I was very good at setting goals for myself all through high school. I was going to be a lawyer and chose courses that would lead me to law school. I am not a natural academic and had to work hard to maintain law school-worthy grades. After two years of university, I was accepted into law school. Instead of bringing joy and a sense of achievement, my law school acceptance brought tears and confusion. I declined the acceptance. My parents were disappointed with my choice but tried to support me.
I had created an identity built around this career choice and let other interests wither and die in its pursuit. I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted. After years of devoting myself to this path, I was hopelessly lost and disillusioned.
I finished my Bachelors degree but it did not feel like an accomplishment. I really would have benefited from some coaching at this point in my life, but struggled on my own trying to redefine who I was. The truth is that it my 21-year old self made the right decision in not pursuing a law degree. It was not the right career choice for me. My critical error was in investing so much of my identity in this career.
Having learned this lesson so painfully, I am not easily impressed by job titles, status, or hierarchy much to the chagrin of those who possess titles, status or hierarchy. It is an illusion that I am not attached to. I am much more intrigued by who lies within the facade.
I wish that I had Danielle LaPorte’s book, “The Desire Map” at that point in my life. Danielle shows us the power of identifying how we want to feel and making choices that feed these feelings. It was my feelings that led my decision not to go to law school. I eventually figured out what was important to me, but it took years and lots of missteps to get there.
I am currently reading “Wishes Fulfilled” by Wayne Dyer and he explains how the powerful energy of the subconscious mind will attract into your life whatever you plant there. The challenge with the subconscious is that it is often not in our awareness and can be full of all sorts of unexamined thoughts and beliefs that can sabotage our happiness and health.
So as I began my morning yoga practice, I wondered how I was going to reprogram my subconscious; a lofty goal when you are just trying to do a little yoga, pack a lunch, play with the cat and get out the door on time for work.
It takes my body awhile to wake up in the morning, so I have Pinterest boards with fitness videos that I can click on without having to think too much. I can do my own practice but the video keeps me honest by following it to the end instead of cutting out halfway through. In this Yoga with Adriene video she eases you gently into the practice with time to still your mind and breathe. And then she makes a suggestion to set an intention for the practice. I recently received the same suggestion during a group meditation so receiving the suggestion twice in one week was no coincidence.
I chose “relax” for my intention. Work has been crazy busy and I was aware that I was holding all sorts of tension in my body even during my sleep. So instead of trying to stretch as much as I could during Downward Facing Dog, I brought my awareness to relaxing into the pose. The addition of an intention to relax during my morning practice was amazing.
I was so grateful to Adriene at the end of this yoga video for the gift of intention. As I walked to the bus stop I caught myself starting to rush for fear that I would miss the bus. My own word of “Relax” and the feelings from my morning yoga came flooding back to me and I walked with intention for the remainder of the way. Throughout the day I had to gently remind myself to relax and you know what – it worked. I had a productive day and was not exhausted by the end of it.
The next day, my intention was to be gentle with myself. “Gentle” was my mantra for the day. The intention was the filter through which I moved through my day. I think by grounding the intention in the felt sense of my morning yoga, it was easier to draw back on it during the day.
This is such a simple thing that you can do for yourself and can transform your day. I just about said “transform your life”, but maybe by concentrating on small shifts every day we can transform our lives.
When we read self-help books we are seeking ways to live out lives more fully, but putting the teachings into action can be daunting. Could this simple practice of setting a daily intention help reprogram my subconscious as Wayne Dyer suggested? After one week of setting a daily intention, I do feel more like myself and am drawn to healthier choices. Why don’t you try it yourself and let me know in the comments how it was for you.