In the month of Feb, we’ve been exploring a process of consciously creating. This process can be used to create meaningful change in any area of your life.
We’ve been following Cara, who’s been looking at creating change in her health and stress levels. She’s just been feeling more stressed and more blah over the past few years.
This week we discover the final part of her journey, as she opens her heart and decides on some simple, positive actions.
And we find out what happened after that!
Listening to the heart
Last week, Cara sorted through the issues around her current situation. She got to release all of those that weren’t causing her discomfort, even though some of those things weren’t really “perfect”.
She was left with just a shortlist of issues that she realised “Need to change”:
- I find it hard to say no to my boss, so I often take on too much
- I reach for chocolate more and more for an energy hit, and have started keeping it in my desk drawer
- When I’m travelling for work, I don’t eat well
- We’re often too tired and getting home too late to make a good dinner, so we just snack (and sometimes have too much wine…)
- I feel like work is taking over, like I’ve got no time for myself or hobbies
To gain guidance from within, Cara reads through these issues, listening to how she feels inside. If she has trouble naming a feeling, then she actually pictures herself in those situations, and tunes into what feelings are present.
For each one, she notes down just one or two core feelings that happen alongside these situations:
- I find it hard to say no to my boss, so I often take on too much – guilty, overwhelmed
- I reach for chocolate more and more for an energy hit, and have started keeping it in my desk drawer – guilty
- When I’m travelling for work, I don’t eat well – sad, guilty
- We’re often too tired and getting home too late to make a good dinner, so we just snack (and sometimes have too much wine…) – tired, overwhelmed
- I feel like work is taking over, like I’ve got no time for myself or hobbies – sad
Now she’s going to make a quick list of her opposites to those feelings. They don’t need to be any one else’s definition of what’s opposite, just what’s meaningful to Cara.
You can try this too if you’re playing along!
- Guilty – Proud
- Sad – Satisfied
- Overwhelmed – Confident
- Tired – Happy
Now Cara is ready to move to her final step – taking action!
Now just the tiniest step forward is going to make a big difference to Cara’s situation.
Because she’s taken the time to really tune into her own personal meanings around this situation. It’s not what anyone else on the planet is telling her to be, to do, think or feel. It’s just her own experience of this situation. So the tiniest step forward is going to be rich with personal meaning, and will connect with all facets of her life.
Here’s what she does next.
Cara is now imagining those same situations, and she is imagining the same setting but feeling her “opposite” feeling. She names ONE action that she is taking from the new feeling-state. This is what her actions look like:
- When I’m feeling proud and confident, I take the time to listen to my boss’s needs around our department’s workflow
- When I’m feeling proud and I see chocolate in my desk drawer, I remember that I’ve brought some bliss balls from home and I enjoy having one
- When I’m feeling satisfied and proud, when travelling for work, I research healthy places to eat beforehand
- When I’m feeling happy and confident, I get some gourmet wraps for dinner on the way home from work
- When I’m feeling satisfied, I join a book-a-month delivery service so I’ve always got a good book to read
The thing is, for Cara, they are absolutely the right changes for her, for now, and they are very do-able.
Here’s what happened next…
Cara’s first realisation that things were shifting was when she was having a conversation with her boss. She remembered her “action plan”, and instead of feeling guilty and responsible for everything that her boss was discussing, she instead just listened. She listened to how stressed her boss was, she listened to all the demands that were coming from outside their department, and she listened to how confused her boss seemed about where to go next.
(And she was very proud of herself for not “volunteering” to take this workload on!)
And then an amazing thing happened…
As Cara listened, her boss started to gain some clarity. She started bouncing ideas around – what about if we do this part differently, what about we outsource that section, actually that project doesn’t need to start until next year… and so on.
Nothing in particular was resolved, but Cara walked away from that meeting feeling very different.
She felt proud! And she did feel confident too. Confident that she could help her boss, but in a very different way.
This was the catalyst that freed up a lot of mental and emotional energy straight away.
Cara then had the space to try the other ideas on her action plan.
Travel was easy, as she only ever visited the same five locations and so in no time she had a great variety of healthy options to try in each place. When she returned from a work trip, she felt much more relaxed and energised than in the past.
She and her husband enjoyed having easy healthy meals after work, and started cooking on the weekends and freezing healthy lunches and quick dinners. She discovered that “cooking” was a hobby that she used to love!
As she started to eat good food more regularly, was relaxing with a good book on the weekends, and wasn’t taking on more than her share of worry at work, this freed her up to start thinking about exercise. By varying her work hours, and sometimes working from home, she was able to start swimming, riding and walking on the beach – more hobbies that she used to love!
So, is Cara’s life perfect now?
You can guess the answer 🙂
Not perfect, but she’s feeling very different. She has more energy, more clarity and, most importantly, she has more space to enjoy the things she loves in life.
Work is still a big part of her life, but it’s not everything. And that has made all the difference!