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Archive for July 4th, 2007

My lovely friend Soleil loaned me a book that I’m going to have to purchase my own copy of: Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain.  She and my sister used the book in a theatre class they took with Betty Buckley, and when we were having dinner on Monday before our meeting, she was telling me about pulling it out again, and doing some of the clearing exercises and other things. She was more alive and vibrant than I’ve seen her in a long time. It was good.

So last night I couldn’t go to rehearsals (which were subsequently canceled) due to flooding and flooding warnings. Our house has been in serious danger of flooding since the weekend. Joe had to dig trenches that lead from the back yard to the street in the front yard to keep the water from going over our foundation. And said foundation is sitting on mud right now, so our house keeps moving and settling oddly. There was a torrential downpour yesterday as I left the office. I actually had to pull over and sit in a grocery store parking lot for half an hour because the rain was so heavy that I couldn’t see anything. And when I did finally get to get back on the streets, people kept foolishly driving through the flooded lanes, which then sent surges of water through the other lanes. Texas is kind of a mess right now.

Anyway, since I couldn’t go to rehearsals last night, I did a few crossword puzzles, and then started going through the book and working some of the exercises. I had gotten myself a lovely journal specifically for this purpose.  (Not that I needed any prodding to get a lovely journal, because I’m addicted to them, but it was nice to have a good excuse!)  I filled 15 pages with affirmations, personal dreams, blessings in my life.  I felt so good after spending that time with the book and with my heart.

The exercise in goal-setting is a multi-part. First you list the following headings:

  • Personal growth and education
  • Work and career
  • Relationships
  • Creative Self-Expression
  • MoneyLifestyle/Possessions
  • Leisure and Travel

Make a few notes for each heading, just whatever comes into your mind. Dream wildly, extravagantly.

Then on a new sheet of paper, working with each heading and adding another called World Situation and Environment, write a paragraph or more–as much as you feel like writing–about “If I could be and do and have everything I want, this would be my ideal scene.”  It was lovely to take the time to do this. I wrote everything in the present tense, as if I already were doing those things, and dreamed away. It was fascinating to see how my passions and deep desires came to the surface. It was also nice to see that I’m not the selfish beast I sometimes fear that I am, because as I was writing things I want to do for my family, my friends, and for others made it clear they were very much a part of my dreams.

That’s as far as I got last night, but the next steps involve taking 10-12 items from the preceding exercise and turning them into 5-year goals, and then breaking those down into shorter term goals. Take only the 4 or 5 most important, though, don’t overwhelm yourself. Make sure the shorter term goals are in alignment with the longer term goals. 

I think this will be a good exercise to repeat periodically, because things change, people change. And as you achieve goals, you want to set new ones. My mother told me a story once of someone she knew (or possibly it was an urban legendish FOAF) who had made a list of things that he wanted to accomplish in his life. He set himself valiantly to the task of accomplishing those things, but neglected to add new dreams as he crossed out the old ones. So when he got to the end of his list, he was done with his life, and he died.  Okay, as I’m typing this out, it totally sounds like an urban legend. But I get her point. There has to be a purpose to life or why bother with living anymore?

I’ve asked that question multiple times recently, and have even written about it here. I want to know what my life’s purpose is. Why am I here? Well, as I was writing down my ideal scenes with those different topics, I found some purposes for my existence. I have some big dreams.  I want the world to be a better place for my presence in it. There are plenty of ways I can make that happen on a small scale. Can I make it happen on a larger scale? That’s my dream. Even should the answer to that question be no, even the ways I touch the lives of people around me can end up having tremendous effects as they touch the lives of those around them.

I think somewhere in the Talmud it says that if you kill one man, you kill a whole civilization. And if you save one man, you save a whole civilization. (I haven’t read this in many years, so I’m paraphrasing wildly.) I spent a long time puzzling that out when I first read it, and came to the conclusion that you never know how many lives you will affect indirectly through touching the heart of one person. You don’t know what that person will go on to become. 

One last thought: in the inside front cover of my new journal, I wrote my name: Faith. And I wrote this beneath: “There is a reason that I am Faith. I tried to be Virginia and Ginny. But I’m not, so I failed. Then I thought I would be Claire. But I wasn’t. So I asked Joe what name he would give me if it were his choice. After thinking for a few moments, he said that the only name he could think that was right was Faith. And it is right. I have faith in God. I have faith in Jesus Christ. I have faith in myself. I have faith in my loved ones. I have faith that humans are, for the most part, better than we believe ourselves to be and better than our actions would seem to indicate. I am Faith and I am faith, with all the significant connotations of meaning.” Okay, not the most clear and consise bit of writing I’ve ever done, but it came from my heart. When I decided to change my name, the name had to have meaning. It had to be my name in a sense that Virginia never was. I tried on Claire (a name I’d loved since childhood), but it didn’t fit properly. And when Joe said “Faith,” it’s like I knew right away that it was my name.  Even in those moments when I feel like all of my faith and hope have been drained out of me, the most important kernels are still there, and the moments pass, and I am filled again.  So there is yet hope for me.

Thanks to you all for your love and kind comments. They help me a lot on those days when it’s hard to keep going. Well, they also help me a lot on the days when it’s not hard to keep going, because it’s nice to have friends.

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