Your eyes slowly open; it’s morning: a large block of conscious awareness lies before you like an empty scroll. Chances are you go through your routine and head out the door. Or if you’re a little more tuned in you may ask yourself, "What will the day hold? What unforeseen experiences await? I wonder what will happen today?"
But you're asking the wrong fucking questions.
There is a world of difference between a day chosen deliberately by conscious intention and one left to the winds of change, distraction and momentary urgencies. Your mammalian brain can and will lead you around all day fulfilling subtle and not-so-subtle bodily urges, seeking dopamine-spiking experiences and making choices based on comfort and fear.
Do you realize that today you can go, do and be… anything? Of course there are limitations such as needy children and an employer that is expecting you to show up. But if you wanted it enough, you could literally do anything. Like, today, goddamnit.
- Call right now to hire a babysitter, sit on a dock and fish for 2 hours.
- Take one 20-minute internet course to start learning French.
- Go night swimming under a clear, starry sky. Include clothes if you must.
- Surprise your lover with a sweet note written on the bathroom mirror using a dry erase marker.
But day after fucking day we do the same things, go the same places, taste the same juices. We are The Walking Dead pushed and pulled by primal urges and blind unconsciousness.
Which leads us to perhaps the biggest question of all: “What do you WANT?”
If you’re like me, you may not know at times. It’s often a long and painful experience of figuring that out. And that’s the subject for another post on another day. But let’s say you’ve got some ideas. You know what you want to do and be. Then what?
- Write it the fuck down. Get it out of your head and down on a page or a smartphone journal app or whatever. If it’s your intention to drive to Vancouver, you don’t just in a car and start down the highway - taking whatever road you “feel” like at each intersection. If you did, God knows where you’d end up, but it won’t be Canada. Know where you’re going, map it out and take deliberate steps to get there.
- Every morning set your alarm for 15 minutes earlier than you already do. Wake up and go over a self-made WORKSHEET. Make this part of your habit; copy the previous day's text, paste in a new entry, erase yesterday's input and start over. Perhaps it looks something like this:
Spiritual Practice (spirit): Meditate at 7:30am
Exercise (body): Leg workout at 5:45 tonight
Read (mind): Finish Chapter 3 tonight in bed
Spouse (love): Bring home flowers at lunchtime
Help (serve): Shoot a brief encouragement text to Steve
Create (creation): Start backdrop on painting
Learn (growth): 15-min Spanish lesson over breakfast
Or maybe you sub in other “line items” such as categories for Play, Sexual Exploration, Pet, Children, etc.
This doesn’t mean any of this is inflexible or carved in stone. You should be willing every day to take ALL of your plans, burn them with fire and piss on the ashes if the cosmic winds blow circumstances into your path. As 38 Special said, “Hold On Loosely!” - forgive yourself and SURRENDER to what you cannot control. Hell, maybe all of this control of will and autonomy is an illusion anyway.
Lastly, you might read through the Worksheet above and say - “That’s way too much; there’s no way! That would require constant attention and to always be living by a notebook.” So start small and add over time. Does this kind of artful living require more focus and effort than the common, modern mindlessness? You bet your sweet, round little ass. But one thing I know for certain:
No one accidentally gets good at anything.
No one unintentionally stumbles into a long-lasting,
Or unwittingly builds an empire.
Or inadvertently books a plane to sightsee Peru.
Or wakes up one day to see a life they truly desire.
There’s a way. You’re just being a puss about it. The only limitation is your imagination and your will.
By Trevor, The Edge of Spirit