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When life doesn’t go the way you think, then what?

When life throws you a curveball (say, a global crisis), this is how you can start to look at forming your vision again

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Sometimes we can have such a clear vision of what we’re working towards, where everything feels so right, we know what we can do to get there, and even though we know life will take us on the journey there the way it will, the goal is crystal clear. There’s a level of faith – in the feeling, in ourselves, in the vision. We are able to ride the waves, the windy road that never matches our ideal straight line, even though we knew it wouldn’t. We show up, fully, wholeheartedly, and determined. We’ve stepped – no, leaped – two feet in.

Then something happens that redirects you not just around another blind corner but completely off that path and onto another. Except this new path wasn’t on any map you knew of, and the destination is completely… not what you were shooting your arrow towards. It might be something like a global pandemic (hi, COVID-19, many of us are looking at you!), or if it involved someone else, a lack of reciprocation of your vision, or any others of the multitude of things that can cause this (a surprise pregnancy, losing your job, a death of someone close to you). Setting aside the notion that your path is still yours because, you’re on it, so it simply has to be, there’s still the very human element of dealing with that change in vision. Yes, maybe this redirection is simply helping you to get to that ‘feeling’ of your dreams sooner. But when it’s the vision of how that looked changes – that new place you were set on living in that you now have no reason to arrive into, the people it might have included, exactly what you’d be doing in it – there is a processing involved.

If it’s “not this”, then what now?

What’s the dream now? The goal? The vision? Who does it even involve?

It can feel confusing. You might even feel a bit lost. Sometimes you can feel calm and a sense of trust, but also aware that a new vision is needed. It takes time and the energy to be still, sit with it, to explore what that is.

Remember it’s the feeling that matters when we’re creating our lives, not necessarily the ‘thing’

If you want a Rolex watch because it’ll make you feel powerful and successful, life may bring that in for you. But more likely it’ll simply bring in a situation that makes you feel powerful and successful, and it might not involve the watch at all. I believe we’re active creators in our lives. We get what we intend to get (thanks, T. Harv Eker), and that relates to the material things just as much as the experiences. You might go out and buy the Rolex, only to realise you actually don’t feel powerful or successful by owning it. It’s important to sit and ask ourselves, often, “what’s my why around this?” Discerning what’s actually important to you in what you want and your vision will help to give you clarity. When life doesn’t go the way you think, your ‘why’ is still on it’s way. It’s just… Different.

Allow yourself to grieve

Even if there hasn’t been any actual deaths involved, it’s still important to allow ourselves to grieve the loss of a vision. The time and space to grieve the loss of possibilities, of what we felt could have been, of the energy directed to something that is no longer, is going to be really paramount to how you are then able to refuel yourself, clear the fog and move forward again – with energy and maybe a renewed sense of clarity.

Allow yourself to acknowledge what a beautiful vision it was that you did have, because any vision directly from the heart is exactly that. Hearing yourself say those words, or seeing them written in your own hand, can be monumentally healing to the part of you feeling that acute level of disappointment. You’re tending to your inner child, who so badly wanted something, and was effectively told that they couldn’t have it. You’re allowed to hold yourself a little gently in this space.

Don’t put pressure on yourself to create a brand new vision

Some of us might be inclined to create a brand-spanking new vision to move forward. It’s the equivalent of the relationship ‘advice’ of “to get over someone, you’ve got to get under someone else” (hey, it’s not my advice). If there is an inkling of a new vision there, by all means, give yourself space to explore that. But remove any expectation on yourself to have it fully formed straight away – or even at all. Remember, as we’ve just learned, life will take us the way that it will, and it may or may not actually *look* like the end goal in that vision. But it sure as hell will feel like what we’re focusing on.

Again, come back to your ‘why’ and give yourself moments of space for that seed to sprout and grow into.

Let your heart lead

Always. The things I’ve worked towards because I could ‘logically’ make sense of it, or see a potential pathway, have felt good in some way but I’ve also been given reasons why to be grateful they didn’t actually work out. When I’ve worked towards and wanted something from the heart, simply because I wanted it as it was without the pressure of ‘potential’ on it, it’s felt more expansive than any other. Whether or not it didn’t work out isn’t the point. Feeling that connected to my heart and how I showed up in the direction of that has made all the difference to how I choose to step forward, make decisions, and rely on my resolve from here on out.

Our hearts hold ancient wisdom. Keep going.

Photo by Caleb Jones on Unsplash

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