Gathering My Own Strength (A Different Approach to Goals and Action)

slow & steady in the sun, Mud Lake, May 2009

"We are vulnerable and exquisite creatures, complex mechanisms intended to move at a human and humane pace. We elect that pace every time we slow down to gather - and feel - our strength."

~ Julia Cameron, Walking in this World

The last six months of 2010 were crazy and exhilarating. I set hard, fast goals and I met them, gaining satisfaction and a new confidence in my ability to execute along the way. Then I set more big goals and worked hard at figuring out how I'd meet those.

Then I got tired of striving. So I stepped back.

For the past four months I've been experimenting with a different pace. For the first time in a while I've allowed Big Important Goals (BIGs) related to Life's Big Questions (LBQs) to sit on the back-burner. They're still there, they're just a little more fluid and a little less prominent.

Instead of setting a specific goal into the future and working backwards to see what I need to do to achieve it, I'm choosing to leave the goal in the background and take small intuitive actions in the right direction.

I set micro-goals that stem from insights that come up in my journaling (I like Matisse, I should dedicate a month to learning all about him, like a school project. I could report back on my blog!); I make micro-decisions based on gut feel (Which way do I feel like walking tonight? Which book is calling out to me today?). Then I trust that I'm doing the right thing.

Center stage shifts from goals and deadlines to intuition and the next right action.

This is a different way of working for me and frankly it makes the left-brain project planner in me cringe. But after four months it still seems to be working, at least enough for me to continue experimenting and see where it will lead me.

And I still feel like I'm moving forward, though I'm not always sure towards what. I'm learning how to "live more gracefully with ambiguity" (thank you Ms Cameron for wording it so beautifully).

Or maybe I'm just taking the time I need to gather - and feel - my own strength.