Are You Looking for Your Potential

We spend January 1st walking through our lives
room by room
drawing up a list of work to be done
cracks to be patched.
Maybe this year
to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives
not looking for flaws
but for potential.

Ellen Goodman

Most of us spend a lot of time and energy focused on what’s wrong with our lives, all the ways things aren’t working, all the mistakes we’ve made and all the things we want to change. These thoughts take us either to the past or the future and out of the present moment. This creates a great deal of resistance that feels like tension and stress in the body and blocks the flow of energy in our lives. This makes it difficult to consider what else is possible for our lives and the world.

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Looking for what’s wrong is a speciality of our mind which is committed to keeping us safe. This actually makes changing anything difficult. From the place of our minds we are afraid to look for our potential because this takes us into the unknown. Our mind wants certainty. Yet every new beginning in our life has always involved a dance with fear and a leap of faith.

Our heart and its knowing can help guide us into unknown, opening us to our potential and expanded possibilities. This awareness comes to us as intuition or felt sense of what to do. When we take a step new possibilities are more obvious. When we allow ourselves to be in the moment creative inspiration comes.

So how do you access more of your heart’s knowing when you have a decision to make about doing something new. Take a few slow deep breaths. This actually signal to the body that all is well, that you are safe. Consciously relax your body with each exhale and feel yourself arriving more into the present moment. Place your hand on your heart as you do this. You will generally just get a sense of yes or no. The heart doesn’t give a long explanation of things. You just know.

I use this technique to access my knowing all the time with wonderful results both in my own life and with clients. You really do know. Your mind wants to second guess everything but your heart knows. 

You feel in your gut what you are, dynamically pursue it - don’t back down, don’t give up - then you”ll mystify a lot of folks.- Bob Dylan

What Sparks Your Creativity?

One of the loveliest words in the English language is the word “inspiration”. It signifies again the creative breath. It also has to do with spontaneity, with the arrival of the unexpected image or idea in the mind. Inspiration is the flash of connecting light that suddenly comes from elsewhere and illuminates. - John O’Donohue

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We don’t all find inspiration for our creativity in the same way. For me walking can open things up and let the ideas pop in. In my writing, starting with a word or phrase without thinking about where it’s going and allowing what wants to emerge on the page with a willing to be surprised gets the inspiration going.

For you it may be cooking or playing with your kids or grandkids or walking in nature or sitting in meditation or reading poetry or taking a class or dancing around the living room. Take a minute and consider what brings your inspiration alive. Plan to include more of that in your life.

There is tremendous value in sparking our creativity, not only for our work and personal lives but our bodies benefit as well. Research shows that when we engage our creative capacities we produce endorphins, the feel good hormones, along with boosting our immune system and the neurochemistry that increases brain function. We have an overall sense of wellbeing and an ability to solve problems and engage projects in expanded ways.

I know this is so true for me. Even writing a short draft of a poem or haiku immediately lifts my spirit. It doesn’t even need to be something I think is good. The act of opening to the creative flow even in small ways opens us to more flow and possibilities. Play with it and see if this isn’t true for you.