Oh man, I feel like this summer in all of the new growth and anxiety I’ve felt, I emerging out of the fog with very little in my mind with which to cope. And in a way, that is the best thing that could happen to me for a few reasons. The first, is that it allows me to rediscover things that I already knew about life and intentions before, in a whole new way, without my past perceptions casting a shadow over my present reality. It also allows me to go back and re-trace a lot of the successful steps I’ve taken in the past, and then share that journey here with you.
In fact, yesterday while running with Mr. Lively while still in a bit of a personal funk, I kept searching for things to be grateful for in my own life after yesterday’s discussion on envy vs. inspiration. Logically I knew that I have a great life, and so much to be thankful for, but anything that I thought of to be thankful for seemed forced… Until I thought about the fact that I am able to share the tough stuff I experience here with you. To know that when something sucky happens to me, I am able to share it here on MML and read comments that say “thank you for sharing” is pretty incredible. Not many people get to turn their crap into constructive, positive feedback. And for that I am truly, deeply grateful.
Have’s, Do’s, and Be’s
Okay, now back to my newest epiphany. This weekend I decided to go back and re-read my favorite book of all time, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. This book helped me get out of a major rut in my life in college and is still the number one resource that I recommend to readers and friends when they talk about finding purpose, happiness, or intentions. It has been the single largest factor in my success at designing my own life and business with intention and I’ve probably referenced it here on MML over three dozen times.
What is crazy is that while in a tailspin of confusion, frustration, anxiety, and worry this summer, I never thought to go back to this book and re-read it sooner.
But better late than never, right?
In re-reading the first chapter on proactivity, I’ve discovered a major flaw in my recent life paradigm that has led to a lack of clarity and peace:
This summer I focused on my Have’s and Do’s.
After making a million intentions in a intention-based program a few months ago, I focused mostly on things that I wanted to have and do. I thought a lot about the dream house I want, the marriage and kids that I want, and the trip to Italy I want. I also thought about the things I wanted to do: learn Italian, do yoga every morning, eat a healthy vegetable every day, read the NY Times daily, save $1000 a month, etc. I believe there were around 144 things that I wanted to “do” overall to have the life that I wanted.
But the truth was that by focusing on the have’s and do’s I was so overwhelmed and dissatisfied at my lack of those things, I felt miserable.
And after finally letting go of the misery, the past few weeks I’ve wiped my mind clean of intentions altogether. Sure, I still want to launch the collections we are working on for Jess LC, and I am living my life rather similarly to how I normally do, but I was scared to think about intentions too much for fear that I would find myself back in the anxiety trap I just escaped from.
No impending need to “do” anything helped me release my life and live with open hands and faith.
But it also wasn’t giving me a lot of pleasure, just the blessed absence of anxiety.
And while reading Habit One, I found a clue to help me regain my excitement and joy while also avoiding the stress that my intentions had caused earlier: I need to work on my Be’s.Â
The one thing that I can control at all times, and work to improve, is my Be’s no matter what life throws at me. (Which MML reader, Marguerite, commented on earlier.)
I can choose what qualities I want to cultivate and focus on daily. And I also recognize that these Be’s are also the overriding frameworks that I can later design my life around once more. I just needed to realize that Have’s and Do’s aren’t the intentions in my life. They are the effects of utilizing my “Be” intentions. So here are my few, new, Be’s which will one day become my intentions:
I want to Be Present.
I want to Be Peaceful.
I want to Be Healthy.
I want to Be Grateful.
I want to Be Loving.
Starting with these overarching themes, I will eventually find ways to design my actions (my Do’s) to fit these intentions. But for this moment, I just want to relax into the idea that these are the things which are in my control in this very moment, and are attainable. I also have a feeling that over time, those Have’s I have been seeking may just come my way. But if they don’t, it doesn’t matter in this moment.
Right now, I just need to be.