Signs of a Life's Work
How do you know that you are actually on the right path to cultivating a Life's Work?
Here are certain things that I've done which have helped me discover my Life's Work and also have been useful as "check-ins" or "guide posts" to make sure that I'm still on the right path.
Journaling has always been an important part of a process of discovering and cultivating a Life's Work. I keep several journals, and when I'm not sure of what's next, I'll usually take one out and start to remind myself of where I want to be tomorrow, in a month, in a year, in 5 years, in 15 years, and on my death bed (which is hopefully farther out than 15 years!).
Journaling is really important. When you put things to paper, and actually look to see what you've written, you can remind yourself of what feels true to you. It also acts as an important record that you could go back and review, to see if it still rings true for you. Absolutely journal.
Meditating is a crucial way of slowing down the mind, disconnecting from our bizarre, modern habits, and uncovering our true selves. There are several meditations that I do which have helped tremendously:
- Insight meditation -- this is a classic Buddhist meditation where you just do deep breathing, and every time you take a deep breath, you count down from 5. When you hit 1, on the next breath you start at 5 again. This sounds simple, but as you commence this process you will notice how much noise there is in your head, and how your thoughts leap out from strange places. When you notice thoughts or get strayed, it's totally fine: just acknowledge the thought, observe it momentarily, and then go back to focusing on the 5-to-1 count down.
This is an important meditation, great for beginners and experts alike, and it really teaches and shows you how much traffic there is in our heads all the time, most of which we never really acknowledge.
- Universal flow meditation -- This is a meditation I like to do in shivasana, after doing yoga. In this meditation, I take several deep breaths to enjoy the shivasana. Then I picture my consciousness leaping out of my body and staring at me. I take my consciousness up to a city view, and I look at the city below. If it's day time, I see things under the sun light. If it's night, I picture the city in lights. Then I leap up again and look at the "space station" perspective, how the city and the surrounding region might look like from a near earth orbit. Then I'll go out and observe the earth from greater distance-- comparing it to the moon and the sun, watching its slow rotation. I'll zoom out to the solar system and observe the planets in their slow orbits, and then go even farther out to a galactic point of view, watching the sun itself spiral around the center of our galaxy.
When I get that far out, I set an intention to align to all these forces, and to act with the universal flow -- just a prayer and a thought that everything I do should be in tune with these larger, more powerful forces and energies that are literally hurtling through the universe at tremendous speeds.
Life will give you signs that you are on the right path. I know this sounds mysterious or metaphysical, but it really will give you signs. When I started pursuing my Life's Work, I started having strong intuitive feelings about was next, what I should be doing, what I should be looking out for, and what I should be waiting for. When I went out and listened to those feelings, other doors would open.
When you're doing your Life's Work, you start to meet people you never thought you would meet, and have experiences you could never imagine. You feel more "in tune" with a greater consciousness. Things happen that are almost blatant in telling you you're doing the right thing.
Sometimes, if I go for weeks or months without such a sign, I start to worry and I will slow down and really start to think about whether I'm on the right path or not. I will do more journaling to make sure that I'm still aligned. If I still feel like I'm on the right path, then I'll keep at it. But if something has changed, I will make those changes, and then stay open to signs.
There is no straight path in cultivating a Life's Work, and there are times when you may not hear signs for some time. Just trust yourself, and listen to your feelings. If you feel like you are where you need to be, that's a huge sign.