Pause, Re-Focus, Carry On

Jun 24 2017

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: Jenny Saunderson, Gloucester Road, Bristol

Ah the frantic, sexy thrust of mid-summer! Orgasmic flowers flirt with the randy bees, horny trees release their seeds to the rampant breeze and gagging-for-it humans shed their protective layers and drunkenly cavort for each other. I’m finding all a bit exhausting, to be honest.

This week I’ve stepped out of the crazy thrum and quietly turned my attention inwards. I’ve always found Solstice to be a powerful time for laying old bones to rest and bringing new things into the world, so I’ve taken this time to pause and refocus. It felt like it would be easy to surrender to the hedonistic summer whirlwind and see where it takes me, but I had a sense that there’s something quieter and softer that needs my attention. So I sat on the carpet with lots of paper and felt tip pens and coaxed it out with writing.

I’m now feeling grounded and clear about what I want in my life (and what I don't!) and ready to rejoin the human race. I want to share the process with anyone who’s feeling the urge to slow down and take stock. Let’s harness the potent mid-summer energy and let it catapult us into our newly designed, wisely chosen, soul nurturing, creatively fulfilling next eras of our lives! Ready? Let’s go!

You will need:

  • some big pieces of paper, or several little pieces of paper stuck together with sellotape
  • some little pieces of paper
  • many felt tip pens
  • a carpet to sit on
  • lovely music
  • delicious tea
  • a little bit of uninterrupted time

1.) Set up your space, clear the floor so that you can cover the whole carpet with pieces of paper. Put on your favourite music, make lovely tea, tell your loved ones that you’ll see them later. Close the door.

2.) In the centre of a huge piece of paper, write; “What have I been up to this year?” in a circle. Surround the circle with smaller circles containing the following categories: work, home, adventure, romance and community (plus any others that come to you as you’re writing).

3.) Surround each life-category with things you’ve done and what you learned in each area this year. i.e. What did you enjoy? What did you find challenging? What supported your artistic, spiritual, emotional growth and how? What new skills did you learn? Which established skills did you get to flex? What new insights did you have about yourself in this area? What new doors opened for you to have a peek through? What did you discover you never need to do again? What needs were getting met? What needs were not getting met? Be detailed, be specific, be honest and be gentle with yourself- this is not an exercise in beating yourself up, it’s about charting your learning and growth.

4.) On a new piece of paper, write the heading; “To live a happy life and to be of maximum benefit to the world, I need…” Look back at your brainstorm and make a list of the things that complete that sentence. Write in the present tense and if possible find a positive phrasing for each statement (you’re more likely to follow your own advice if it’s written in the positive i.e something like “…to work with people who share my values” as opposed to “…to never work with arseholes again” ).

5.) Next, using that list as inspiration, start a new big piece of paper brainstorm called “My Big Dreams.” You’ll need 3 different coloured pens for this one (I know, right?). This is the Hollywood, no-limits version of your future life. Take your first colour pen, lets call it RED and start by writing the categories; work, home, adventure, romance and community (plus any others that come to you). Now go wild, think big! Bigger! Take away any kind of limitation you have (i.e money, time, whether you're allowed etc) and brainstorm in as much detail as you can for each part. It doesn’t matter if you don’t believe it will ever happen right now, it doesn’t matter if parts of the dream clash with other parts and it doesn’t need to be perfect, think of it as an opportunity to breathe space into your dreams.

6.) On the same brainstorm, choose another colour pen, lets call it BLUE and circle the parts of the previous brainstorm that you’re particularly drawn to. Brainstorm around these circles, in answer to the question; “What’s stopping me from living this right now?” Be honest, dig deep, be specific.

7.) On the same brainstorm, choose another colour pen, lets call it GREEN and in response to your BLUE writing (“What’s stopping me…?”), brainstorm “What small actions can I take to move me closer to my dreams?” Make sure these actions are small, simple, achievable and specific. i.e If the dream is to ‘be an opera singer and tour the world’, and one thing that’s stopping you is ‘I’m frightened,’ then achievable actions might look like; find a singing class where you get to perform for each other, go to some confidence building classes, get some councelling, or hold a private opera gig for your best friend in your living room, anything that gives you a flavour of the life you’re wishing for and directly addresses the block in a small way, will help your brain and the universe begin to find ways to move through the blocks.

8.) Take a new piece of paper and write out a clear list of actions, taken from the last brainstorm. Write this list in beautiful writing and in beautiful colours. Make it pretty so you'll want to look at it. Stick it up on the wall somewhere where you’ll see it often. 

In my experience, as someone who’s successfully changed life-course many times, manifesting change takes action, it doesn’t just magically happen. Well, it does, but you need to meet it half way. Now you’re clear about what you want. Your list of actions will help you move towards the life you long for, but you’ll need to actually do some of the things on your list! This way the universe can get an idea of what you’re after and it’ll give you a hand to get there. Keep your eyes peeled and your heart open and you’ll find what you’re looking for (maybe not in the places you expected). Good luck!

Holly Stoppit is a process facilitator, devising director, dramatherapist and performance skills teacher. Find out more about her here.

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