When I notice themes and synchronicities in my world, I sit up a little straighter and pay a little more attention. Like when you have some random, obscure thing like chicken meatballs with sundried tomatoes for lunch, and then you see a recipe for that very thing in the magazine you’re flipping through at the doctor’s office that afternoon. What are the chances?
When this happens, I know I am in alignment. I’ve managed to get out of my own way, which means that things I have been asking for are lining up for me, and not just meatballs. That is just to get my attention so I don’t miss the awesome thing that is on my doorstep. This is one way I receive divine guidance. I like to think of it as little love notes from the Universe.
Lately, I’ve been noticing that a current theme for me is all about getting unstuck and into forward motion. For a very long time, I have been feeling quite rudderless about figuring out what I want to do when I grow up (I’m in my fifties!), but I knew I wanted it to involve writing.
Recently, I heard about an upcoming week-long writing retreat with a well-known author in Taos, New Mexico. Taos? I love Taos! I wanted to go, thinking that could be a catalyst to jumpstart a writing practice for me. However, I was hesitant because it would require travel and substantial expense, and the experience sounded scarily touchy-feely for my tastes. Mostly, though, I really didn’t totally resonate with this particular writer.
But I really wanted to somehow get my writing flowing. I ping-ponged between going and not going for two or three days, then finally landed on a definite no. Going just didn’t feel quite right. So, since I still was kinda worried that I might be missing out on something important, I assured myself, “Not this workshop, but if I get the opportunity to work with an author whose writing I LOVE, then I’ll jump all over that!”
That very afternoon I received an email from an author whose work I adore announcing just such an opportunity. Synchronicity! She was offering a virtual workshop designed to help the participants reach the “one big goal” they are hell-bent on achieving within the next eight weeks (mine being to actually write something!). The program is a combination of private coaching and group mentoring with loads of teaching, inspiration, butt-kicking, a little profanity and lots of accountability.
It did not sound touchy-feely in the least, and would cost much less, too.
The divine guidance was spot on. I am already making incredible progress, and the significance of this fact cannot be overstated. Seriously, up until this recent overpowering of inertia, I had been stuck and stagnant for years with regard to my writing life. I was making myself crazy because I felt I had not found my “right work” — you know, the opposite of soul-sucking work – and I just couldn’t get warm and fuzzy with that void in my life. Between refusing to give up and exploring new ways of approaching the dilemma, I am finally getting some real traction.
A very key element in my victorious emergence from the quagmire is the assistance I got from the Universe as I followed those success clues. They were easily identifiable because they fit the theme.
Awareness of themes makes it is easy to spot the abundant resources swirling all around that support me in keeping the momentum going. Right now the specific repetitive topic that most has my attention is a handy little concept called “strategies for GETTING THINGS DONE”, and tons of resources and ideas that address that issue are showing up synchronistically for me.
Here are some brilliant productivity books I have found to be ridiculously useful:
“Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity” by David Allen:
David Allen presents methods based on two key objectives: (1) capturing all the things that need to get done, or might need to get done, now or in the future, into a logical and trusted system outside of your head and off your mind; and (2) disciplining yourself to make front-end decisions about all of the “inputs” to your life so you will always have a plan for the very next actionable step. Without this, there will be “incompletes” or “open loops” and that is what creates the stress.
Once the “open loops” are more effectively controlled, there will be greater relaxation, better focus, and increased productive energy. You will know exactly what needs to be done, when, and you will have the focus and energy to move forward with it.
“Get it Done: From Procrastination to Creative Genius in 15 Minutes a Day” by Samantha Bennett:
An interesting idea in this book is that procrastination is genius in disguise and is reminding you that the project is important to you or you wouldn’t be feeling pain about not getting it done. There is also advice about how to choose which of your 37 projects to tackle first, but the meat of the book is about how to keep making progress in spite of all of the obstacles that will invariably show up. Here are her top three “Nearly Miraculous Daily Habits”: 1) Allot 15 minutes a day to your project, NO MATTER WHAT, preferably the very first thing you do; 2) find an idea catcher, a system for making sure all those great ideas you are having all day long are not lost; and 3) allot 15 minutes a day for deliberate daydreaming.
If all you do is faithfully implement the first “Nearly Miraculous Daily Habit”, you will be pleasantly shocked at how powerful that is.
“Juicy Pens Thirsty Paper” by SARK:
This book is written to encourage writers to gift the world with their words and stories, and about creating the time and energy to actually do it. There are just so many wise and encouraging concepts in this book, but the one that stands out to me with reference to getting things done is her recommended practice of micromovements. This is a method she has used to write numerous books, as well as being more productive in all areas of her life. Micromovements are tiny movements that lead to huge results, five minutes in length or less. It is a way to develop of habit of completion rather than the more common habit of procrastination. She says that most people commonly think of their projects as HUGE and this just will not fit in most people’s lives. However, if you think of it in terms of a string of tiny steps that take only seconds to just a few minutes to accomplish, that fits in in all kinds of places and spaces around and between all kinds of other things. Of course, many, many times, once you just get started, you end up working much longer and get much more done.
When I do this, I stay productive. When I do not, well, my level of accomplishment tanks.
Of course, these are just examples that work for me. The resources are endless. Once you latch onto a system of productivity or make up your own, just do it. Looking for the perfect scenario and then analyzing the thing to a slow and gruesome death is just counterproductive and is probably really just un-examined fear. Just ask me how I know. So pay attention, follow your divinely highlighted path, and GET THINGS DONE!