[Editor’s Note: Although this article is geared toward women, the excellent advice presented here can be applied to all of us!]
By Nancy D. O’Reilly, PsyD
Do you have all the power you need to create the satisfying and rewarding life you want? If not, why not? Sometimes an overwhelming external barrier keeps us from moving forward. If that is your situation, you have my sympathy and my admiration for your ability to cope. More often, we obstruct ourselves in a myriad of ways. We rob ourselves of connections that could sustain us and relationships that could bring us joy.
To live the most vibrant life possible, women must be able to pursue something they care deeply about. Each of us needs to learn what that is, chart her course, and keep her guidance system in good repair. The most effective tools I have found for doing this may seem elementary, but in my experience, they are essential.
My own mission is to help other women connect with their passion in every way they can and to connect with each other to make the world a better place. In pursuing my mission, I met the Dalai Lama a few years ago. He impressed me when he said the future of the world rests in the hands of Western women. What a responsibility! He also said that before Western women could fulfill this destiny — to become the force that changes the world — we must wake up. We cannot change anything for the better or act responsibly if we do not open our eyes, minds, and hearts to the world we live in now.
Move It or Lose It
The number one, most important way to wake up to our world — bar none — is to get moving. We are spiritual beings in a temporal body, and our bodies are meant to move. Exercise helps keep us happy and healthy. If you feel tired, stiff, or in pain, you are unlikely to take on that next ambitious challenge. The less you do, the less you can do. To avoid that unfortunate fate, please, try various physical activities and find some you enjoy. Just move more today than you did yesterday. Seriously, that is all there is to it.
There is no doubt that empowerment comes with waking up physically, and you claim even more power when you exercise the mind and spirit as well. The other authors in this section have addressed many of these approaches, but I would like to especially emphasize three healthy habits. You’ll notice the Dalai Lama said, “Wake up.” He did not say, “Worry about what you said yesterday or what is going to happen tomorrow.” Rather than fret about the things we cannot control, we need to stay present and focus on today, every day.
Turn on Your Senses
A good way to keep a present focus is to tune in to your senses and notice what they are telling you about your surroundings. How does it feel to touch, smell, taste, and listen to what is happening now.
You have surely noticed that whatever you focus on before going to sleep affects your rest and that your thoughts on waking affect your day. If we think about our blessings, whether it is having sweet water to drink or air to breathe, a sisterhood of smart amazing women to enjoy, or being endowed with an ability to create a painting or help another person learn a skill, we free up more zest for our daily activities.
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Once we wake up and are filled with energy, we are ready to pursue our passion and purpose. The biggest obstacle to achieving our purpose is the fear that we cannot do it. When we face a major change in our lives, like leaving a spouse or starting our own business, we have major fears to overcome. I know you can do it. Think it through. Talk it over with your women friends. I will bet they will have great advice and experiences to share. Plan it out with the best advice you can find. Then do the thing you fear the most.
Find Your Passion and Follow
It Many people live their lives without a thought to pursuing their passion. Work schedules, family routines, annual vacations, and birthdays flow by; the seasons come and go. They are living the life our culture defines as successful, yet they do not feel successful, much less fulfilled. If you recognize this, ask yourself, “What do I love so much that I would do it for free?” When does your heart lift? What makes you smile? Perhaps you love something you are already doing, a hobby or volunteer activity. Take stock of the things that mean the most to you.
Seize the Opportunity
Once you have identified your purpose, you will notice other women and men who are working to achieve it. Set your intention by articulating a specific goal and time frame. Visualize it as if it has already happened. See yourself in the role you are trying to create.
Once you are there, be sure to recognize your success and congratulate yourself. Women love to do this for others but often shortchange themselves. We barely pause in our momentum as we move on to the next goal. Stop it! Celebrate with your mentor, your network, or a group of sisters; lift each other up and honor your passion and purpose.
About the author, Nancy D. O’Reilly, PsyD.
O’Reilly is an author of Leading Women: 20 Influential Women Share Their Secrets to Leadership, Business, and Life. She urges women to connect to help each other create a better world. As a clinical psychologist, motivational speaker and women empowerment expert, O’Reilly helps women create the satisfying and purposeful lives they want to benefit themselves, their families and their communities.
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