I like creating monthly themes for myself and sharing them with those who care to pay attention. Before the kids, I'd have a yearly theme but now there's just a mash-up of three general aspirations:
Be a loving father
Be a considerate partner
Get some sleep when you can.
My current monthly theme is: Making Space For Something New. In essence, I'm clearing the clutter (thoughts/ habits/ stuff in the house) that I don't need anymore so something new can take its place (loving thoughts/ healthy habits/ open space).
Last year we devoted 99.9% of our attention to family. The foster-to-adopt road has been intense. As we prepare to celebrate our one year anniversary with the boys we're beginning to notice small pockets of breathing room where we can lean into some creative projects again.
I was ready to channel the same momentum I mustered before but it wasn't working. My work felt scattered. Where was I headed with all of this? There were a lot of projects but very little direction.
"What do I REALLY want to do?" This question felt intimidating. Making a decision required commitment. Old feelings of anxiety percolated in my chest.
Intellectually, I understand that failure is a state of mind. Life is a series of events designed to help us release attachments, resulting in a deeper experience of peace. But I was having trouble aligning my heart and head. The possibility of failing in my career felt overwhelming.
I decided to take my time, I didn't have to make an immediate decision. I'll stay true to the theme of the month an declutter some stuff from my life. Maybe this exercise will help me get clear.
Having limited time to work can be an advantage because it demands a certain amount of selectiveness when choosing things to focus on. What are my priorities? The question pulled me from the swamp of self-doubt and propelled me into my spring cleaning ritual. What if I only work on projects that I love and let go of anything that doesn't interest me. One by one I cut the chords to commitments that felt like obligations, clearing away stuff that didn't feel fulfilling.
As I decluttered my work life a new path emerged. By focusing on projects that feel exciting, new opportunities continue to show up. Inspired ideas develop much more easily in the open space I've created. I've learned to say "no" from a place of love and "yes" with enthusiasm.
A playful sense of curiosity coupled with better time-management is developing into a vision I've spent years asking for. It doesn't feel too big or overwhelming because the foundation I'm building it on is one of joy and interest. Even if I meet failure along the way there's a chance I might not recognize it... I'll be having too much fun to notice.
Jesse Brune-Horan is a Spiritual teacher and happy living expert. He's the co-founder & Spiritual director of Inspire Spiritual Community, a non-profit organization supporting the LGBTQ+ community. He lives and loves in Los Angeles with his husband Christopher and their family.