You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Wishcraft’ tag.

Marianne Williamson is one of my favorite teachers.  Being a writer is not a prerequisite for being a helpful teacher or a successful author in this field of personal and spiritual growth.  Many of the teachers are extremely bright, well read and certainly evolved.  When your mind is clear, it’s easier to put down coherent sentences. (It also helps to have a good editor.)  But Marianne goes further. She is not an evolved person who writes books.  She is a writer who has evolved.  A true writer.  With the ability to turn a phrase or create a prayer better than anyone I know. She speaks and writers in pictures that are not only easy to understand, but are memorable and colorful.

“Our concentration on the form of fear is an ego ploy to keep us stuck in the problem, like finding a thief in your house and saying, “I have to know his name before I call the police.”  Who cares what his name is?  Call for help immediately!”  From “The Gift of Change.” 

She’s also very practical.

I love her prayers which seem to come directly and spontaneously from her.  In the midst of an illuminating passage, she pauses and lifts her heart to God.

“Dear God, May my spirit be reborn, that I might be a better person. I give You my shame over whom I have sometimes been, and my hopes for whom I wish to be. Please receive them both. Amen.”  From “The Age of Miracles.”

That’s another thing about her – she unabashedly speaks of her love and faith in God.  Many people (including me) shy away from strong references to God so as not to offend anyone. Phooey!  Who cares?  If you love God, shout it from the rooftops!  It’s unlikely that most people would be anything but touched by that outpouring of love. (Especially those listening to her.)

Speaking of Love, it is her main topic and underlines everything she says and writes.  You can’t get more true, more warm or more expansive than that. One of her best books (can I really pick one) is “A Return to Love – Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles.” I quote from the Introduction, “ When we were born, we were programmed perfectly. We had a natural tendency to focus on love.”

There is something else about Marianne, which I’m having a hard time putting my finger on.  Something personable about her, some place of kin I feel with her.  I’m not sure if it’s because she’s been honest about her life (most teachers are upfront about their hurts).  Maybe it’s because it seems we’re close in age and have had similar experience.  Perhaps she speaks so succinctly about being a woman.

 “The Princess does become a queen if she stays the road.  It is as if there were a beautiful enchantress in a luminous bubble.  She stands before us and beckons for us to become her.  Faith in her invokes our best.  We change. We become unlike who we used to be.”  From “A Woman’s Worth.”

In Barbara Sher’s wonderful, life-changing book “Wishcraft,” Barbara asks us to choose our ideal family.  I have picked Marianne as my sister.  She is all I hope to “grow” up to be. There is something in the things she says, who she is, which makes me feel comfortable, as if I grew up with her.

“I hear teenagers in my backyard, delighting in the mud puddles produced by the afternoon’s storm.  I have to consciously check myself – to remind myself that the ability to have fun in the mud is what makes being young so wonderful, and not make a stink about the fact that my towels are beige and this could ruin them.” 

How can you not love that?

Another thing I love is her civic duty.  Marianne has written beautiful documents and given inspiring speeches on the state of the world. She’s never afraid to speak her mind.  She’s used her success to get involved with causes; working hard to fight hunger and poverty around the world, among others. Truly, Marianne has done her duty to mankind in many ways. And probably not going to stop anytime soon. Marianne genuinely cares about others and her work is a testament to that.

“The Obama phenomenon did not come out of nowhere. It emerged as much from our story as from his — as much from our yearning for meaning as from his ambition to be President; as much from our determination to achieve collective redemption as from his determination to achieve an individual accomplishment. And those who fail to recognize the invisible powers at work here — who see the external drama of politics yet fail to discern the profound forces that moved mountains by moving the American heart — well, they’re just like Bob Dylan’s Thin Man to whom he sang, ‘You don’t know what’s going on here, do you, Mr. Jones?’” From an essay entitled, “Yes We Did” ~ November 05, 2008.

If you like this Blog and you haven’t read any of her books, I suggest you try one.  She’s a delightful writer and an inspired thinker.  I know you won’t be disappointed.  Please check her out here.

This week’s SARK Dream Boogie class is about Building Platforms of Support.  In the booklet that we get every week, she talks a lot about the word Inspiration.  About it being about breathing air into things, like your work, your dream. M-W defines it as, “The act of drawing in, specifically:  the act of drawing of air into the lungs.” 

