A wonderful comment from Shulamit on yesterday’s post, Vision Quest: Vision Story, took me on a little brainstorming venture. The conundrum she presented is what to do when you are talking with clients or students about their visions, asking them what they want and getting the response, “I don’t know.”
There are a number of ways (and please feel free to post your own in comments) to respond to “I don’t know” such as:
- If you did know, what would you know?
- What don’t you know?
- What do you know?
- Is it that you don’t know or something more like you are afraid to know, what’s the point because you believe you can’t have it anyway, etc.
- What is it to know?
- How would you know that you know (or what has you sure you don’t know?)
That would be a conversation around knowing and not-knowing that might be fruitful if this person consistently responds with “I don’t know” regardless of the question and you know it’s not about stalemating you.
What draws my creative attention is the ways we might assist those who really want to know what they want and are just beginning to allow themselves to explore it.
Here are some ideas (again, please feel free to add yours to comments):
- Make a list of all the things you know you don’t want and then restate them as what you do want.
- Gather images from magazines, papers, websites that evoke a feeling of “I’d like to have that” or “I’d like to be that” in you.
- Gather quotes and lines from poems and songs that make you feel wonderful.
- Remember one or more peak experiences vividly and savor it/them. What was it about that time?
- Set the stage for full possibility by creating a scenario in which all material needs are met and then ask what you want.
- Clear out what you think you should want: what is it politically, spiritually, socially correct for you to want? And now, what do you want?
- Clear out what you think you have to do to make others happy: What do your parents, spouse, teachers, children want you to want? And now, what do you want?
- Create a scenario of your perfect day and if it seems too limited, then create the perfect week. These will show you a lot about what you want.
- Have an internal tea party with your inner cast of thousands. There are two gatherings I enjoy having: (1)child, adolescent, young adult, adult, higher self and gremlin (2) body, mind, spirit, heart. It’s fascinating to see what each has to say and to find the alchemy of their alignment.
- Take time in nature to just be and to hear your own voice rather than the buzz of the world.
- Create and do visualizations that help you step into what you want and unfold your vision.
- Get out post-it notes, post-it flip charts and lots of colored pens. Write down, draw, make mind-maps and clouds of all that you love and put them on the wall. Let yourself steep in them for awhile and see what comes up as a picture for how they all come together. (see my earlier post: Dawdling un-rule #4 from June 29, 2009)
- Imagine you are lying on your death-bed and you are looking back over your life. What do you want to see as the life you lived and the person you were while living it?
- What is the legacy you want to leave, whether as an individual or as a business – how will the world or a demographic be better because you followed your bliss?
- Step outside yourself by asking a tree, God/Goddess/Angels, your pet, a flower, etc. to speak for you and see what it/they say.
- Play with perspectives: choose 6 to 8 different objects in your space, randomly, and let each one somehow be a symbol of what you want. Play with the metaphors that come to mind.
- Do some deep breathing and drop into your heart. What does your heart know that you want?
- Ask some body part – I’ve often gotten great results asking, “What does your left big toe know about that?”
- Get into the body, become a firmly rooted tree…feel the roots going into the ground and the branches stretching and reaching for the sky. What do you know now?
- Play with the elements: If you were the wind (water, earth, fire) what would you want?
- If all you get is images that don’t seem to make sense (elephant, sunflower, raft on the ocean) play with it as a message from your intuition. Be patient. It may take time to unfold the message.
This is just the beginning. From here, I would coach a client around why they want it and why they don’t want it. I’d also work with them regarding values and passions to see where they are honored and not. When we work with visions and the question “What do you want?”, we inevitably bump up against a big tangled mass of limiting beliefs, fundamental choices and unmet needs that begs for unraveling.
Visioning is an iterative process. Our visions are meant to evolve with us. So whether you write a vision story, vision statement or create a vision board, you will likely want to revisit it on a regular basis (suggesting here an annual vision retreat) so that it keeps pace with who you are becoming.
More on visioning is coming in future posts, including creating a vision story, group visioning and a bit on the ever-popular vision board.
For today, I leave you with this inquiry:
Imagine you are taking your final breath and you are conscious enough to be able to see your entire life behind you.
What do you want to see (and know) you did; who do you want to see (and know) you were as a person?
What will have you say “I’ve lived a good life and I’m complete?”
Then look at your life today as feedback (without judgment, simply with curiosity) and ask:
How is my life in alignment with my answer to those questions above (and how not?)
Congratulate yourself for your success, for certainly you will find you are in some ways, or many, in alignment.
Then give yourself the gift of taking one small step toward creating, enhancing or rewriting that vision and one small step toward making it happen.
PS If you want help creating, re-tooling or coaxing your vision, hop on over to my website (see sidebar) for contact info. I’d be happy to talk with you about a short-term vision coaching arrangement.
Copyright(c) October 2009, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved