This Week’s Practice
Invitation: Act as an engaged observer of your life in 2017, paying close attention to your body, mind, spirit, and emotions, and review your year–season by season. Without censoring yourself, make a brainstorm list for each writing prompt below. Write down:
All the times when you felt most alive, even if it was as small as experiencing the kindness of a stranger in a grocery store. The more concretely you can describe the details in which these moments took place, the better. Look for what specifically enlivened you.
All the times you felt drained of your energy—even if it was during meaningful activities. Don’t be afraid to be honest. No one will see this list but you. It can be really clarifying to note what about the activities was draining (e.g., the people, the amount of activity, the tasks, the attitude you brought to the activity, the expectations, etc.).
All the times when you felt inspired to new heights, incensed by injustice or heart-broken (e.g., where did you experience a sense of being called forth—awakened pleasantly or unpleasantly to grow).
Themes from 2017
After doing your brainstorm lists, what themes or patterns do you notice?
What surprises you?
Wisdom for 2018
See if there is a journaling prompt in each category below that speaks to you most and write down your insights.
-Based on what you learned in the exercise, what daily and weekly activities will you commit to that enliven you? Is there support or a structure that would help in giving you this nourishment?
-What are you curious about exploring? Will you trust following your authentic heartfelt desires? How could you take one step to do so?
-What is it time to let go of—that is ready to be released (e.g., resentments, excess material goods, habits that don’t serve you, etc.)?
-Are there attitudes or approaches to life that are draining you (e.g., perfectionism, chronic self-criticism, cynicism, multi-tasking, etc.)?
-Is there support you need to help nourish you so you won’t feel so drained and/or alone?
-Is there a strength you need to cultivate that would help you to be more resilient in the face of challenges (e.g., courage, humility/asking for help, gratitude, etc.)?
-Are there practices that would build your “adrenal bank account” for life’s emergencies so you are not so drained by them (e.g., meditation, worry-fasting, spending time in nature, receiving physical touch/comfort, etc.)?
-What action, even if it seems tiny to you, would help address the problems that most bother you in the world?
-If there is something you feel inspired to do, what is one step you can take this week to get the ball rolling?
-Is there someone (e.g., a friend, mentor, coach, relative, cheerleader, therapist or wise elder) you need to help you in this growth process?
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” —Howard Thurman
“Never, ever underestimate the power of having fun.” —Randy Pausch, Last Lecture Talk (I cannot recommend this YouTube Video enough!)
“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” —Frederick Buechner