My favorite movie to quote these days is “Kiss Me Deadly.”  In it, Mike Hammer has gone to an apartment building, following up a lead.  He needs to find out about a tenant.  There is a man standing at the back of a truck, struggling to get a pack on his back as he moves someone in.  Mike helps him lift it.  The elderly man thanks him profusely in a strong Italian accent.  He says Mike gave him “a deep-a breath.”  And he returns the favor by telling Mike what he needs to know.  Mike gave him the breath he needed to keep going. He gave Mike the information he needed to keep going. Inspiring both. I like that image of inspiration.

SARK asked us to think about what kinds of people, things and situations inspire us, breathe air into what we’re doing. The more of those you have in your life, the more sturdy support you have.  She took it a step further into ways you inspire yourself.  I guess I knew I had to be inspiring myself.  After all, who gets me to work every day?  But I was surprised to realize there are many other ways I inspire myself. I’ve learned, over the years, what motivates me.  And I have, after all, done “The Artist’s Way.”  I know how to fill the well when it runs low.  Some days I love my writing, I’m delighted by what I’m doing and feel I have much to share.  But there are other days, other times when I find myself lazy, hackneyed and breathless.  Boring and bland. 

What a marvelous thing to have sturdy platform of support I can go to for motivation and inspiration on those off days.  I have what I feel is a strong platform of outside support.  There are ways I can improve it for sure.  But I have some wonderfully wise and helpful friends I can call on.  Such is the world, though, that they are not always available right when I need them.  That’s when it pays to have a support team . . . shall we say, from another plane?  My Ideal Family from Barbara Sher’s “Wishcraft,” are all busy, famous people.  But I can have them with me by simply asking and they are there. Better still, I can find inspiration right here, in me.  Consistent, on the spot care.  Now that’s some great support!

SARK tells us we can find inspiration in ordinary, every day things.  That way we can use what’s around us to help support us.

Sometimes we need support or help from others.  SARK is teaching us ways to receive.  I am of the mind that people love to help, want to share their stories, their resources.  For me, anyway, it makes it a whole lot easier to give if someone tells me what they need.  There is an art to asking others for support.  You need to let go of your expectations, ask without consequence, and allow the other to respond from the heart. If they chose not to participate, it’s okay with you.  If you stay open to whatever happens, you can learn much from the experience, whatever it is.

We are practicing asking, specifically, for what we want or need.  And allowing the other to give. Being on the receiving end and allowing that to inspire us to give more to others.

From the book, Wishcraft by Barbara Sher.

Wishcraft 11, Proceeding

Would Barbara Sher leave you hanging?  Absolutely not.  How do you continue once you’ve reached this stage?  It’s about the day-to-day actions that move you toward your dream.

Barbara has a very specific agenda to follow.  A Sunday Night Planning Session to get ready for the coming week. You can do this with your Buddy.  (We do ours on Saturday.)  It’s about looking back at what you did and thinking ahead to what you need to do in the coming days.  Because of the work you’ve done over the previous week, your First Steps may change.  You may have had a Brainstorming Session or a Barn Raising party and have new information, new people to contact, new activities to complete.
Fill out your weekly calendar and share with your Buddy the things you plan to accomplish in the next week.  And make sure any appointments are on your calendar.  You can talk about any problems you’re encountering (or write them down.)  Barbara suggests a little Hard Times, if necessary.  It’s always easier with a Buddy.

Every day, Barbara suggests, fill in your Action Feelings Journal.  I keep a diary of what I do each day and have added how I feel to it.  I am certainly seeing that I often get more done on the days I don’t feel good.  I’m not sure what’s up with that.  Maybe it’s about making up for it.  Or trying to get out of feeling bad: If I accomplish a few things I will feel better. And I do.  I like to think that I do better work on the days that I feel good, but I can plow through a lot of little nitty things when I’m not.

I have to admit, I don’t actually write it out, but I do think a lot more now about what I need to do tonight in order to prepare for tomorrow. 

In her inimitable fashion, Barbara asks that we reward ourselves each and every day.  I love that! “Give yourself something nice,” she says. It can be as simple as a cup of herb tea or, if you did exceptionally well this week (or this day), think of something bigger.

Finally, as you’re drifting off to sleep, think about yourself in your Ideal Environment and sleep with that.  What a beautiful way to go to dreamland!

The morning routine consists of getting up a little earlier (ugh!)  Just a little to look at your planning chart and see where today’s action fits into the whole.  That might be worth getting up earlier for.

In the Epilogue, Barbara asks us to learn to live with our successes. “Each small step you accomplish is going to feel like success.”  And remember, “Winning is a process, not a product.”  The more you can enjoy the day-to-day activities (releasing the outcome) the happier you will be!

She leaves us with three tips to keep on keeping on.

1) Hooray for Me! Give yourself praise along the way.  It is the best way to keep going.

2) Fake It.  With every step you take there will be new challenges.  Many teachers have taught us to “fake it until you make it.”  It’s a corny phrase, but it really works.  Barbara also offers us a mantra: .  “I will not, repeat, will not sabotage myself, no matter how much I may want to!” Recently, I’ve been seeing how I thwart myself by telling myself I’m too tired or I need that extra helping . . .  The truth is: I don’t.  She gives us two ways to help fake it.  Use a Hard Times before you do something that’s scary and one after.  Also, dress the part. Wear the clothes that say Success. If you don’t feel like doing something, dressing the part will often help to motivate you.

3) Until You Get Used to It – keep moving forward.  Imagine something even better to pull you ahead.  “Each destination you reach only opens out into wider horizons, new and undiscovered countries for you to explore.”  Let that energy propel you forward!

Wishcraft is a phenomenal book that just gets better with each reading.  It holds up extremely well.  If you had a new copy in your hand, it wouldn’t occur to you that it’s 30 years old!  The only thing I found that might give it away is the process of logging resources.  It’s so much easier now! If you want to get up and get going, this is the book to read. 

Barbara has several other books including “Refuse to Choose” and “Live the Life You Love.”  Check our some of her web sites through my web site,  under “Connections.” Among other things, you'[ll see how you how she’s brought logging resources into the 21st Century.

Her blogs are as follows: (This is a more personal blog.)

Barbara Sher has much to give.  Listen to her.  On these blogs you’ll find information on an amazing teaching offer.  Act now!  You only have until January 15th to respond.

From the book, Wishcraft, by Barbara Sher.

Here is that thing about Community again.  Though, technically, we are whole and complete just the way we are, we do live in this world of Other.  The more we can work in harmony with the Other, the better we all do.

This Wishcraft chapter starts out talking about the very practical concerns of dealing with the people around you who are likely to be confused, at best, by your change in behavior and attitude.  It is something that needs to be dealt with or else you’ll be making it unnecessarily harder than it has to be.

Barbara has a few tactics, of course, for dealing with these situations.  She suggests that it makes it easier on everyone if you just, “give them the right not to like it.”  That opens up pathways for better understanding. Rather than fighting it, you’re accepting it.  Much better place to make changes.  The real key is in being able to talk about it.  What are their concerns?  Where can you help them deal better with your changes and maybe help them to find their own dreams?

I love Barbara’s strategies for how not to nag about housework.  If you are the main home caretaker and all of a sudden you’re working on your dream instead of scrubbing the kitchen floor, there’s likely to be some resistance.  She has three: “Democratic Chaos” she calls it.  Learning to live with it.  I live with a collector and have had to come to terms with the fact that this is how our life is.  I like this one, “The Compassionate Autocrat.”  This means enlisting their help so they feel they’re needed.  Or “Love Your Life.”  I think this means being so happy with what you’re doing, the house doesn’t matter.

I like this notion of getting family members onboard with you.  Barbara says, “The more problems you give people to solve on their own – unsupervised – the more commitment and enthusiasm you get.”  I’ve tried this with my inner child, and it seems to work.  Everyone needs to feel empowered. 

I am a strong believer in Accountability.  Barbara calls it here, the Buddy System.  I’ve done this before, too and I like the structure she lays out for making it really work for you.  Wishcraft outlines three things you can get from this.  Expectation.  That is the knowledge that someone else is waiting to hear.  It always puts an additional level of heat around things.  A Sympathetic Audience.  This gives you an ear for “Hard Times,” to bounce ideas off, and celebrate when you reach a milestone.  Barbara goes on to tell us that we can also get Help.  Practical help in the form of resources and ideas.   That’s quite a lot from just getting together with a friend once a week or so.

