Try This When You're Not Feeling Happy About Life
We are officially into the second quarter of the year and now that I'm here with my feet on solid ground I can tell you just how challenging the first quarter of the year was. OH LAWD IT WAS CHALLENGING!
The first month started out pretty smoothly. I was engaged in 21 days of prayer with my church, which was truly transformative. I was able to finish out the Whole 30 diet without cheating and was able to see great results! But by February the heat got turned up when my husband got injured ice skating leaving him hardly being able to walk, I had a Multiple Sclerosis Flare up and then the worst news came. My aunt was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
By March I got some amazing news on the filmmaking end and was swamped with work with a tight deadline that required some ninja like coordination with my team. We are also close to the end of our latest film and are currently raising money for post-production. All of this while being a full-time Americorps Volunteer, homeschooling my son and raising three kids. I just felt as though I was speeding up on the highway of life in my stick shift...without knowing how to drive a freakin' stick shift.
And you know what was rolling around in the back of my mind this entire time? Why wasn't I further along in my acting career? While all of this stress was happening both good and "challenging" my mind had the added burden of worrying about how I was going to make all of my dreams come true in the middle of life's challenges. How messed up is that?
Actually, it felt like I was speeding up on the highway of life in my stick shift that I didn't know how to drive AND I was headed straight towards a Mac Truck!
Have you ever felt like while you were living your life, you were living another life inside your head? The "wish I was there" life? I can't even remember a time before wanting to be an actress and act in big studio films. It's been a dream since I was a little girl. I was the one that believed with my whole heart that I was destined for something great. I vowed that I would never ever let go of this dream even until death. Dramatic, right? But it's all true.
The thing is that while I was dealing with all of life's ups and downs part of my brain was stuck in "wish I was there" land. That piece was constantly preoccupied with figuring out "how" I was going to keep this vow I made to myself. I was feeling so trapped by my circumstances that I was being extra miserable to my immediate family all the time. This is not an emotion that I'm proud of nor do I want to bring around my kids. I want my home to be a happy and joyful home especially since I know what it's like to NOT have that.
One morning I was laying in bed and I came upon this video where the speaker talked about these BLUEPRINTS that we create in our minds. These blueprints are the rules by which we measure success in our lives. For example, when I was little I decided that living in Los Angeles and walking the red carpet in front of the Chinese theater for a film I won an Oscar for was a success. And my life was not matching that blueprint. For someone else, it could be the idea that they have to be married with 2.5 kids and a dog by the age of 30. The speaker said that whenever our life and our blueprints do not match up, that is when we feel unsatisfied and depressed with our lives. Imagine if you grew up on the streets and you were able to by a little home for yourself and your family? You would feel like a success! What if you grew up in a palace and had to live in only an eight-bedroom house? You might feel like a loser. It's all about perspective.
All we can do is change our blueprint or change our lives and most of the time it's a little bit of both.
When I heard that my mind was really blown. I was truly convicted of my thought process and behavior. Here I am living in the most privileged country because my parents were brave enough to leave their home countries and start a new life in America. Not only did I have three beautiful kids but I have a supportive husband. I have opportunity, education and live in the most technologically advanced time ever. But all I could see is my lack.
By becoming aware of where my frustration was REALLY coming from I decided at that moment to release my blueprint.
And then I felt this HUGE NASTY burden release. This blueprint had been like a snake wrapping itself around my throat and my stomach for so long. As each year went by it would become tighter and tighter reminding me that I was getting older and older and my dreams were getting farther and farther away. Really what was happening was this little blueprint my younger self-had painstakingly drawn with crayons wasn't matching the beautiful brushstrokes of my present - which in turn was causing me to feel miserable.
I believe that eventually, a miserable spirit can ruin one's future.
Screw that too.
I WANT to be happy. But happiness is a choice just like my wise momma always said. When I let go of my blueprint I started to feel this wonderful openness to possibilities. I am now in a more receptive place. I think that God wanted me to get to this point so that I would be willing to receive what He has for me but first I had to let go of my old blueprint.
However, I realize that my blueprint has gotten me this far. It's what has kept me going on this path for so many years but I also realize that what God has designed for my life is more than I an imagine. See I created a blueprint with the eyesight of a child who had no idea that one day I would be able to hold a cinematic camera in my own hands and make my very own movies.
Times is different, dear little Dija.
Little Dija didn't know about the internet or blogging or tribe building. Little Dija didn't know that movies can be made from anywhere.
Want to know something interesting? Since I chose to let my blueprint go, I've not only had a chance to travel to California with my husband (who is doing really good now), I fulfilled a big dream to visit Napa Valley and taste wine. I've also gotten cast in three projects - one of which I didn't have to audition for.
Even though it's time to let go of my blueprint, I haven't let go of my belief that I will be working in entertainment one day. I still believe that I'm going to do something amazing with my life and help others live amazing lives. I still believe all of that. I love what my husband said to me one night while we were talking.
He said "Dija, you're not giving up on your dreams. You're just letting God change your strategy."
Now I believe that every step on my journey is ordained by God even if it doesn't seem to directly relate to acting or filmmaking. Being able to function at a high level in whatever you do requires you to know who you are, and who you are not. It requires mental toughness and a lot of faith. These are things that God has been developing in me over the years - not by being in Los Angeles walking red carpets - but by learning to live through challenges while maintaining my faith.
I guess faith is one thing that Little, Dija knew would be timeless.
So how can you let go of your own blueprint?
1. Identify your blueprint vs reality
We all have developed a blueprint for our lives at one time or another. What expectation did you create for yourself as a child when you thought about your life when you grew up? For me it was I have to be in Los Angeles pursuing my acting career instead of living in Indiana raising my family trying to pursue an acting career.
2. Identify what part of your life this blueprint is affecting
Is there an area of your life that you are unfulfilled in? Maybe you have a great job but your health isn't where you want it. Maybe you are really healthy but you don't have a lot of deep friendships. What area of your life is your blueprint negatively affecting and can you change it? If not, consider changing your blueprint. We are not ready to move so I need to change my expectations.
3. Let go of the false stories
When I first let go it was kind of scary because this blueprint had dominated my thinking for so long. It really colored everything I did and caused me not to feel as free as I wanted when it came to creating and putting myself out there. I always thought I had to be careful because "they" would be watching my every move. The truth is that I don't have any paparazzi following me around judging me. It's all me telling myself stories. The problem is I'm a great storyteller so it took time to realize what was happening.
4. Be open to new possibilities right under your nose
While I was busy living in "Wish I was there" land I couldn't really embrace everything that was already in front of me. Because the sludgy blueprint has been released I've been inspired by different options for my life and current business. I feel like I can more fully enjoy the opportunities that I have right now without the added judgment that it's not a perfect replica of this imaginary blueprint I had in my head.
While I excitedly share these insights with you I want you to know I'm not saying throw out your dreams and goals for your life. I know I'm not doing that. I'm just saying let go of the how. Let go of this enormous plan that you carved into stone years ago. Life isn't like that. We grow, the world around us changes, we move and shift all the time. Don't stress yourself out and miss out on your current joys because of your blueprint.
If you're interested, here is the link to the video I listened to.