be really super helpful to find out why we did it anyway. What was it that gave us that added push?
- I didn’t want to go to work Wednesday morning, but I went anyway because my daughter was counting on me, she needed me, and she would have been really disappointed and upset with me if I had let her down.
- I wanted to go to a concert with my granddaughter, so I stepped out of my comfort zone … bought Lady Gaga tickets (scary – I’m not sure why), agreed to drive downtown (yikes!), and eat at an unknown restaurant (way out of my comfort zone) … Why? Because I didn’t want to disappoint her. And also because I found someone who was willing to help pick out the best tickets, do the driving, and find a good restaurant.
Interestingly, for me, both examples have to do with making someone else happy. What does this tell me? That if I can find a way to include someone else’s happiness or comfort, I can get myself do quite a few things that would otherwise be really difficult for me to make myself do.
A Few More Ideas:
Other things that might motivate me to do what I don’t want to do might include:
Other motivators that might push me out of my comfort zone into new experiences might include:
- A Challenge (for example… if someone said “You can’t …”)
- Too much coffee…. LOL
So, guys… Let’s get started on our lists, and see what we can find out about what gets us up and out of bed in the morning, and keeps us keeping on even when we’d rather not.
Getting ourselves to do the things that we don’t want to do… that’s a tricky one. We all have activities, chores, jobs, stuff, that we “should” do, or are “supposed to do” and that we don’t do because… well, truth be told, we just don’t want to. Maybe it seems too hard, maybe it’s boring, maybe we resist for other reasons. Sometimes its something simple, like getting the laundry done or washing the dishes. Maybe you need to make a dental appointment, or return books to the library.
Today, I’m talking about the little things. Let’s leave the big things for later on. And by the big things I mean getting out of a bad relationship, breaking a bad habit. losing weight, and all those other big impossible scary things that seem fraught with danger and doomed to failure.
Let’s get the little things done before we go big and hit the hard stuff. What I’m hoping for, is that by getting the simple small things accomplished, we’ll build some momentum and all the other “but I don’t want to …” obstacles to health and happiness will simply fall away.
We’ll need a “to do” list that includes all the things that we need to do for one reason or another. Things that we don’t want to do, things that we have been putting off doing for days, weeks, months, maybe even years. Little things that weigh us down and nag at us in the background.
Make a nice long list:
- I should …
- I need to …
- I am supposed to …
Here are a few examples:
- I should … clean out the refrigerator.
- I need to … declutter my house.
- I am supposed to … do my taxes.
Now that your list is made:
Now that the list is made, it’s time to edit it a bit. You don’t want to do it… but you “should.” Is that really true? Or can you simply say, “Hey, I don’t want to, and I’m not going to… “ and poof… that’s over and done? You’re telling yourself you “need” to. Is that really true? Is this a necessary thing? Or can you just let it go? Just because you are “supposed” to do something, is it really true that you have to do it? Or can you just say no?
Here’s an example from my own experience… I “need to” go through all my remaining boxes of junk sorting and tossing, and organizing what I plan to keep before I put them into storage. I “need to” do this because it’s smarter, and it saves space in my storage unit, and it declutters my life. But I don’t want to. And I’m not doing it. And my house is cluttered with boxes and bins full of God knows what. So… maybe I “need to” deal with it now, but hey, I don’t want to, so I’m not going to, and poof… it’s going to storage UNSORTED and that’s fine with me… it’s better than fine because hey… I need a decluttered house more than I need a neat and tidy storage unit.
I “should” clean out the refrigerator. Is that really true? Yes. I have scary stuff in there taking up space, the last time I didn’t clean it out, I ate some bad tomato sauce by accident and puked my guts up all night long.
Now that we’ve eliminated the unnecessary items, our lists are shorter, and it’s possible we might even do a few things on our lists… or maybe not. Maybe we still don’t want to. If that’s the case, don’t worry, I think a good definitive list is plenty for today. Tomorrow we’re going to work on ways to motivate ourselves to get this stuff out of our hair and off our plates.
Yesterday we worked on defining our comfort zones… today we’re going to explore safe ways to get out of them. As American mythologist Joseph Campbell reminds us, “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” What are you waiting for?
I have a couple of ideas that I think might be helpful to explore. The first thing is to look at one of your known comfort zones, give it a title, and then do a “what would I do if…” Here’s an example:
I found that one of my comfort zones is my tiny area of familiar places. I think I’m becoming more and more reclusive. So, if I did the turn around it might look like this:
If I wasn’t so reclusive, I’m sure I would:
- Go to a bar that features live blues bands… and enjoy some great music.
- See the Pompeii exhibit at Union Station.
- Have more friends.
Another idea is to look at the individual sentences from the exercise yesterday, and come up with alternatives. It might look something like this:
When someone is unkind to me, instead of getting quiet and withdrawn, I could …
- Burst into a profusion of fake tears… (fun!)
- Fling my hands up into the air and say very dramatically, “Really??!?”
- Do a silent and very dramatic silent scream.
- Smile, and say, “That was mean.”
When someone is unkind to you, what could you do differently?
As you explore these other options, begin to think about trying a couple of them. Look around for ways to disrupt your normal routine. If you usually watch Action Adventure Movies, watch a Romantic Comedy. If you always sleep on the left side of the bed, try sleeping on the right. Take the long way home…. Little things. Easy stuff.
I watched Grey Gardens (again) this weekend, and I started thinking about comfort zones, and how sometimes our comfort zones are way too comfortable. And the longer we stay, the harder it is to venture out. And before long, our little hide outs turn into prisons and traps. Sometimes they even decay and fall apart all around us, and they aren’t even comfortable any more, but we stay in them anyway… because it’s what we know, because it’s what we do, because we’ve forgotten that we have other options.
So, I thought it might be interesting to explore the boundaries of our safety zones, take a look at them and decide if they are still safe, if maybe it might be good to push our boundaries a bit… let some fresh air in… climb out of our boxes.. go on an adventure… do something different…
I spent a long time writing and rewriting this post… working and reworking a number of different ideas… and I have come to the conclusion that this is not a simple subject. There are so many different facets to the boxes we close ourselves into. We need our comfort zones just as much as we need to be able to break out of them at will. In order to break out of our comfort zones, we first need to see them from the outside.
One way to do this is to write a number of lists.
The first one is geographical:
- I normally go … where?
- I usually don’t go … where?
The second one is social:
- When a stranger is (insert word from list below) … I usually react … how?
- When someone I know really well is (insert word from list below) … I usually react … how?
* Acting Irrational
- How many other words or scenarios can think of that you might want to explore?
The third one is personal:
- When I am afraid … I usually react … how?
- When I am angry … I almost always … what?
- When I am bored … I usually … do what?
- When I am happy … I almost always … what?
- When I am worried … I usually … do what?
- When I am excited … I almost always … what?
- How many other emotions can you think of that you might want to explore?
The fourth one is more intuitive:
- My comfort zones are …
- My patterns with people usually look like …
- My knee jerk reactions tend to be …
Here are some examples to help get us started:
- I normally go to the same places over and over again…. because it seems so much safer.
- When a stranger is rude to me, I usually withdraw into myself and get really quiet.
- When I am afraid, I usually invoke my angels and guardian spirits…
- When I am angry, and I am at home, I almost always stomp around and cuss and rant.
- When I am happy… I smile a lot, make jokes, and chatter.
So, let’s get started figuring out our comfort zones, and as always, it’s really going to be helpful if you write these lists down. Tomorrow we’re going to try to find ways to challenge them.
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