Find the Joy! “Call in” an Extraordinary Life
Has the idea that our thoughts create our reality finally reached mainstream? People certainly seem to be taking to the idea that focusing on what they want can affect their lives. Everywhere I look I hear about the surging popularity of “life lists.”
Life lists, once the domain of college grads, people at career crossroads, or those reinventing their lives, today, are becoming as common as grocery lists. Life lists are the busy person’s answer to the weighty and spiritual question: What do you want to do with your life?
A pioneer of life lists, John Goddard at age 15, sat down at the kitchen table and asked himself that question. He came up with 127 things (including climb the highest mountain, fly at the speed of sound, explore the ocean in a submarine, run a five minute mile, parachute from a plane, read the encyclopedia cover to cover, and play classical music on the piano) that he would like to do or see or experience during his lifetime. Today, John is 74, and he has completed 109 of his goals.
The NY Times, USA Today, WebMD, and NPR are just a few of the top websites currently hosting articles on the millions of people who are jotting down, comparing, and getting moral support for their goals and aspirations.
Why the ubiquity of life list makers? Vast numbers of us living productivity-centric lives are reaching retirement and we desperately want that mix of worldly pleasures and spiritual fulfillment. Evidently more and more people also believe in the power of intention – an idea whose time has come.
“In school you’re asked, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ Then people stop asking the question.” said Josh Petersen, a founder of the Robot Co-op, a Seattle company that runs the Web site 43Things.com
, which since 2004 has enrolled 1.2 million members who post goals and customized life lists, and offer support and encouragement to other members to check them off. The prevalence of life lists implies that just because we grow up, we don’t want to stop growing
. A meaningful life list can provide the blueprint for an ever-evolving life.
Which is why I was surprised when I read that losing weight ranks 1st in popularity on life lists. Procrastination, second. This shows that many list-makers are focused on what ‘not to do’ rather than what they are called to do or who they are called to be. For example, instead of writing down, “lose 20 lbs.” What would it be like to frame it this way: “Nurture and help create a fit and healthy body everyday.” Do you see how different that is? It’s subtle, but if life lists are going to inspire us to live joyously, how we state our intentions is almost as important as the intentions themselves. Which is why I loved the film, “The Bucket List.”
In the movie, Jack Nicholson’s character, Edward Cole, and Morgan Freeman’s character, Carter Chambers, play terminally ill cancer patients who go on a life list adventure. Sharing a hospital room they befriend one another and decide to fulfill their desires before they “kick the bucket.” Bankrolled by the wealthy Cole, they race each other in classic cars, sky dive, and take Cole’s private jet around the world. Sitting atop the pyramids in Egypt, Carter, an auto-mechanic with an obsession for facts, tells Edward that the Egyptian gods posed two questions to every soul before they could be admitted to heaven:
- Have you found joy in your life?
- Has your life brought joy to others?
Even with a list, will it really happen?
If you’ve made a life list or even a new year’s resolution and it’s already fallen by the wayside, you’re not alone. Research shows that about 80% of all New Year’s Resolutions are broken by January 31. By the end of the year, less than 5% of us will have persevered with our goals.
Studies show that even people with the most compelling reason to change their lifestyle, such as heart attack patients, stop following their doctor’s orders on diet and medication after three months. Why? Because fear doesn’t motivate – it makes us avoid. If you’ve promised to stop doing something that helps you cope with a stressful life, your coping mechanism will most likely win out.
I got serious about changing my life in 1990 when I was desperate for a kidney transplant. On dialysis for a year and a half I had run out of donor options from family or friends. At that time, my friend Kathy introduced me to Religious Science (not to be confused with Scientology) a spiritual philosophy that synthesizes science, philosophy and the commonalities of world religions.
One of the most important principles I learned over my three-year training was how to use “treatment”, a form of scientific prayer that helped me to methodically and consistently challenge limiting beliefs by introducing positive ideas to my subconscious. The subconscious is what “causes” us to be ourselves. Not just a storehouse of beliefs, memories, and habits, our subconscious is the source that the law of action gets its marching orders from.
This compelling form of New Thought gave me tools to participate in my life as a co-creator with the Divine. When, within a year, I received a perfect match kidney. I knew that my prayers (my intentions, my life list) had played a part in causing this miracle. Here are some of the essential ingredients…
Tips for Creating a Powerful Life List:
- Make it a joyful “calling”
- What is it that you really, really, really want?
- Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of the wildly popular book, Eat, Pray, Love advises us to answer this question every day. Asking yourself this question on a daily basis will get to the real essence of what you want on your life list.Connect goals with positive “carrots” instead of “sticks’ to help you sustain the necessary effort for their fulfilment. Until a “goal” is linked in your mind to joy, it’s not likely to take wing. By reframing your goal in the context of your inspiring life objective, you tether a positive association to it and it takes off like a helium balloon.
‘Lose weight’ and ‘stop procrastinating’ might be a means to a life list objective, but they don’t inspire joy or action. If you have a goal that doesn’t inspire action, ask yourself, what do I believe will be possible once I achieve that goal? In other words, what will you be able to do, or who would you become, once you’ve accomplished the goal? That is the item for your Life List. A life objective needs to “call” to you. Just by writing it down you’ll feel a surge of joy. When you actually accomplish it, you’ll be forever expanded.
Example:My friend, Maryann, wants to save more money this year (goal) which will allow her to become wise and worldly (life objective) so she placed a photo of Italy next to that goal to remind her of where she’ll go when she has the extra spending money. Very motivating!
- Making a list and checking it twice
Our bodies don’t lie. Make a list of five things that you want this year. As you look at each item on your list, listen to your body. If you feel fear and loathing when you look at “lose weight” cross it off your list. Replace it with something that calls to you and makes you feel giddy and excited.
- Stand in the strength of your convictions.
Believe that you can really have your goal or life objective. The Law of Attraction works best when you remove all doubt about it’s possibility. If you’ve ever heard yourself say, It sounded like a good idea but it never happened, you’ll appreciate the importance of bringing along your emotional side too. When our mind and hearts are aligned on what we want, we send a single-focused signal to the universe. To build the passion and attractiveness of your desire, write out as many answers as you have to these two questions:
Why will I have it?
Why must I have it?
We don’t need a life-threatening or life-changing situation to make us put life lists and intentions to good use. After all — at least in this incarnation — life is a finite experience. No one gets out of here alive. So before we kick it, let’s make a life list that ensures our bucket is very, very full.
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