Writing Our Way Toward What We Want
There is an art to living, to creating your life on your terms based on what you want, your talents, your values, and your dreams. In a culture where we must attend 13 years of school, we are rarely taught to look within and name what it is we want from life. We are rarely taught that we have the power within to live the lives we want.
All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become. -Buddha
While we cannot control what happens to us, we can control how we respond to what happens based on what we want. For example, if we want to be loved and valued for who we are, and someone important to us mistreats us and doesn’t value who we are, we do not have to believe that we aren’t lovable or not valuable. We can respond to someone’s mistreatment by affirming to ourselves what we want: “I want to surround myself with people who love and value me.”
But first, we must know what we want. One way of giving voice to our wants is through the practice of journaling.
“You can do what’s reasonable or you can decide what’s possible.”
When we write, we continually meet ourselves at the page and listen to our deepest wisdom and desires. As we become clearer and clearer about the things in life that we want, the things and people that we don’t want have a tendency, over time, to fade away, making room for those things and people that we do want.
Writing in a journal is a powerful tool for cultivating what we want from life and living our way toward that ideal. It is a way to express the art of living. We are artists, creating our lives out of the materials of our experiences, thoughts, and dreams. When we write, we empower ourselves and breathe life into what we want and how we want to life.
Writing Exercise: What do you want?
If you could create your life to be exactly how you want, what would it look like? Dare to imagine the perfect life for you—what kind of person do you want to be? What kind of people do you want to spend time with? How do you want to feel? How do you want to make the people around you feel? Where do you want to live? What do you want to do for your work? What do you want your home to look and feel like? How do you want to live—do you want freedom, stability, love, acceptance? Do you want adventure, wisdom, and laughter?
To begin, simply sit down and open your journal to a blank page. Beginning with the words, “I want,” write everything that comes into your mind that you want. Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, or grammar. If you get stuck, begin again with the words, “I want.” As you write, be as specific and courageous as possible. Do not let your fears and insecurities step in and block what you want. Don’t listen to that critical, mean voice within that says, “This is not possible for you.” Like you are flicking at a piece of lint, flick away negative thoughts that only bring you down. These thoughts are not real—they come from our shadow side. And nothing shrinks a shadow better than a beam of light. Shine light on all that you are and all that you want.
Today and beyond today, continually ask yourself and write about what you want. If you keep up with this practice, you will live your way into the life you want.
Remember always, you are the ultimate artist creating your life.
All the arts we practice are apprenticeship. The big art is our life. -M. C. Richards