Your 2nd FREE prompt for WRITING THE CIRCLE
“Without the motivation of desire, without hunger, you would achieve nothing since you would want for nothing.”
Laura Day’s The Circle is all about making a wish and turning it into reality. Today, I want you to home in on what that wish can POSSIBLY be.
When I work one-on-one with students on this exercise, I see two ways in which they get stuck. First, we have learned so well how to squelch our desires, to not get “too big for our britches,” to be ashamed of our desires, that it’s hard to remember or even to recognize them.
A second way we get stuck is—believe it or not—the flip side of gratitude, or of “gratitudes,” those lists of things we’re thankful for, or that we feel we should be grateful for.
In other words, we feel guilty if we aren’t grateful for what we have. But we can be grateful, and still want what we want. We can even be grateful for our desires! Sure, some of them may turn out to be false paths, but if you never allow yourself to explore them, how will you know?
“I want my novel to be a best-selling, beloved classic,” we say, and then we immediately feel guilty. Maybe it’s only, “I want to get my novel published.” But once we admit it, we then spend the next several minutes (or weeks, or months) beating ourselves up for wanting what we know eludes so many other writers.
We can talk later about actionable goals —
In this exercise, there’s only approval. The longer your list, the better!
(It’s true, that the key to choosing one wish to work with in The Circle, is to choose something you can develop action steps for, but once you admit what it is you want, you may surprise yourself by knowing what actions you can begin taking. And, often, taking a small action step will provide momentum for the next. When I wanted to travel, for instance, my first actionable step was to get a passport.)
So here’s your assignment: In your Writing the Circle journal, write a long list of everything you’d like to create for your life. As I said above, at this stage, don’t censor yourself. Write down every possible desire that comes to mind. Wild, crazy, sane, everyday, general, specific. It can be messy! You aren’t choosing, not yet; you’re simply bringing into focus what you might want.
If you had all the money and time you needed, what would you want? Set your timer for 10 minutes (if you’re comfortable with more, by all means, go for 15 or 20!). I can offer a few tips before you begin.
I find a numeric goal to be helpful (which is weird for me to say, as I’m not a numbers person). Let’s say you start with 20. Or–to borrow an exercise from How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci by Michael Gelb–go for 100. If you’re like me, you’ll find that the higher goal will tease things out that you haven’t thought of in years. The higher number will also help you get really really specific. You can also break your desires down into more manageable chunks. WLet’s say you write down, “a house with a water view.” What are five or ten things you want that house to have?
· a wide porch
· a big garden
· a kitchen with an island so people can come in and talk to me while I cook
· a whole room of bookshelves!
· a window seat where I can curl up and read in natural light!
See, now you have 6 things on your list.
So what do you dream of creating? Write ALL of it down! And remember, NO JUDGMENT. This is just an exercise.
And, here’s a step two for today’s work (you can spread this out over two days if you’d like) – go back over your long list and CIRCLE only a few items that you really, really, really, really, really want. Yes, you can do the work of developing action steps for almost anything — but what are you willing and ready to begin working toward?
Once again, I’d love to hear from you. Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org), or leave a comment at www2.bethanyareid.com!