Barbara suggests setting a goal date.  Whichever is later of the two dates.  That’s the date when both have to reach their goals.  You agree to meet until that date.  Her rules are simple, of course.  Be on Time and Time it.  That means creating a rigid structure so that each person gets equal time.  Her agenda is this: A half hour for each person: 5 minutes to report what you did or didn’t do.  20 minutes to explain any problems you’re having and ask for ideas to solve them.  5 minutes for talking about what you want to accomplish in the next week.  Barbara says to allow a limit of 10 minutes for “Hard Times” if you need it.  (I think that should come out of your 20 minutes of problems.) 
Seems pretty reasonable to me.  It keeps one person from hogging the whole meeting.  Barbara says you can also do 3 minute booster calls during the week. This allows you to get some help when you need it, like before a big meeting or after to unwind, without taking up too much of the other person’s time.

My friend and I are doing this and we’ve added a different twist.  We seem to be pretty good about sticking to our goals and continuing to take steps toward them.  We’ve decided, rather than say ahead of time what we’re going to do, instead, we talk about what we DID.  This week we’re trying something entirely new and our goals are as follows: 1) To collect and share some of the most Awesome Moments from the week.  I have been dividing them a bit into Awesome – that means I did something awesome or Delightful – when life offers me a delightful gift.  My buddy says it is all me, but I like the distinction.  2) Let go of the outcome.  It always seems to bog us down when we anticipate what will happen from what we do.  If we just remain in the present moment and allow our passions to flow, all will be fine.  In fact, it’s often better.  3) Wear Life Like a Loose Garment.  This is my new thing (and a soon-to-be-blog). Basically, it’s just about taking it easy.  And finally, 4) Choose to do and think about what feels joyful!  And do lots of it.  This sets us in a good frame of mind.  Then, whatever we do can be positive and fruitful.  We’ll see.

Barbara alerts us to 3 Crisis Points:  Crisis Point 1: When you’re first starting out.  It’s that huge jump from internal planning to external reality.  Often traumatic. The moment of birth. Crisis Point 2: “Whenever you have to do something you don’t want to do in order to get to something you do.”  She said that so well, I couldn’t do it better. Crisis Point 3: As you move ahead and risk more, each new turn may require some extra help.

I’ll let Barbara sum it up, “Never give up or change your goal when you’re feeling scared, discouraged or depressed. Get through it first.  Get someone to see you through the crisis. Your buddy is the apparent representative of your best self.”  Use your buddy whenever you need him or her.  Community will save and expand us all.

The actual title, from the 9th chapter of Wishcraft is “Winning Through Timidation, or First Aid for Fear. Barbara Sher labels this section “Crafting II: Moving and Shaking.”

The first enemy is fear.  In all creative endeavors, sooner or later, you’ll run into it.  Difficulty with fear is what stops most dreams in their tracks.   Barbara says, “Missing out on your dreams and never finding out what you’re capable of is a hell of a high price to pay for peace.”  I would have to agree with her.  What a sad thing to lose your dream simply because you’re scared.  Particularly since fear is inevitable. If you’re not feeling fear, you’re not moving forward. 

There are two kinds of fear, according to Barbara.  There’s stage fright, which is normal and healthy.  Perhaps a hissy fit or two and some kind words and as Jackson Browne says, “Those lights come up and we hear that sound and we remember why we came,” you rise to the occasion and do what you have to do.

It’s the other kind, the Survival fear which knocks most of us down.  It’s based on a notion that you can’t do it, you’re likely to fail and all that jazz.  Barbara captures it well, “All survival fear is exaggerated.” It comes from the child’s point of view.  Your mind may know that none of these things will happen, but your feelings don’t. Susan Jeffers, the Fear Expert would agree that “The best antidote is the adult experience of going ahead and doing the thing and finding out that nothing so terrible happens after all.”  But it is just that experience which our fear doesn’t want us to have.

Barbara goes on to say that this Survival Fear has a message for us. ”It’s trying to tell you there’s something you need and have got to get before you can afford to take risks and have adventures.”  This is the practicality of Barbara Sher that makes her process work.   The realization that you can’t know everything.  You don’t come out of the box ready to be a star.

