In the previous blog in this series, we looked at Creating Your Dream Life.
Blog Two - The Art of Reflection
There are people that are good at reflecting on their path, circumstances and reality. And there are many that are not. Those of us that find it difficult to do so very often avoid reflecting and thinking about the situations we are in and the choices we have made because it is difficult, uncomfortable and sometimes unpleasant to see the truth. Far easier to keep pushing forward and let things happen as they may. The reality of this, however, is that it makes personal mastery – the ability to grow and achieve our potential – far more elusive. And it often results in lack of responsibility or initiative within us. When we fail to reflect in life, we are living in a rather haphazard and directionless manner and are less able to make choices that we feel we can engage with. So we live with a mentality of life happening at us, instead of with us.
The capacity to reflect requires great discipline, courage and honesty. It asks us to stop what we are doing and to think and feel deeply about what is happening, what we are doing, and our impact on the situation. We reflect on conversations we have had with our partners, colleagues, family or bosses, and become deeply aware of the emotions we experienced. Was the conversation fueled by anger, fear, pride, shame, ease or manipulation? What was our part in this reality? What is driving our behaviour here? What are we truly trying to get out of the situation? The truth is often very different from what we first think!
We reflect on choices we have made and the results and outcomes. What had we correctly assumed, and what not? What worked well and what would we like to do differently next time? What do we need to change and seek forgiveness for? What do we really believe and want?
The art of reflection engages us deeply with our inner being. As we get to know ourselves better, our self awareness leads us into a more considered and effective way of showing up in the world. Crucially, reflecting is the capacity that will allow us to connect to our true self. We will be able to see those instances where we are following the plans of someone else or where we are striving to fulfill a false sense of self that has always led us to misery. We will start to see the patterns in the relationships we choose, the roles we end up with at work and the self-talk we use during our waking hours. And it is only once we start to see these patterns and understand the assumptions, beliefs and perceptions we carry that fuel them, that we can finally start letting go of what is holding us back from creating our dream life.
The reality is that it is impossible to ever truly know what our dream life is unless we master the art of reflecting.
A final powerful dimension to the capacity of reflecting comes with the image of a physical reflection. In looking at a tree reflected in the perfectly still water of a lake, we see what looks like a perfect representation in the reflection. But the longer we stay with the image, the more we begin to see the differences. The minuscule ripples become obvious, the minor distortions in shape, and – importantly – the truth that the entire reflection is upside down! We literally see the image from a different perspective. This then is the gift of the capacity to reflect. We are able to see things from a different perspective and notice subtle changes that wouldn’t be available if we had never paused to observe.
So finally, what can we do to develop our skill in reflecting?
The final blog in this series will look at the importance of imagination on creating your dream life.
On a personal note...
I am curious, creative, determined, committed and (a bit too much of) a perfectionist.