My favourite thing about Thrive is that it’s a wonderfully practical book, full of techniques and visualisations that you can use to live a fulfilling, thriviful [not a word? so sue me] life, and so I asked Stephanie to suggest some exercises that you, my blog readers, can do, to achieve the life you want, and you don’t even need to go to the trouble of getting cancer first.
Marie has asked me over today to share an extract from ‘Thrive: the Bah! Guide to wellness after cancer’. The good news for you, even if you haven’t had a cancer, is twofold. First, you haven’t had a cancer. Second, you still get to play.
Bah! thinking: a visualisation for working out what you want
Find somewhere quiet, get comfortable, and breathe deeply. When you are ready, close your eyes.
In your mind, see yourself walking along a path through a forest. You can hear the wind ruffling the branches above you; the air is warm; your feet make the next step effortlessly.
In your mind, walk this path until you’re in a state of tranquillity.
Imagine turning a corner to see a hut in front of you. Push open the door and go in.
Find yourself in a room lined with shelves, and the shelves filled with everything you could ever want: objects that you might want for themselves, but also objects that symbolise places, adventures, people.
Keep breathing deeply. In your mind, see yourself turn slowly in this room stuffed with possibility. In your mind, allow yourself to reach out and start to take things from the shelves, putting the objects you choose at your feet. Allow yourself not to know what you’re going to choose until it’s in your hand.
When you have enough, take up your choices, turn around, leave the hut, and let the door close behind you.
Open your eyes.
Write down what you’ve chosen.
The first time I did what you’ve just done - after having done something similar at a conference some time before - I found that I had a book, written by me, in my hand.
Bah! thinking: A plan for thriving
(Prior to this exercise, you will have written a list of everything you might want to do in your life.)
It’s time to turn that list of wishes and possibilities, and make it into a plan.
First, take the list, and take another look. Look at everything on the list and see if there’s anything there that isn’t realistic, or serious. Buying winning lottery tickets, bringing people back from the dead, being six inches taller, that sort of thing. Take them off the list. (These thinking strategies are good, but they’re not that good.)
Now, take a moment to think about every item that remains on the page, in turn. Think about whether it’s really something you want to do, or whether it’s something you think you want, or ought to want. If you really want it, it stays. If not, it goes. Life is short, whether it is shortened by cancer or not. Let’s not spend time striving to get to somewhere only to find we’d rather be at home.
When you have your final list, sit back and take a look at it. Consider what’s there, and put an asterisk next to the three things that are most important to you. These are the things that you’re going to work on.
For each of the three things, do the following:
Take a fresh page. Write: ‘I will achieve X by Y date’ at the top.
Underneath, write down the ten steps you will take in order to get you to that goal.
Remember, this is not a race, or a competition. You could write ‘I will complete my novel within ten years’ and have a step of ‘I will write ten words a day’, or “I will become a qualified carpenter/aromatherapist/lion tamer by the end of the decade’ with steps that break down into saving the money, doing the research, and taking the course part-time over five years. What we are trying to do here is to create achievable goals that will get you, little by little, towards what you really want.
Review your steps often. Add new ones, break them down further, skip steps that are no longer necessary. This tool is your slave, not your master. The important thing is that you are doing something towards your goal every day.