She lists three possible Survival Messages.  The first one is about being prepared.  If there’s information you need, go get it.  If it’s practice you need, do it. If you’re afraid of messing up (and who isn’t?) Barbara’s got a few methods.  First of all, imagine the scenario where you do everything perfectly.  Then, imagine doing everything wrong.  From that you will see that neither extremes are likely.

The other remedy is to role play the other person’s part.  I recently heard a talk (through Libby Gill’s Accountability Club) where a negotiation expert told us to remember that everyone has an agenda.  Realizing that the other person has their own fears tends to lessen our own.  Put yourself in the other person’s shoes.  This will also help you see what you need to do.

In the end, real life is unpredictable.  You can’t know everything, but the more you can prepare yourself to know, the less afraid you’ll be.

The second Survival Message is: “Lower your Standards, at First.” We are hard on ourselves and often expect ourselves to be perfect the first time out. Many teachers talk of the practice of making mistakes and letting that be okay.  I like the way Barbara phrases it, “Give yourself the liberating gift of joyously expecting yourself to be bad.”  One of my heros, Anne Lamott, speaks of “shitty first drafts.”  You have to get moving and not allow the fear of making mistakes to stop you.  You’re going to make mistakes no matter what, so it can’t be an excuse.  If you wait until you won’t, you’ll never do anything.

Barbara’s statement sums it up beautifully, “There’s only one way to get really burned: stop because you’re scared.  That’s what real failure is.  Cop outs cost more than your worst mistakes.  When you fail you learn something, if you quit, you learn nothing.”

Barbara also uses what she calls,  “The Graduated Risk Principle.”  It’s based on a theory that you can move out gradually.  Test the waters in a shallow pool, first.  Do a workshop for a few friends.  Try it out with some colleagues and then, when you feel less afraid, you can include the strangers. Allow yourself to make mistakes without criticism, in front of a friendly audience.

She also suggests liberal rewards.  I love this.  There are two kinds of rewards. One is the reward you earn.  Little rewards for little achievements and big rewards for big achievements.  The second kind is Just ‘Cause.  Just because you are you.  Not for doing anything in particular.  These are the rewards that often get forgotten and passed over.

Survival Message #3 tells us that it’s lonely out there, so get all the help you can along the way.  The next chapter is “Don’t Do It Yourself.”

From the book, Wishcraft, by Barbara Sher

With all the information (or most of it) from the Barn Raising and follow ups, you can start to fill out the Flow Chart in Time.  That means selecting target dates.  Make sure your dates are not too far ahead so that you get lazy or too soon that you make it impossible and overwhelming.  It really is only a guess, but you can monitor how it makes you feel.  This process helps to ground your plans in reality. 

Barbara, of course, brings up some potential problems.  If you think you’re too busy you may have some fears around going for what you want. Now is a good time to work with that.  If you’re ready to move ahead, but still think you don’t have time, Barbara has a remedy for that.

Keep tabs on what you’re doing, like you would your spending.  She suggests a chart, divided up by Morning, Afternoon and Evening to keep it simple.  Just take a look for a few days at how you’re spending your time.  You are likely to find places where you don’t have anything scheduled or you just don’t get anything done, or decide to play instead.  Barbara’s plan is to “Schedule your avoidance patterns, so that you can look forward to them, instead of allowing yourself to fall in to them whenever the impulse strikes.”  When you get to that time, use half of it to work on your goal.  Then, use the rest for whatever you want.  Seems simple, but “Getting goal time out of wasted time, is like getting gold out of dirt.”  And it gets you in motion!

If you feel uncomfortable with taking time away from your obligation to others, think of it in another way.  So called, selfish people are usually quite generous with their time and love.  “Self sacrificers created bonds of guilt.”

With some of that stuff out of the way, we can now move to the Planning Wall. “On it,” Barbara says, “you will put a series of charts that will map out your plan of action across time.” The Flow Chart helps you to see how things will progress and a planning calendar shows you how your plans fit into real time, around things like holidays, due dates and other events in your life.

She suggests planning weekly as things can change as you move further out and discover more. This comes from what she calls “First Steps,” those things you can do tomorrow.  But the Daily Planner is the one that gets things done, sets up appointments, makes a commitment to do something tomorrow, makes things happen.

Another chart on the Wall is your Five Year Plan.  That’s where you list the Five Other Lives we figured out in a previous chapter.  This is a good tool to remind you that there are other things to do in your life, creating more heat under completing your current goal.  Once this chart is up there, it only serves as a visual reminder that you can have it all. “Your reach will grow with your grasp as you realize from experience that you really can shape your destiny with your own hands.”

