Monday, August 9, 2010


Recently, I talked to a friend who was in a panic after someone suggested to him that it would be good if he set some goals for himself.  He is a "go-with-the-flow" type of guy, and I think the idea of setting goals feels quite unnatural for him.

I can relate!

I have become quite a "go-with-the-flow" type of guy myself.  I used to set all kinds of goals and accomplish quite a few of them, but over time, I have noticed that I set fewer goals for myself.  I tend to set more immediate goals depending on what I identify as a want or need in the moment.  I have found that what I want and need changes quite often.  I may set a goal today and tomorrow realize a more important desire.

Still, I can see the benefit in taking the time to identify and focus on goals.  Having them and working towards them can certainly give one's life a sense of meaning, direction, and forward momentum.

To take some of the pressure off, I told my friend that if the word "goal" brings up negative associations for him, then he could change the word to one that has less of a charge for him, like "wish" or "intention"-whatever works for him.

Also, I told him to remember that goals can change.  Nothing has to be set in stone.  Our goals can be refined, shifted, and changed as we continue to grow and gather new information about ourselves and the world around us.

The deeper issue for my friend and myself (and perhaps you?) is that we like to be fluid, adaptable, and navigate more in the moment based on self-discovery and self-exploration.  We like to let life unfold and focus quite a bit of our attention on BEING and less on HAVING and DOING.  I think there is a middle ground.  I think we can be fluid and spontaneous while still having goals that we are working towards.  Being fluid/spontaneous and setting goals does not have to be mutually exclusive.

But what if we are unsure of what we want?  The dominant belief system in this culture manipulates us into thinking that we should know who we are, what we want, and what goals to be working toward from a very young age-too young for most of us to have really discovered who we are and what is deeply important to us in life.  I think we are pressured to set goals and accomplish things before we know what we really want out of life.

How do we direct our energy if we don't know what we want?

Joseph Campbell said it best:



The Fifth Tarot

We may not know what we want over the long-term or what we want to honestly work toward for the long-term, but we can always fulfill our need for JOY and BLISS today.

Everyday is a new opportunity to experience this fulfillment.  Every moment...

As we seek to create and experience joy in the smaller context of each day, the joy and clarity in our lives expands, and we become aware of goals that we would like to set for ourselves that may take more planning and time to manifest.  It is a natural progression through ever widening circles of expansion and fulfillment.

What does joy look like to you?
What does it feel like?
What does it sound like?
What does it taste like?  Smell like?

Can we let our goals arise naturally from the continued seeking and finding of what truly brings us joy?  Can we let our larger goals arise naturally from the foundation of all the joy we create from moment-to-moment, day-to-day?

I think it's much simpler than we let it be.

And it can be as easy as child's play...

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