I recently listened to a talk by Marie Forleo where she said: “clarity equals power”, if you know where you want to go, you can take action to get there. I couldn’t agree more, and at the same time I know how wanting to have clarity can also be our biggest obstacle to actually getting it. It sounds contradictory, but let me explain.
“Clarity comes from engagement not thought” ―Marie Forleo
When I went backpacking in Thailand back at the beginning of 2012, I knew I wanted to change my field of work and way of living. Having worked in the media and culture industry I knew there where certain things I didn’t want anymore, but I wasn’t clear on exactly what I wanted instead. I felt a strong sense of not wanting, but I was kind of frustrated that I didn’t know what I then did want.
A therapist, I had been going to, helped me see that there are two ways we experience guidance: either as a push away or a pull towards. When we know what we don’t want, we are driven by a push away, and when we know what we want, it’s the pull towards that drives us. From my experience it’s a combination of those two that leads us to greater clarity.
Back in Denmark I had been working in the media and culture industry and as exciting it had been, I didn’t want to live such a stressful life anymore. I didn’t want to work all day just to fall asleep and dream about my work to then wake up and continue.
When I went on a four-day silent meditation retreat in Northern Thailand it felt as if I opened to a side of me, I hadn’t been in contact with for long, and I wanted more of that. I wasn’t really sure what that entailed. I felt frustrated because I so wanted to know what I wanted, but I was in a place where the push away was clear and strong, whereas I needed to try and experience a lot more to start feeling my pull towards.
A way I identify my push away and pull toward is by asking questions and consulting my body.
Just try now to visualize an experience you’d rather not have again, notice how you body feels. Maybe it feels a bit tighter or more closed off than normally. Then visualize somewhere you dream of going and notice how your body feels. Maybe it feels more open and soft. I regularly check in with my body about decisions; does an option make me feel contracted or expanded? If possible, I try to mainly go for options that make me feel expanded.
Bodily knowledge can be very subtle, and because we live in a world that values rational well thought-out reasons over felt knowledge (at in least in the West where I grew up), many of us are not used to listen to this form of wisdom. Everyone is different, so the exact way your body signals to you, is something to explore and get to know. The more you start listening, the easier it will become to access this way of knowing.
One thing I’ve learnt is that sometimes the fear of stepping out of my comfort zone can bring feelings of contraction as well, so it’s been very useful to get in touch with my sensations of fear as well, so they don’t steer my decisions.
We see in order to move; we move in order to see. ―William Gibson
When we want to know, from the mind, exactly where we are going and the exact steps to get there; all the way, I believe we make it almost impossible for ourselves. Maybe we even stop ourselves from taking action because we want to know that this is the one correct step to take. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t set goals and map out action steps to get there, but sometimes it’s not that simple.
If we’re in a place where we feel a bit stuck or lacking overview of the full picture we can ask ourselves “what is the best action I can take today”? Take that action and see what new information we gain. Slowly we’ll get more and more clarity about where we want to go and how to navigate from our own compass - and that’s how we gain clarity and our personal power.
I'd love to know where you feel you lack clarity, tell me in the comments below.
>>>Only in August<<< I'm offering 10x1 Complimentary Clarity Coaching Sessions - read more here - and if you feel called, I'd love to hear from you.