We all have dreams. We also have a lot of fear about whether or not those dreams will ever come true.
A few years ago, Joshua Rosenthal, the director and founder of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, shared this wisdom in something close to these words:
"you have the same ability to see into the future as you do into the past. That clarity you have of memories and past experiences--you can have also have that clarity for your future. We just don't exercise those muscles enough."
And then, he had us exercise those muscles. He had us envision our lives in the future--where we were living, what we were doing, who we were with, etc. We did it incrementally, first a few weeks, then a few months, then YEARS into the future.
As someone who detested lists and organization, I found this exercise frustrating. I didn't like it. I didn't believe in it. I went along with it, however, as I did each and every aspect of my health coach training program, because I trusted Joshua. I trusted that he had tools that I needed to experience a better quality of life and support others in that search.
And I was smart to trust him. And I'm very grateful for all I learned.
About three years later, I exercised that muscle of seeing into the future. It isn't a special power I possess. We all have this power. We can actually see what we want and then watch as it unfolds before us.
Back in January of this year, I decided that I was exhausted of life without a car. I had owned a car. I really cool one--a Volvo S40. When I moved to Boston in 2006, I sold that beloved vehicle to free myself from the financial responsibility. Because I didn't have a good sense of money and spending, I was really afraid I wouldn't be able to handle the cost of owning a car in Boston. I also wanted to soak up the life of a city-dweller---using only my legs and my bike to get me around.
Six years later, that lifestyle was becoming a major source of stress. The farther outside the city we moved, the harder it became to get anywhere without a hassle. It began to tax my relationship because I frequently asked for rides from my partner in bad weather or simply to spend an extra twenty more minutes together. My daily commute sucked another 10 hours a week (sometimes more!) from my life that I wanted to use for other things. My desire to live simply wasn't resulting in more peace and happiness. It was making me feel stuck, frustrated and tired.
Last week, when I found myself a mere 8 miles from home for jury duty, it took me almost two hours to get back home. It was pouring rain in the morning, so biking wasn't an option and if a stranger hadn't given me an unexpected lift, it would have taken longer. That was it. That was my limit. I decided I wasn't savoring my existence living from such scarcity. I had things to do, people to see, a great life to live. And I was tired of waiting--for the bus and for me to stop being a victim of circumstance.
I decided it was time to manifest my vision. To make that future I saw so clearly become my reality.
We hopped into my partner's new car (we are both living from abundance these days) and took a drive down to the smartcar dealership. Within two hours the papers were signed and I was all set. I didn't even hear all the details of things. I just knew I was getting my independence back. My freedom of movement. More time freed up to live my life the way I want to.
Most of all, I wanted to show myself that suffering in scarcity is a choice. Embracing abundance and happiness is a choice, too. No one could make my situation better but me.
Here's two gems I have learned from being carless for 6 years:
1) I appreciate time more. I know how long it will take me to get somewhere on foot, bike, train, bus or car so now I can make informed decisions about which mode of transportation I will choose every single day. This was an appreciation and skillset I never had in the past.
2) I value my money so much now, I am able to have everything I want and need--including a car for more reliable and faster transportation. Since I spend more consciously, more is available to me. When I moved to the city, I deprived myself of something because I was afraid. Now, I manage my resources to live the life I choose, as defined by me.
No one can make these things happen FOR us. We are the ones who make our lives happen. For better or for worse.
Cheers to choosing BETTER!