We declare 2014 the year of Hope!
No one can deny that there is much to worry about in the world and in our own microcosms – family, work, community. When we read or watch most news accounts, we surround ourselves with a toxic cloud of negative emotions – worries, fears and anxieties. Is it any wonder that depression is increasing worldwide [i]?
While the causes of major depression are varied, including genetic tendencies and life events, it is often caused or at least exacerbated by how we spend our mental time. Often, we’re not even conscious of how much time and energy [the ultimate non-renewable resources] we waste thinking about the past or worrying about the future.
Guilt [regret] is caused by living in the past.
Some people navigate through life with one eye always on the rear-view mirror. They miss obvious opportunities for joy and meaning that are right in front of them – or beside them.
Anxiety [fear] is caused by worrying about the future.
Others play out possible doomsday scenarios daily – the ‘what ifs’ that almost never happen, but cause chronic anxiety and over-reactions – both of which diminish relationships and sap energy and joy.
Investing energy in regrets about the past or fears about future ‘what-ifs’ returns nothing that enriches our lives. Spending much time in either of these two states saps energy and hope – the two fundamentals of a life of meaning and joy. It is also a waste of the most precious gift that life offers – living in the NOW.
“The clock is running. Make the most of today. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present.”
– Alice Morse Earle
The path to joy and fulfillment: take time to define and focus on your VISION for the future, to DREAM about the possibilities, to consciously surround yourself with images, words and feelings of HOPE, to live in the NOW, and to ACT every day to move closer to your dreams. If you’re a skeptic and this sounds like new age jargon to you, I challenge you to try it for just 30 days. What do you have to lose – especially compared with what you stand to gain?
First – answer these questions:
1. If all your dreams come true, where will you be in [choose your own timeframe – 5, 10, 15 years]?
- What will you be doing?
- Who will be with you?
- How will you feel?
2. What values are most important to you?
Next – write the answers and post on your bathroom mirror, above your desk, on your computer and smart phone screensaver or desktop, in your planner – wherever you will see it often – preferably multiple times each day. Each time you become aware that your vision statement has become so much a part of your environment that you don’t ‘see’ it anymore, change it. Fine-tune the message, change the paper color, the background color, font, images – whatever you need to do to refresh it; then repost it.
Give yourself the gift of a few minutes to dream every day. You will be mentally sharper, more creative, hopeful and focused.
“Hold fast to dreams, For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird, That cannot fly.”
― Langston Hughes
When you feel doubt, anxiety or fear, take at least a few minutes for mindfulness meditation:
- Close your eyes.
- Think about a peak moment in your life that brought you happiness. Continue to breathe and feel the feelings you felt at that time.
- Think about a personal experience with unconditional love – perhaps of a small child or an animal that brought you joy. Feel the feelings you felt at that time.
- Focus on your breathing and on gratitude for the happiness and abundance in your life.
- Focus on breathing and using the words “I AM”, add a couple of words about your hopes and goals [for example the words I use are “I AM Healthy, Focused, Hopeful and Peaceful”]
Keep your vision uppermost in your mind. Start and end every day by reading your vision out loud and visioning yourself in the future that you are creating today. Winning athletes vision themselves competing and winning. It’s as important as actual practice – and in many instances, produces consistently superior results.
“A genius is simply one who has taken full possession of his own mind and directed it toward objectives of his own choosing, without permitting outside influences to discourage or mislead him.”
― Napoleon Hill
What are you doing NOW – Today – to move closer to your vision?
How are you living a meaningful life – Today?
“Do not wait: the time will never be ‘just right’. Start where you stand, and work whatever tools you may have at your command and better tools will be found as you go along.”
― Napoleon Hill
Wishing you a lifetime of Hope and abundance!
© copyright 2009-2013. Marilou Myrick, The Stage®/ Masters Among Us, Inc. All rights reserved.