See it. Seed it. Feel it. Manifest It.
by SARAH MATHEWS
Reading Time: 12mins
If Einstein could recognise this with a genius IQ of 160, well that ought to get our attention. We all have the ability to imagine - whether we're picturing the possibilities in our immediate or long-term future, or simply escaping the discomfort of sitting in the dentist's chair, closing our eyes and imagining we were anywhere but there. Tropical islands are frequently downloaded here but the real fun is that there are no limitations. Our ability to create a mental picture of something that isn't there, or something that we've never experienced, frees our mind to be creative and resourceful. When we're inspired, we are able to influence the type of neurochemicals our brain releases because instead of feeling our usual fears in this state, we feel an overriding curiousity. Just look at athletes who train by visualizing themselves making the shot hundreds (if not thousands) of times before they've made it or played. And while a wild imagination has always been something I've leant into in my own life, I had absolutely no idea just how powerful the careful combination and habitual practice of imagination + inspiration + visualization can affect us on a neurological, psychological and physiological level and ultimately, influence how we behave and help us take action. That was, until I researched this piece...
This article unpacks your inherent ability to help manifest your goals using these tools and while it all sounds fluffy and great, I discovered what we really need to pay attention to are our three ever-present mental players on standby to ensure we succeed at getting exactly what we want, or if we're not careful, they'll ensure we miss out. I'll also let you in on our 'You.Board' tools that we introduced as part of our Enliven Guided Series, which are designed to keep your required awareness and discipline on track in a beautiful and meaningful way... because how else do you hold your own attention?!
so, who are these 3 thugs?
(1) your unruly and easily distracted CONSCIOUS MIND. It only lets you focus on one thing at a time and while it's great at coming up with ideas, it's absolutely terrible at follow through; (2) your most diligent servant, your SUBCONSCIOUS MIND. Unlike your conscious mind, it never gets distracted, ever. It is capable of processing billions of pieces of information and sensory data in perfect sequence, not just for minutes at a time but for your entire lifetime. The only thing problem is that it doesn't decipher between the good and the bad things you tell yourself and guess what, it's always listening. So when you say 'what am I thinking, I don't know enough about this; or I'll never have enough money' ... it's going, OK, sure. That's what was so scary for me. It's so easy to self-sabotage and get wrapped up in these thoughts that our dreams are silly, especially when people don't validate our pursuit of them; and (3) YOUR INNER CRITIC (or SHADOW), the tiny voice in your head that responds to everything you do through the lens of you rejecting it earlier in your childhood. So if someone hurt you, you might have told yourself 'that happened because I'm obviously not lovable or good enough' ... which was essentially you turning your back on your young shadow-self with the same devastating force of rejection. You've buried him or her with those feelings and you've never resolved it. And guess what, not looking at it isn't going to make him or her go away. There's a fascinating podcast on this here: HOW TO DEFEAT YOUR INNER CRITIC by psychotherapist and author of 'The Tools', Barry Michaels. In a nutshell, he'll tell you it's time to make amends. Being available to that part of yourself in the same way you would want to be cared for and treated. It will find a way to keep speaking to you until you do.
Your conscious mind is what helps you set your goals and your subconscious mind is what helps you attain them. These are inborn human capabilities. They are always there but in order to access your inner magic, you have to disengage logic to discover what inspires you. As for your inner critic, that's your injured control freak casting shadows on your dreams and the only way you resolve that fight isn't with resistance, it's with love, compassion and patience.
see it. seed it. feel it. revisit it and guess what... it's that easy.
4 years ago, I created a space online and I didn't tell anybody about it. I was tired of waking up to first thoughts about all the deadlines I had to be on top of, all the people I had to please and feeling behind before I'd even started. There is something sacred about a quiet sunrise and it being witness to your 'me-time'. It has this way of configuring things whether that be spent exercising, meditating, or finding a way to channel your inspiration. For me, sarahmathewsloves.tumblr.com was my response to all the demands on me. It was a space of discovery and the only criteria for me was that I was building a story ... one that was beautiful; that it could elicit a feeling and appreciation and because it was fun, it became this habitual practice. Emails could wait, at least until 8am.