I like that there’s one more piece to the puzzle: Tonight and Tomorrow.  These are really the only things you have to think about now.  Is there anything I have to do tonight to prepare for tomorrow?  It can keep you calm on the eve of a big day. You create your future through present moment actions.  Barbara agrees, “The most important action is what you’re going to do tomorrow.  Your goal is only as real as that step.  Handle it well and your goal will take care of itself.”

If you want more information on these planning tools, visit the web site and download the book.

From the book Wishcraft, by Barbara Sher

A reader of this blog added a point to my list of the Positive Points of Accountability. She suggested Community.  I think that’s a perfect positive!  Working alone most of the time, and with a marvelous support system, I forget the value of community and where I’d be without it.  That’s what Barn Raising is all about.

Much as we might like to imagine we have everything we need, we do need others.  As a species, we were not meant to do things alone.  Barbara says, “Sharing skills and resources is a deep human pleasure and need that’s wired into our survival.”  She claims there’s a network of helping hands behind every genuine success.  You just can’t do great things without a community.  No one can.

Barbara suggests 4 to 15 people (though her “Success Team” meetings can be far larger).  Everyone can gather a dozen or so people. Invite a variety of people and ask them to bring friends. There are only 3 simple rules:
 1) Be as specific as possible about what you need.  After all, that’s what this party is about!
 2) Get the most specific information you can.  If someone has an idea, get all the vital statistics you can: name, phone, e-mail, etc. and note where the idea came from.
 3) Follow up on your leads. Let the person know how their lead turned out. You might also send a thank you note. Barbara adds, “The most important resource people can offer each other is people.”  Keep the wheel turning.
To me, this follows the 6 degrees of separation theory.  Get yourself 6 people and you are likely to find whatever if is you need, meet whoever you wish to meet, get your work in anyone’s hands. It’s all about joining hands and helping each other.  We are all connected in some way. The stronger we make someone else, the stronger we make ourselves. The more powerful our community.

Community helps us by:
1.  Keeping us from feeling isolated
2.  Sharing experiences that can lead to solutions
3.  Finding someone who has or can help us find whatever we need
4.  Making us stronger than we are alone
5.  Supporting us in raising our barn. You can’t raise a barn alone!

Any other thoughts on the positives of community?

The next step in Wishcraft is to put all this collected information on a flow chart to shift the process into gear.

From Wishcraft, by Barbara Sher

So far in this book, we have come to discover what we love and what we want.  As promised, Barbara’s now telling us how we can get whatever we wish for.  “All you need is a pad of paper, a couple pencils and a problem.”  I’d add, your thinking cap (and maybe a few others) and there’s nothing you can’t figure out how to do!

Barbara says to start with 2 questions:
1) How can I get it without X?  (According to Barbara, that’s often credentials, experience or money)
2) Then, you ask how can I get X?
She believes in starting from question 1 – she wants us to begin experiencing our wish as soon as possible.  “Never take the long road if you can find a shorter one that will get you to the same place.”

In order to get around some of these standard needs is a list of  “Creative Hooky or 5 Ways to Learn and Earn by Staying Out of School.”  She suggests volunteering or being the sorcerer’s apprentice.  There are many ways to get money, too: Beg, borrow, steal, trade, win, rent, make.  Swap what you love to do, use other people’s money or find someone who can get on board with you.

The technique for Brainstorming has two stages: 1) Woolgathering and 2) Bridge Building between your dream and your reality.  Very simple instructions: Write the problem at the top of the page and then start listing everything you can think of.  The only requirement is that you do not limit your thinking or discount any idea.  I would suggest to wait a few days and see if anything else occurs, but maybe there’s something to being in the moment.

Another good method for gathering ideas is role-playing.  We can use the family we created earlier or pick 10 random, varied people.  Barbara says that inexperienced people are good to have.  Experienced people are too well aware of what can’t be done.

To make this even more fun, try it on the physical plane.  Have a party and invite 5 or 6 people and let everyone go around the room with their problems.  You better be ready to write fast, she warns, as the ideas are likely to come fast and furious!  Be sure to capture everything.

