If you bothered to set resolution or two this New Year, you may already have broken it.
The gym membership you intended to use is calling your name. The extra affection you promised you’d show your partner went out the window when you unexpectedly lost your temper…
I won’t go on. You get the idea.
Resolutions are no fun, because they’re about resolve. Muscle. Working hard. Willpower.
Resolutions feel rigid, tense.
Not too many people I know want to feel uptight. Not very motivating, you know?
Luckily, you’ve got a juicy alternative to Resolutions. They’re called Dreams.
Dreams are lighter, airier, more spacious, freer.
Try this on for size: Think of something you’d like to attain this year. Like getting a new job. Then, say each of these aloud a few times:
“My resolution is to get a new job.” [Fill in what you'd like to attain."]
“My dream is to get a new job.” [Again, fill in what you'd like to attain]
Notice your body. How do each of these sentences make you feel? Tight? Loose? Anxious? Relaxed? Heavy? Light? What sensations occur in your body?
Your body’s responses are all clues from your Inner Compass, letting you know which choices (of actions to take, people to be with, and places to go) will take you toward your desires, and which choices will point you away from your desires.
Your Inner Compass is that sense within you, literally informed by your senses, to help you find your way, moment to moment.
When you consult your Inner Compass, which you do by paying attention to the sensations in your body, you can notice, as you imagine your choices, which choices feel good and which don’t feel good. Your Inner Compass is urging you to move in the direction of what feels good to you. It’s like you can sense the magnetic energy of good choices by listening to the sensations of your body.
So, let’s go back to Dreaming about what you’d like to attain this year. You might have some mental resistance to dreaming, telling yourself, “That’s for kids.” But really, if your body gave you positive signals in the little experiment I shared, I invite you to try out dreaming in a specific way. Your mind will have an important job to do (and minds like to feel important, trust me).
What is it you want to attain this year? Make it a dream by closing your eyes and seeing the fulfillment of your dream, vividly, like it’s a scene straight out of a movie. Imagine you get the outcome you want (without concerning yourself with how that happened). Where are you? What do you see in your surroundings? Bump up the colors so they’re brighter, more magnificent. What sounds and voices do you hear? Pump up the volume. What are you doing in the scene? Imagine your actions being bigger and bolder. If your dream includes tastes and scents, allow them to be full and larger-than-life.
Now, fully immerse yourself in this dream scene. Get into the action. Notice how you feel.
I mean two things here. First, what emotions bubble up? Joy? Excitement? Tranquility? Awe?
Second, what sensations arise in your body as you immerse yourself in this dream? Are you tingling? Breathing more deeply? Feeling sweet relaxation? Just allow your body to feel what it feels. The emotional and sensational energy comes from your your Inner Compass, and it’s giving you a directional read on the power of your dream to move you forward.
So, if you already experienced great emotional and sensational energy from your dreams, keep dreaming. Regularly. Preferably twice a day: a few minutes when you first arise in the morning, and a few minutes before you go to sleep at night.
Instead of muscling into attainment of your dream by the brute force of resolve, allow your dream to pull you, magnetically, to the people, events, circumstances, and events that will lead to fulfillment. Too many of us, myself included, have been lead to believe that we have to figure out how we’re going to make our dreams come true. But we don’t get a roadmap in advance, so looking for the neat and tidy plan is futile.
My guidance: Don’t figure it out — feel it out!
What works more effectively is to allow your dream to unfold. So if some aspect of your path to fulfillment is unclear, or you didn’t experience good emotional or sensational energy from visualizing your dream, ask your Inner Compass to point you to your next step.
Yep. Just check in with yourself. It may help to put a hand on your heart (many people relate to this as the home of the Inner Compass — for some others, it’s the gut; it’s fine to sense your Inner Compass anywhere in your body). Say to yourself, either mentally or aloud, “Dear Inner Compass, please guide me. I want to know my way. Show me my next step.”
Then, wait. Sometimes, you’ll need to be patient. Other times, your Inner Compass points out the way right away. And it doesn’t always speak in words. It might be that you’re suddenly grabbed by an image in a magazine. Or a song is planning and the lyrics make your next move clear. The key is to open your attention, particularly to feeling grabbed, pointed, guided, or nudged, in a particular direction. You’ll feel your Inner Compass signal you through sensations.
Like for me: I had a dream of studying psychology. I’d been looking at PhD and Masters programs, but they kept making me feel sleepy and sluggish. Then, I was at a friend’s home and I saw a book, Molecules of Emotion, on his coffee table. I was pulled to the book. Like a magnet. I felt so tingly and alive just holding a book with this ultra-compelling (for me) title. I thumbed through it excitedly, and begged to borrow it. My friend, Gustavo, doesn’t usually loan out his books. But I was so persuasive! I gobbled down every word of this treasure chest on emotions and the body. The author, Candace Pert, introduced me to mind-body psychology.
Thankfully, my Inner Compass gave me those loud, clear body sensations as signals to read that book. From there, I explored academic programs in mind/body psychology and ultimately earned my PhD in the field. And that’s lead me to creating Work from Within, my passion-filled, meaningful livelihood.
So, if you want a sensational life, pay attention to your sensations.
Allow your Inner Compass to point you along your individual path to your dreams.
Happy New Year — and happy dream fulfillment!
Susan Bernstein, MBA PhD
Executive Coach & Work Futurist
Work from Within
PS – Ready to dream up that wonderful new career of yours? Where better to do that, than in a hot tub on the Pacific Ocean? If you’re at a career crossroads, you’re probably not making a lot of change by sitting at home just thinking about it. Come relax at the Esalen Institute, while you take a workshop that will help you make the career shift you deeply crave. Join me on Presidents’ Day Weekend, February 15 – 17, 2013, in Big Sur, California for Crafting Careers That Truly Fit: How to Work from Within. It’s a powerful, transformative workshop that will help you know your next steps. How? By get you finely attuned with your Inner Compass. And, if you register by January 25, you’ll get a free 30-minute coaching session with me that you can use after the workshop (over $175 value), and 2 digital downloads from the Work from Within store. Get all the details here.