I’m a reasonably smart woman, and I tend to be rather more self-aware than average. But I am still very good at using that intelligence to fool myself and can get myself so focused on one thing that I remain completely oblivious to other things going on in my life of which I really should be aware.
But no matter how good I can be at fooling myself or at ignoring important input, my body always knows what my conscious mind is ignoring. And my body will continue communicating more and more loudly until it gets my attention.
It’s New Year’s Eve as I write this, a time when my mind naturally turns to looking back over the last year and forward to the next one. Even though I gave up on New Year’s resolutions a number of years ago, there is still something about this time of year that encourages reflection on changes that I’d like to see in my life.
As I look back on 2012, I see yet another year of much change—both external and internal. While this change in 2012 has at times been challenging and has caused me to make some fairly radical changes to where I thought I was headed, overall the year has been one of positive changes. This is especially true compared the amount of difficulty and heartbreak that 2010 and 2011 brought with them. It’s encouraging to note that I seem to have turned the corner from the process of being completely melted down to the start of the process of being rebuilt into something new in this journey through the chrysalis.
I’ve shared quite a bit recently about how great an effect my new gratitude practice is having on my life. I continue to be amazed at how much space this has created for long-needed shifts to happen, how much it has benefited my attitude and outlook, and how much more goodness I am noticing in my life all the time as I pay attention.
Every time I have adopted an intentional gratitude practice into my life, it has had surprisingly large benefits—beyond what would normally be expected for the amount of time and energy it takes. But the ease of doing the practice is probably why it tends to become so easy to take it for granted and gradually slip away from it.
I just spent time talking with my coach about all of the positive changes I’m seeing, and I think I’m finally convinced enough to make this an ongoing practice from now on, though. I am also eager to invite others to try a gratitude practice of their own to try it out for their lives.
I’ve given a lot of thought to the idea of finding a way to live out my life’s passion as a career. This, of course, first involves identifying my passions before I can go about finding a way to incorporate them into my life. Even once they are identified, though, the process of finding a way to live into them is not always easy.
This has been a real journey for me (one that is far from done) as I have “tried on” a variety of different things in the search for one (or a set) of them that will allow me to live the life I dream of, filled with work that I am passionate about. In some cases, I’ve discovered that I just didn’t have the necessary talent for it to be a good match. In other cases, I’ve found that I wasn’t nearly as passionate about doing the work as I thought I’d be. And in yet other cases, I encountered other roadblocks that I wasn’t determined enough to overcome.
This week’s set of links are all about finding one’s passion, what it is like to live one’s passion, and what else is necessary besides passion for a given career to be successful.
I read Steven Pressfield’s latest book, Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work, for the first time this past weekend. I say that it’s the first time because, much like his earlier book The War of Art, this is one that I can already tell that I’ll be coming back to time and time again.
In The War of Art, Pressfield introduces the concept of Resistance as the thing that all creatives fight against when we try to focus on our work. The primary way to overcome Resistance is to turn pro (as opposed to being an amateur). While he talks a little bit about what it means to turn pro in The War of Art, there is much that is left unsaid about how to make this step from being an amateur into the ranks of being a pro.
I am still adjusting to a new schedule now that I am working full-time again. I’ve gotten pretty good at getting up early, which is an amazing thing for me. I’m not a morning person by nature. I’ve tried all kinds of tactics for many years to find ways to help myself get up earlier in the morning, and it’s never worked for more than a couple of days. By prioritizing my writing time for first thing in the morning, I have now managed to get up early (2.5 hours earlier than I am used to) for a full four weeks!
I am incredibly proud of myself for the commitment that I am showing to my writing life. I am also unbelievably tired because I am not doing a very good job at going to bed much earlier than I used to despite my new wake-up time. Obviously, my bedtime needs to shift to an earlier hour very soon if I want to continue to be able to keep this up.
However, I am learning to appreciate the importance of sleep in a whole new way from going through this time of relative sleep deprivation. I am acutely aware of how much my lack of sleep is affecting my moods, my thought patterns, my motivation, and how my body feels.
Do you know the feeling of noticing that something has shifted inside? The sudden realization that something that you’ve been struggling with for as long as you can remember suddenly isn’t an issue any more?
I had a couple of those moments in the last couple of days, and both of them were related to taking myself seriously as a writer. In both cases, I acted as if I was already a “real” writer without having to think about it, psych myself up for it, or practice it. Something has shifted in me that has made my commitment to writing real for me in a way that it never has been before.