I was 12 years old when I made my first vision board. Our assignment was to create a representation of what we hoped our life would look like in the future. Like most children, I scoured magazines and newspapers for magnificent houses, fancy cars and pictures of exotic lands that I would travel to.
"What a vision of success!" my teacher had said when I submitted my assignment. Now, more than 20 years later, my vision of success has changed dramatically.
In our current culture that is obsessed with material wealth, we show our children that living in the right zip code is more important than living with intent and purpose. We model to them that enhancing our outward appearance will add more value than nurturing who you are as a person.
And over the past two decades I have realized that houses and cars are of little comfort on those life altering mornings that you find a lump in your breast, or when you find that the person closest to you has betrayed you.
It is then when you are at your lowest, that you reach for the person who resides inside this vessel that is your body. This person like any great work of art, needs nurturing, time and attention.
And now that I have a daughter, I hope my children do not chase success in the way that society defines it.
I want them to chase the personal success that comes from finding inner peace.
These are the four things to know about inner peace:
1) Know your music
Each one of us is here on this earth with music inside of us that needs to be played. Your goal is to find out what your music is and go about the business of sharing it with the world. There is no greater tragedy than suppressing or ignoring your music to fit into another person's standard of how your life should be. You came here for a divine reason. There is a composition written in your heart that fits into the grand symphony of life.
Maybe it is a book you want to write, or a new business you want to start. Whatever your music is, you must find the channel and the means to play it. To not do so, is an invitation for anxiety and strife in your heart. When you are playing your music, you are independent of not only the bad opinions of others but even their good opinions.
When you follow your soul's journey, you are on a path of honoring who you are. You will interact with the world from a place of inspiration and passion and you will not need others to validate your path. This is true liberation.
2) Know that you are limitless
If you have ever practiced mindfulness meditation, then you know that you are not your body, you are not your career and you are not your material possessions. What you are is a limitless being connected to every other soul on this planet.
Once you understand this, then two things will happen. First, your ego slips away. You feel such a deep connection to others that their joys are your joys and their sorrows are your own. You move away from a sense of competition to one of co-operation. You no longer feel jealousy or envy for another person's achievements because their happiness is also your own.
Second, you are not co-dependent on others. Once you understand that you are limitless, your relationships move away from expectation and towards acceptance. Because you feel whole within yourself, you no longer feel the need to mold another person into an expectation of who you want them to be. You do not look for others to complete you. Instead, you attract those who are whole themselves.
Because your light shines brightly on its own, you light the candle for others. You nurture relationships based on trust, support and freedom.
3) Know that you are exactly at the stage of life you are meant to be
This is sometimes hard to understand especially when our current situation is stressful. What I know as I look back on my life, is that every setback and tragedy that I have endured has broken me open and prepared me for my greater destiny.
Through stress, I have learned to live with uncertainty. Through tragedy, I have learned to develop a strong sense of faith and through struggle I have learned to cultivate gratefulness.
In times of strife, step back and be the observer to your life. Understand that every situation is temporary and the dots will ultimately connect for you in the future.
4) Know how to send love into any situation
In this internet age when people are more connected than ever before, it is easy to get offended by what others do or say. We hold on to how people have wronged us in the past and we carry that negativity into all of our interactions.
Every thought and feeling has energy. And it flows through us. As Dr. Wayne Dyer said,
"It is not the snake bite that kills you; it's the venom."
Don't let the venom flow through you. Step away from the toxic people in your life and let go of the anger and resentment. Instead send thoughts of love no matter how difficult this may be. Wish others well on their own journeys.
Shift the energy that flows through you because it also flows to those around you.
One day, I will ask my children to create their own vision board. My hope is that they fill it with imagery of finding calm in the midst of a storm, of every day moments of joy, and of the kind of souls they would like to become.
I hope their bucket list does not just consist of the places they would like to travel to, but of the loved ones they want to go with and of the people they wish to inspire.
It is through knowing your music, understanding that you are limitless, appreciating every step of your life and sending love into all situations that true success is born.
It is the soul's journey of discovering the path to peace that is the greatest vision of all.
This post originally appeared on DrB and DrM.
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