I've been working to design a life I love for some time now, and things are certainly headed in the right direction. Some of this work has been on my own, while some of it has been in a group setting with my friends at The Fioneers. There's something about the process of deliberately designing your life that requires you to stop and take stock of that which you've built around you because the truth is that there is nothing you've surrounded yourself with that has come to you by accident. Much of our current life's circumstance is the direct result of our past thoughts, feelings, and subsequently behaviors.
Ten years ago, I was living on the West Coast, living a life by my own design. I was producing a lot of theater, had wonderful friends, and enjoyed my community. I had also designed my way into a situation where I was felt a bit stuck. I couldn't see a path to a higher income or higher level of theatrical success, both of which were important to me. These were desires which were starting to come up within me. I could envision myself returning to New York (where I had previously lived), and having greater income opportunities as well as theatrical ones. What began to happen was remarkable. I remembered how much I enjoyed working as a substitute teacher when I had been living in the city, and the pleasure I derived from helping students. I remembered the vibrant energy that filled me as I walked through the bustling streets on a Spring afternoon. I was inspired to do a bit of research and learned about a handful of programs that existed in New York City that were geared toward training teachers. They were remarkable opportunities: a Master's Degree with no added debt, and a salary while earning the proper credential. I knew instantaneously that I would be accepted into one of these programs, and return to the city.
The Universal Law of Commitment suggests that the key to having that which you desire is in having no indecisiveness whatsoever. It states that if you commit to a thing that aligns with your overall purpose, things seem to (almost magically) fall into place.
Fall into place, they did. It seemed almost absurd that these programs would select me when they had so many local applicants that might seem less of a gamble than I. But the truth is that I didn't even give my mind the opportunity to think about that. I believed with everything in my being that this was going to happen for me; and then it happened. This manifestation felt miraculous to me, but let me be clear. It wasn't without action on my part. I did my part mentally and emotionally first. I was fully committed to the understanding that this would happen for me. That being said, people aren't giving you jobs, fellowships, opportunities you don't ask for! In other words, I had to ask for what I wanted. Then, I had to take inspired actions. I had to apply for the program, collect recommendations, prepare for group interviews, fly across the country to interview for these programs. I didn't wish a wish, do nothing, and then be surprised my life hadn't changed. Simultaneously, I didn't take any actions that felt upstream for me. All of the actions I took felt good and felt right at the time. I felt the wave of internal inspiration that made me act. If an action felt really grinding or uphill to me, I didn't take it because it wasn't flowing. In fact at that time, in my West Coast life, there were some things that were flowing, but there were some other things, and important ones at that, that were starting to feel very uphill. I can't help but believe that it was like that so as to help me to redirect myself into the flow of my desired life.
There's a funny thing about our desired life: It is constantly changing. But isn't it a little bit fun to hit a moving target? My life desire is shifting a bit. I feel myself wanting greater freedom. Within that shifting desire, I am starting to see the path: I see me working part-time; that's unusual in the realm of education, but I'm fully committed. I only plan to choose that which flows for me. I'm not exactly sure how that will come about, but I will keep my eyes wide open, and be ready to take action when the right situation comes along. The truth is, that this is a medium-range plan in terms of time frame. I am not looking for it to happen tomorrow, as we're on track to hit Coast-FI within the next two years, but if the opportunity comes sooner, we're open to it.
In order to be open to an opportunity, we must align ourselves to it in the present moment. Alignment means being open mentally and emotionally, making ourselves a vibrational match to that which we want. But it also means preparing your life situation or environment for a potential shift. People that are expanding their families or beginning to work from home align their spaces by preparing nurseries and offices at home. What about our finances? How do we align ourselves financially for that which we desire? What does it mean to get prepared for opportunities that could create a huge life-shift? While I don't expect a huge shift of this nature to happen tomorrow, I must do the preparation that feels good in the now. We cannot live in the past, or in the future. Now is the only moment in which we can live; therefore, we can only really deal with the past or the future "on the level of the present," as Eckhart Tolle suggests.
This is where visualization is incredibly helpful. I ask myself, "If a huge, life-shifting opportunity were to come right now, what things would make it really easy to accept? What would make it flow?" The mind in me has a lot of ideas to offer (it loves to throw shade on an otherwise bright and sunny pathway). It offers: What about medical/dental insurance coverage, retirement savings, liquid savings, and monthly income needs? These are the things that can be taken action upon right now. The opportunity that comes to me might or might not include insurance. If it does, great. If not, what are my options? I can find out about these things now. Right now, I can control my knowledge of my options. It turns out that if my partner and I file domestic partnership in our state, I can simply be added to her insurance plan, which is identical to mine, and will not cost us any more. Easy. Monthly income needs: I don't know what my future opportunities look like, and I'm confident that they will provide me with plenty of money, but is there something I feel inspired to do right now? Paying off our rental will increase our monthly take-home substantially; the side business I am starting will also provide some income. Liquid savings: We're already saving quite a bit; just keep going. Retirement savings: we're already contributing to our pensions; and there's a lot going into my Roth 401k. I feel really good about that. We have Roth IRAs, could open solo 401k's with the opening of our new business (as that's a special type of retirement account for the self-employed). Being so close to Coast-FI, this isn't a huge concern, but rather, a mini-consideration.
One thing that I find on my mind is considering the length of time my partner will wish to work full time. We check in periodically about this, and she has indicated to me that she doesn't have any "end date" in mind. That being said, my soul's desire is to be prepared for her to change her mind at any point in time. At the end of each school year, I want her to have to choose either to work another year or not. Plain and simple. I don't want our life decisions to be based on golden handcuffs. If she chooses to work full time for another five years, her pension will be secured; another ten years (beyond May) will secure our health insurance through our retirement. That would be our ideal, and that knowledge makes me feel very secure. But, I cannot control the future, nor can I live in it. Despite nearing Coast-FI, what can be done is further padding our retirement by way of her retirement accounts. Also, she is the older of the two of us and will reach the traditional retirement age sooner, meaning we'll easily be able to access her retirement funds sooner than mine. This is another reason why we might want to bulk her account up a bit more. Recently we bumped her contribution level up by a couple percent, but I think we'll do that several more times over the course of this school year. Having a larger nest-egg could go a long way in compensating for the possibility that we "miss the mark" on securing health insurance for life. While I'm very much attracted to that dangling carrot, I don't feel good about requiring her to keep doing something for that reason alone. So, I feel inspired to "buy the choice."
So, while I mentally and emotionally line up to the possibility of a life-shift that will bring greater freedom into my experience, I will also line up my finances and open the door of allowing these things to happen. Right now that looks like: increasing her retirement savings and paying off the rental (which was already our intention). What are the opportunities you're trying to align yourself to? What things do you need to put into place, financially or otherwise, to be able to say "yes" if those opportunities should arise? Taking appropriate inspired action now can line you up to an easy "yes" when it arrives.