Brainstorming allows you to see that it can be done by “breaking big achievements down to human-sized tasks.”  I did this earlier in the year, when I was trying to decide which direction to go in.  I had lots of ideas and allowed them to fall out as they pleased.  It helped me to be able to see what the options were.

Sooner or later, you’re going to have to weed through your list.  Barbara tells us there will be the “Staid, sensible, obvious ideas.”  You’ll likely find some that count on someone to rescue you.  On the other side of that, you’ll find the “big, audacious, original ideas.”  But, she cautions, don’t throw anything out!  Everything has something to offer.  “Until you’ve looked at how, you can’t really know what possible means.”

She gives us three questions to ask of the ideas:
1) What is the useful element?  You must find one useful piece in each one.
2) What are the mini problems in it?  Things you could brainstorm on.
3) In pondering this, what ideas came up about other ways to wrap it?

Wow!  That is working it, baby!

In the Woolgathering phase, we learned how to solve only one small piece of the goal.  But that’s the “break in the wall” of the problems and “the first link in the plan” to get us where we’re going.

In order to do this we have to plan backwards.  Otherwise you stand there, knowing where you want to go, but having no idea the route to get there.

What are the big things that have to be solved, collected, worked through and then what are the small steps you can take?  “From the intimidatingly huge to the reassuringly small.”  We need to figure out the “small, steady actions,” that will move us forward.

To find the steady small actions, ask, Can I do it tomorrow?  If not, what has to get done first? These questions lead us into creating a flow chart.  She defines it as “ a detailed map of the path to your goal.  And how the branches of action have to come together.”  Getting it down to these steps you can do tomorrow, you string together a flow of action.

The thing that can’t be done tomorrow becomes the goal you need to breakdown into smaller steps. I like that.  I always seem to struggle with being able to see the big picture.  How’s it all going to work?  There’s something concrete about that.  Putting it out there in black and white, being able to see the whole route.  I would like to see this on a computer. Barbara says this is an organic document that will change, sometimes, day by day.

The first steps usually are for gathering information.  It’s easy to do, doesn’t need much and will get you involved right away!  It’s an exciting stage where all possibilities are open.  Eventually, though, you’re going to see there are many things on this list that you cannot do alone.  You will need “a drawing together of diverse resources and energies to achieve a single end.”  That’s where Barn-Raising comes in!  The next chapter.

Next week I’ll be taking a break from Wishcraft to write a little bit about Gratitude for the Holiday.

Adventures from the book “Wishcraft,” by Barbara Sher

A Goal, Barbara says is the “basic unit of life design.”  I like that.  I like the way she talks, too, about shaping your life.  When she speaks of daydreaming, she calls it, “your genius itching to get its hands on some of that big-time space-time clay and start making worlds.”  Wow!

Dreaming is easy, she notes, “making it come true means choosing a piece to do first.”  Well, that’s a practical bit of information.  You have to get started somewhere.

She calls a goal, “a concrete action or event.”  It’s essential to name your goal.  How else are you going to know you’ve reached it?  It also makes it a whole lot easier to find.  I want to go to Cincinnati will give you a much better set of directions than I want to go somewhere West of here.  We are not, as Barbara says, “Building a bridge to a cloud.” We want to get somewhere.

The way to get through procrastination and frustration is to set a target date.  This anchors your goal in reality and makes Time something to be worked with. 

Barbara explains what she calls, “Touchstones.”  That’s the emotional, juicy center of what you want.  What you really want from it.  The essence.  I’ve found that when you can name the essence of what you want, you open up a huge realm of possibilities.  If I want a shiny new Aston Martin, is it because I want dependable transportation or because I want to feel like a million bucks driving it?  Knowing which one can help me find lots of other ways to have what I want.

Barbara makes a good suggestion. She says you should put your goal to a test: imagine living your goal.  You may say you want to be President of the United States, but when you actually think about doing it . . . well, you might have a different take on it.  You need to be certain this is something you really want, in reality.  Not something someone else thinks you should. 

There aren’t many exercises in this chapter.  But she does tell us how to use all the information we collected in the last chapter to choose our goal.  How to turn your touchstone into a goal.  What to do when your goal feels millions of miles away.    I liked the one about looking at your Ideal Day to see what’s missing.  Using that as your goal.  I’m so close to my Ideal Day, it isn’t hard to see what’s missing.  Barbara also talks about what to do with the “Impossible Dream.”  I love the way she thinks!  Reminding us that there are some physical limitations to having all of what we dream, but most of the limitations are in our minds.  Barbara shows us how to break down those big dreams into smaller targets along the way.  She keeps saying that the more you can experience aspects of your dream, the more energy you will have to keep going.

