Recently, I came upon the phrase, “Becoming Self-Evident.” Instantly, my curiosity was sparked. I felt, “Oooo, that’s how I want to be!” So I decide to take it on as my living theme for the summer.
A living theme is an ideal or quality that you want to enhance in your life. I used to select a theme for the New Year every January, but I have found that over time it tended to loose momentum. Instead, I have discovered that it is much more effective for me to select a theme for each season. A living theme needs to be an expression of both who you are now and the person you want to become. It is not another goal to add to your to-do-list, but rather a guiding image that will draw you forward, inspiring you to stretch and grow. For example, “to loose ten pounds” is a goal, but “to embrace a healthier lifestyle” is a living theme.
The first step is to define what the living theme means to you and why it is important at this point in your life. I started reflecting on what “Becoming Self Evident” means to me. First, I like that the phrase begins with “Becoming.” Clearly, this is not something I could accomplish in one brief summer. It is a never ending process, but I’m turning 59 this year and its time to get real, literally!
I also needed to define what it means to be Self-Evident. My first thought was, “What you see is what you get.” When someone is self-evident, the person who shows up in the world is a true reflection of who they are, what they value, what they feel, what they think, and what they believe. This does not mean having an in-your-face-attitude, but quite the opposite. It involves being self-contained, self- aware, and self-managed. Only then can one truly be unselfish and fully present for others. Ultimately, to be self-evident is to have one’s outer life be a true expression of one’s highest inner self.
Once you have clarified the relevance of your theme, the challenge is to make it a way of life. I have discovered that are three steps to this process of change: Awareness, Acknowledgement, and Action.
First, I need to heighten my awareness of when I am being falseor hypocritical; when what I’m saying or doing doesn’t match what I’m feeling or thinking. This isn’t so easy. An old behavior can become automatic and practically unconscious. So first I need to practice mindfulness, constantly checking my authenticity radar.
Second, I need to acknowledge what is really going on. What are my motives? What am I afraid of? Who am I trying to protect or impress? The trick is not to beat myself every time, but just to acknowledge, “Oh, I’m doing it again.” I need to become an insightful and compassionate observer.
Third, now that I am aware of my behavior and can acknowledge the underlying truth of the situation, the question becomes, “What am I willing to do about it? What choices do I have to behave differently? Am I willing to try a new behavior that is unfamiliar and uncomfortable? How in the present moment can I be true to my living theme?” It’s a matter of consciously developing new behaviors, one instance at a time.
I keep a living theme for as long as it engages me, usually for about three months. That is long enough to allow new habits to become grounded, but once I notice the fascination fading, I let it go. Often this happens with the changing of the season; when energies are shifting all around me. Then, I wait to see what challenge presents itself. This way each new season becomes a distinctive chapter in my personal journey.
Copyright (c) 2009 Karin Marcus