WHAT HAPPENS TO OUR BRAINS WHEN WE ARE INSPIRED*:
On a neurological level: inspiration is triggered in the back of your head where your visual cortex is found (where all visual inputs are processed - surprise surprise). Alpha waves go on to create a sort of 'blink' in the brain that allows for gamma waves to burst in the anterior superior temporal gyrus (located under our right ear) and this leads to a vision of something appearing very briefly in our mind's eye. Inspiration is ALWAYS there, it's just not always accessible to our conscious mind.
On a psychological level: "when we discover our muse and dignify it with constant action, we start living in accordance with our values." Our brains are constantly filtering through our value system. When we live in line with our values... fireworks! We're focused, retain memory and are productive... when we're not in alignment, we experience depleted energy and procrastinate. This is why the 60+ questions in our 'IDENTIFICATION GUIDE' help you distil the values you weren't even aware of and they take you on a beautiful journey from who you want to be, to how you want to live and how you want to work, showing you ultimately that your life and work can be an expression of who you are.
On a physiological level: inspired action can have the same effect as sex and chocolate (say what now?!) because your body produces higher levels of serotonin and dopamine. Those are the neurotransmitters usually associated with these pleasures and they are also directly involved in 'movement, motivation, memory and pleasurable reward'. The more inspired you feel, the more simulations. On the other hand, if we're just getting by in life then we will stimulate a higher production of cortisol which is most commonly known neurochemical related with stress. I'm sure all of us have been there once in our lives... where it feels stuck and senseless which, let's be honest, isn't really a state that contributes to dynamic new neural pathways. No, it keeps you stuck in cycles of fear and passively wishing your life was different or waiting on 'someone else' to fix it can be more painful.
HOW ENLIVEN'S GUIDED SERIES FITS INTO ALL OF THIS:
The first step in Enliven's GUIDED SERIES interrogates your values. Asking you to bravely redefine who you want to be, how you want to live and how you want to work. This guide takes time because we don't want the answers you think you should give us... we want to know the part of you that's calling you to something bigger, that little voice inside saying 'it's time for me now'. We recommend that our clients set aside time to visit a beautiful location where they can immerse themselves in the process and discovery. After this step, we help you finalise your goal descriptor which we then unpack in the following guides in terms of igniting energy into this; inspecting the emotions and fears holding you back; helping you to transition this by injecting confidence and self-belief; intentionally applying yourself to take action and as you start to see things shift and more goals start to surface, we offer you the inspiration to see how you can reapply these steps over and over throughout your life.
You then receive your own personalised YOU.BOARD, a visual representation of your answers in the first workbook and like my tumblr website, you too will be able to continue the practice so that your '3 mental players' take notice. The example here enlivennow.tumblr.com demonstrates how someone could express their conscious desires of how they want to live: the sort of space they see themselves living in; to international travel once a year; to simplifying their style; to how they want to exercise and the types of relationships they see themselves one day embodying.
Along with the website, you're given your YOU.BOARD essence. A beautiful truth statement based on what you yourself hid in your answers, you just didn't realise it because your inner critic kept you in check. This is a very inspired piece, that conjures up visuals in your mind that even you find hard to argue. It's there for you every time you feel doubt. No matter how much time passes by, it's there to remind you that you have that in you and it shouldn't be ignored.
THE VERY FIRST YOU.BOARD ESSENCE I WROTE AS A REMINDER TO MYSELF WHEN JANIE AND I first STARTED ENLIVEN:
... AND WHEN YOUR INNER CRITIC DISMISSES ALL OF THIS AS FLUFFY CRAP ...
...that's when you print out a picture of yourself as the little person you once were, navigating this big world that seems determined to keep you small. It's something you print and stick up next to your You.Board essence where it's visible. Would you tell that little version of yourself not to dream? Unlikely. So why, as adults, do we have to become so hardened?
It's important to note that it takes a lot more than seeing a pretty picture and riding on a hope and a prayer. Creating new links in your mind that didn't exactly exist before takes time. you have to take what you're called to do seriously - it takes discipline, trying and failing and it requires you to step out of fear and into ACTION. The remaining 5 guides in our series are designed to help you work through whatever it might be that is blocking you (not just at a conscious level, but deeper in your sub-conscious) and janie shows you how to do this in your 1-on-1 sessions.
If you have any questions or if you would like to chat more on our Guided Series, pop us a mail here we'd love to hear from you.
*adapted from IntentionInspired.com: How Inspiration Works