There are instructions for using the “Private Eye Game” and the “20 Things you Like to Do” to find your target.  She gives lots of real-life examples of how people have carved their dreams one piece at a time.  “Reminding yourself that the time ahead of you is yours to create in your own image, however that image may change.”

She even talks about having too many goals.  The exercise here asks what if you had 5 lives?  “What if you could have five chances to explore a different talent, interest or lifestyle to its fullest?”  Wow!  That was fun. I chose: architect, musician, novelist, writer in Italy, activist. 

Barbara doesn’t just leave you hanging with five major life goals either.  She offers ways they can be realized in one lifetime.  Sequential Goals – changing your life mid-stream.  Simultaneous Goals like moonlighting.   Alternating Goals which means scheduling on again and off again goals, like teachers doing something different over the summer months.  And, Multimedia goals, which is doing similar things in different arenas.  Like writing a book about something you love.

Using her ideas, there are a lot of ways I can get my five lives into this lifetime.  I can design and build my own home, I can learn to play an instrument and maybe play with a community band, or open my home to musicians.  I certainly plan on publishing a book someday, and maybe get back to my fiction.  If I can’t be a writer living in Italy, maybe I can create my own “retreat” at my custom-built home, or take other writer’s retreats.  Being an activist is most definitely something I can work into my life. “Nothing you love,” she says, “should ever be left sitting on the shelf.”

Next week we get a lesson in “Hard Times, or the Power of Negative Thinking.”  Intriguing!

From the book Wishcraft, by Barbara Sher.

The next exercise in this chapter is to list “20 Things You Like To Do.” It came pretty easily for me, but took a little thinking to get the last few things on the list. Then, you are to put them on a chart to note how long since you last did it, does it cost or is it free, do you do it alone or with others, is it planned or spontaneous, fast or slow, etc. You can add your own, too. I wanted to see what was done at home and what away. I also wanted to see which were active and which were passive. It was an interesting exercise. Once you get the 20 things down, and the chart crafted (I did it on the computer) it was easy to check off the boxes. I went back and bolded some of the more interesting revelations.

For instance, I was delighted to find that I do most of these things regularly. There were more things than I thought which included others, were spontaneous, physical and not done at home. Most of them were free or cheap. More than half of them touched me Mind, Body and Soul. I liked that! I definitely learned a few things about myself.

Next, we are to describe our Ideal Environment. She asks us not to adjust ourselves to fit it, but to adjust it to fit us. Just exactly where you would like to be, in what situations would give you the best possible life. My ideal environment is very close to what I have now. Aren’t I blessed! I would change a few things, like the climate and the space.

My Ideal Day, too, has many elements of my current day: doing things I love to do, having time for things that are important to me. I have a good structure around my day that includes work, movement, tending to my home and spending time with my husband. It might be missing a little play, but I get some once in a while.

Then, she does an interesting thing: she asks you to analyze your fantasy. That’s bringing it down to earth! You create a chart which includes what’s Indispensable under What, Where and Who. Then, you list the things that are Optional, but Desirable and finally the Frills. I didn’t have any frills. I like to think that I’ve worked on this so carefully, and my life is so well designed, that I don’t need frills. They would have to be things I haven’t even thought of yet.

I think most people don’t bother to think about these things, because they’re too far away or impossible. Let me tell you, I haven’t had a whole lot going for me. The most important thing I have is an ability to allow myself to dream. That’s why I find myself very close to my Ideal Environment living my Ideal Day. I took the leap of faith, years ago, to define what would be the best situation for me.

What is Indispensable in my dream? What are the pieces that I need in my Ideal Life? Writing my words, on my schedule, mostly from home. Music to listen to. Good money and radiant health. Time to tend to the things that are important to me. I have most of that. The optional, but desirable piece is the custom designed house in my perfect climate. No frills!

Next week, in Chapter 4, we take all the wonderful fantasy mining we’ve done and make it into something in Goalsearch.


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 145 other subscribers

Positive Slant Categories