As much as Contemporary Taoism is about going with the flow, there also comes a time when you have to admit that things in your life have gotten a little stagnant and do something about that. I am in such a position now, but rather than clog up this blog with personal stuff (something I have been guilty of in the past) I would rather suggest strategies for deciding to do a "force refresh" on your life.
•Pay Attention to Gut Feelings:
If you are doing things because you think you should or because it would be the “clever” thing to do, but you have a strong tension in your guts, or a voice in your head (providing it is a reasonably sane one!) telling you otherwise, pay heed to this. Often it is your Higher-Self or your intuition telling you that you are on a less-than optimal track. Often we get these subtle hints but fail to listen or even to notice them, and then only realise that we are heading in the “wrong” (for want of a better word – nothing is really right or wrong) direction when really obvious repercussions arise.
•Ask for Advice:
Needless to say, from people you respect. For example I have been struggling a lot lately with having too many half-baked projects on the go but a strong desire to hold on to them all, to pursue them all. I decided to ask my girl’s father, a world-wise man indeed, and he gave me his opinion that it is best to choose a couple of things that are working already (as in the projects that seem to have taken on a life of their own and are most obviously leading the pack) and run with that. Very Taoist! He also said to write down the other ideas and put them aside for later.
•Listen to the People Around You:
As in – if the closest people in your life (your life-partner, work colleagues, best friend, etc.) are telling you that you might like to consider giving your life a shake-up, at least listen to them in a fair way. You don’t HAVE to take their advice, and heavens knows being able to deliberately tune out to nay-sayers is an important skill, but then again, sometimes these people know you better than you think. Again, if somebody you respect is offering advice give it consideration at least.
•Consult the Oracles:
As in the I Ching or the Tarot or whatever oracle style you prefer. I personally love both of the afore mentioned, especially the I Ching. For example, this morning I was deciding whether to go with my gut feelings and cancel a current project and I consulted the I Ching, asking if this was the way to go. It gave me a response of Hexagram 35: Jing (progress, advancement – rapid and easy change, reward, recognition, promotion) with an omen rating of “Good Omen”.
Voila! Decision made.
Now whether or not you recognise and thus respect the advice of such oracles is another discussion, but if you do (and I believe you would be wise to) then it is fantastic in such a situation. After all the I Ching is called the Book of Changes for a reason!
•Ask for a Sign:
Similar to consulting an Oracle, this is a technique that I only recently learned (from my boss, Elizabeth Stephens at LivingNow magazine). It simply involves asking for an obvious sign to come into your life, and defining what this sign will mean. You can be specific (“a red rubber ball will appear within the next two days which will mean X), or more general.
This worked spectacularly well the other day for me. I was considering this whole “too many projects” thing, and then sat down to meditate. I had recently decided to give my music a back-seat status as I thought it would be ‘cleverer’ to go with some other projects, but since then I have been more full of desire to play and sing than ever, and in fact have had a personal inspirational renaissance, realising that I have been unconsciously working up a new style over the last year or two which suits me greatly. So my gut feeling was telling me that it was a “mistake” to shelve the music and in fact it should take a more prominent role in my life again. I asked for a sign to either confirm this or to dissuade me, whichever the Universe saw as the wiser decision.
I then finished my meditation, and as it was late, I decided to go to bed. I was for some reason assuming that I would no doubt receive my sign the next day – my thoughts were quite focussed on the sign appearing “tomorrow”. Then I walked into the bedroom and turned on the light and WHOA! There next to my pillow was an old guitar – in a spot where there had never been a guitar before. It was so unexpected that as the light turned on I was really quite surprised to see it there – it stuck out like a sore-thumb. And further, I noticed the name on this old guitar (just a cheap one we found lying on the road once, not my proper guitar) for the first time – and it was ... Nashville – which totally summed up the Johnny Cash-esque direction my music has been moving in.
I doubt this ‘sign’ will sound as amazing to you as it did to me at the time – but it was an extremely profound moment, and I instantly had no doubt that the Universe had spoken.
So there you go – some very effective ways to decide that you need (or do not need) to do a “force refresh” on your life, as I have. Of course I could have mentioned boring but tried-and-tested methods like do a Pros and Cons list or whatever, but I prefer to use more cosmic methods myself. If you aren’t very in touch with your intuition or Higher Voice then I would encourage you to learn to meditate. It develops this skill, as does yoga and tai chi etc., which are just moving meditations anyway.
I have now made some pretty major decisions, and will be back to describe the changes I have made/will make in my life as soon as I have found a way to write about them without boring the world with a self-indulgent ramble about myself and the blue lint that collects in my belly-button if you know what I mean. Until then...
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Categories: Meditation, Blogging, Goals, Happiness, Motivation, Personal-Development, Productivity, Self-Improvement, Taoism, Tao