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Goals, Manifestation, and Flow

Thinking about my progression with goal setting today… How specifically and radically it has shifted thus far for me in life.  “Long ago,” I would set very specific and challenging goals. I almost always met them, but at great expense to many aspects of my life. I had a piece of the secret without realizing it… I was good at visualizing and feeling the state of the goal already achieved. But I had a lot of fear as well, which led me to believe I needed to work extremely hard to “make” things happen. So I did. And the universe listened to all of my combined beliefs… I achieved, but again, with vast amounts of hard work.
After a while, I decided to quit being so driven. I rejected goal setting, seeing it as a hindrance to my personal and spiritual development. I felt free and liberated from their tyranny. Some things progressed in leaps and bounds, but I found that still a lot of difficulty would pop up as I stood in duality with what I perceived as restraining structure and driven pursuits. A classmate in massage school was a few steps ahead of me and opened my mind to goal-setting again. But this time I approached with fresh eyes.
I began to write my goals backwards… Based on the kind of 90 year old woman I would like to be. I would feel her presence, listen to her life stories, hear the wisdom in her voice, see the twinkle in her laughing eyes. I would work backwards from there, wondering what I would be doing at 50 to become her, then 10 years from my current state, then 5, then 1, then 3-6 months. It put things in perspective and made my musings and choices more heart centered. It also gave me greater flexibility to shift the shorter term goals according to flow. I could more easily allow myself to observe and listen to how a current goal was working for me in the grander picture. It no longer was so much about obtaining or achieving, but becoming.
Now my goals would likely sound vague and abstract if I were to attempt to verbalized most of them. I am not so concerned with manifesting this particular thing or that, but observing how all is provided, trusting how all flows. My life still contains effort, but the enjoyable kind of doing what one feels meant to do, as well as what feels right in the moment. And my “goals” stem not even from a sense of “becoming,” but from a clarity of simply already BEING that 90 year old woman, traipsing around joyously through various time periods in my life.
My “goals” are thematic in nature, soul-centered, and played with according to my current (and ever-shifting) perceptions of reality/experience/existence/life. I allow them to flow and evolve with me, listening to subtleties of how any particular skin fits, short or long term. What feels most authentic? What is at the core?
Most importantly, I trust.  If I put out specifics, it is more so to see how the universe reacts, how it would like to play with me, how it guides me toward what will flow most easily and usefully for me and all those around me. I am purposeful, thoughtful, joyful… And the pressure is off. All unfolds… All already is.
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