You know when you are on one of those long and winding trails through the wildnerness, and then the trail disappears entirely? Suddenly the journey that was so joyful and full of clarity ends up leaving you stranded in the middle of nowhere, without a clue.
I hate it when that happens.
Or, I used to hate it when that happened. Recently (maybe because I’ve been here so many times) I’ve started to take the opportunity to relax and enjoy the surroundings. When I’m able to do that, something new and different always arises.
Magical Formula For When You Need Clarity
I came across this exercise at a recent event with Martha Beck I attended. Let me just pause here and say that if you don’t know about Martha Beck and her work, please go have a look at the “mindful” safari tracking tours she leads in South Africa. I’ll wait.
Essentially, it is our conceptual mind that gets in the way of us seeing how to proceed and deal with issues. Relying on intuition can sometimes help us get out of our own way and then solutions seem to magically appear.
Here is the Magical Formula for when you need clarity:
1. Write down your issue. It can be big or small. Where do you feel lost?
- How do I shift my focus from being a full time mommy to being a professional pole dancer? *
- Why do I keep having conflicting feelings when my new partner sits up all night by the window wearing pantyhose on his head? *
- How do I deal with these %$*&X@*&^ squirrels who live in my attic? **
You might not have these kinds of issues. Formulate your own life’s dilemma.
2. Get your camera and take 20-30 minutes and go Aimless Wandering.
This is a highly advanced form of practice that involves walking around with no idea where you are going. Don’t plan, don’t limit. Just go. You can do it in the park, in a shopping mall, the woods, your garden, you neighbors garden, or your house. (I don’t recommend doing it in your neighbor’s house, unless you have permission.) Just start wandering and stay present to your surroundings. When you come across images that spark your interest, take a photo.
3. Choose One Photo.
4. Describe the photo in three adjectives.
Don’t think too much.
5. If you could change one thing in the photo, what would you change?
Make something up.
6. How is your predicament like your photo?
Again, make something up. Free write for 5 minutes or tell a friend.
7. How could you change your predicament in a similar way to the way you imagined changing the photo?
In the image on this blog post, I would have chosen to get rid of the buildings and replace them with trees. That might translate as looking to nature for ways to resolve your predicament: spending more time in nature, or looking for a “natural” solution. We’re looking for metaphor here. If I had wanted to turn the lamp on, then the question might be: how can you add more lightness to your predicament. Once you make the metaphor, expand it and get detailed. How could you add more lightness to the situation, or how could you fit in more time in nature?
8. Who would you be and how would you act if you were embodying the 3 adjectives you listed to describe the photo?
Do another free write for this. We’re not looking for logical conclusions. Sometimes the things you come up with might seem silly at first, but sit with them and see what evolves. When you allow your imagination free reign, sometimes new neural connections happen that might not have occurred to you otherwise.
I found this excercise highly informative…I hope you will too!
Did you discover something new or have any insights? Share your discoveries in the comment section below!