Wouldn?t it be nice? Print E-mail
News - Final Word
Tuesday, 27 January 2009 01:32
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Was I out of my mind? In a one-word answer: yes. If you’ve ever written yourself into a panic attack by compiling a daunting list of NYR (whispered aside to the audience: New Year’s Resolutions), well, if you’ve ever done it you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Spot the problem. It goes something like this: In 2009 I will write a novel, build a house, double our monthly turn-over, publish a slim volume of poetry, climb Kilimanjaro, lose 10 kg, breed exotic songbirds, learn to play the violin, grow all my own vegetables and herbs, and, and, and.

All of them? Does the phrase ‘doomed to fail’ jump to mind? It’s not as if I sat with a void I was trying to fill. The schedule was hectic to start off with. No wonder I used to greet the annual countdown with a hang-dog-hound look.

So, what to do with all our dogged determination? Should we set no goals at all? Nope. We just need to see them for what they are. Very often they’re mere stand-ins. Here’s an example: We might think that what we want is enough money never to panic about paying bills again.

News flash: You’re talking about a feeling, not something in the external world. What you’re looking for is financial serenity, not a pile of money in the bank. The two don’t necessarily have anything to do with each other.

So, how about setting your goals according to your intended feelings as opposed to intended outcome? If you feel compelled to draw up a list that would chart your course to a preferred destination this year, just make a note of what you’d want to feel like when you reach your ‘there’. It’s the feeling you’re after, girlfriend – not the look of it; neither the place nor the object. They’re lifeless.

Ask yourself what the feeling is you crave. Then, if you really have to, you can make a list you start off with the words: “Wouldn’t it be nice to . . .”

According to life coach Lorraine Cohen “wouldn’t-it-be-nice-to” eliminates potential objections our minds can create to work against a thought. The beauty of “wouldn’t-it-be-nice-to” is that you invite your imagination to dream and play without resistance or attachment to the outcome, while letting the universe know what you want.

But if you don’t believe in lists at all, you’ll appreciate Scott Blum’s story. He writes that this time of year reminds him of an enigmatic man named Robert and the task he set Scott one New Year’s Eve. He asked Scott to make two lists. The first a list of all the resolutions he wants to keep and the second a list of the ones he will keep. Scott spent several hours working on the two lists.

His ‘want-to-keep’ list included nearly all his ideas of an ideal life. His ‘will-keep’ list was much easier; it contained all the things he could do by accepting his current life.

The next day Robert asked for Scott’s ‘will-keep’ list first. Without even looking at it, he ripped it up and threw it away. Scott thought it was because the second list was a cop-out; the ‘want-to-keep’ list was the only one that mattered. However, Robert crumpled it up as well and tossed it away without looking at it.

And then he said: What you should or could do with your life are not the most important things. He drew a folded piece of paper from his back pocket and handed it to Scott. On it a single word was written: Love.

Each year we’re given a fresh start, says author Sarah Ban Breathnach,“and maybe this time we’ll figure out what it is that we really love, how to bring bits of our passion to daily life and end up living our own lives.”


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