Living Life Forward


life backwards

 

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.

This is one of my most favorite quotes from Soren Kierkegaard because I find it to be so true. How many situations have you looked back on and thought “If only I had known what I know now…”  The (better) solution seems so clear when you have all the information in front of you. Unfortunately, information is always missing when we have to make a decision. Staying frozen in time is not an option; we must move forward with life.

I do believe that the past is the past – it cannot be changed therefore precious time and energy should not be wasted dwelling on it. BUT – and this is important – some time must be spent reflecting on the past. Pausing and taking note of the events that occurred and the lessons learned are crucial in planning for a successful future. By reviewing history (in any context) we have so many answers that can be uncovered. If we harness those lessons we can begin to enjoy living life forwards.

The start of a new year is an ideal time to make some space for that reflection. This has been my practice for several years and it has done wonders for my goal planning and overall outlook on life.

So what do you think?

Want to try conducting a year-end review on your own? Follow these steps.
Once you are finished, post a comment on how it went. What did you learn?

Does tackling a review by yourself seem a bit too overwhelming? Schedule a Visual Review (virtual or face-to-face) with a visual problem solver (that would be me) to help you start living life forwards.

Throw Out the Bucket

Over the summer I had a strategic session with the very talented artist, Jill Lena Ford. Jill also happens to be a part of my Awesome Family – she is my little sister. When I say “little” it isn’t by much since we are only 13 months apart – Irish Twins!

Something always seems to happen when we put our heads together – it must be the (Irish) twin synergy. This session for Jill was just as clarifying for me. It did take ALL summer to reach the clarity, but I got there. The Idea Seeds needed some time.

Just last week Jill showed me one of her new paintings that formed after our session and its amazing how her vision mimics mine – or is it visa versa.

What was so clarifying? My Bucket.
You know the one you are supposed to fill with the right mix so you can have a balanced, meaningful and stress free life. This is what MY bucket looked like.

My Bucket Before - EmilyMarko.com

So how did this happen?!

I was drowning in the daily maintenance of life – we all do it…right? (please say you do this too!)
Whether it is the physical maintenance of keeping the garage clean and free from the piles – For Donation, No Use For This But Refuse to Part With It, Will Get to This Next Weekend, etc. Or the maintenance of taking time to reset your mind and body through exercise, meditation or even a 5-minute Me Time break. And don’t forget about all those relationships to maintain – husband, children, family, friends, community, etc.

My bucket was being filled with important things, but I had so many that I couldn’t see them and was drowning – not to mention taking everything (and everyone?) down with me.

So I threw out my bucket.

After - EmilyMarko.com

Now I stand in the middle of my life with the contents all around me – organized rather neatly, but with room to move.

MAINTAIN
It may not sound very glamorous or fun, but I realized that everything which is part of our lives requires maintenance – it is essential to surviving, but more importantly to thriving. Hmmm…there definitely wasn’t any room in my bucket for thriving. Or it was hidden at the bottom somewhere. Now I know what needs maintained in my daily life, but I also am able to see out further in the distance.

EXPAND
For me thriving wasn’t choosing more things to go in my bucket, it was about taking a look at the things in my bucket and finding ways to expand what was there. As I maintain, ideas form for easier, better ways to do things and are put into practice. I feel life expanding. It starts small but grows quickly – an app to track expenses easier, an inquiry to partner on a project instead of doing work I don’t like, an overdue chat with a friend, etc.

PLANT THE SEED
I have started to let go of old ways or tasks that do not serve a purpose and improve what is already there. This allows for space – to reflect, to fill with a meaningful new thing or to leave it alone. Beyond the ability to refine what already exists are strands of ideas – not even tangible enough to create a verbal description. I have given myself enough space to allow those idea seeds some growth – maybe a new business idea or starting a new family tradition.

Idea Seed - EmilyMarko.com

I can give it some time to grow and before I know it those seeds will drift into an area I can expand on and then it may find itself in the normal maintenance of my life. And it will begin again, but everything is out in the open where I can see it, nurture it and know when its ready to move to the next level.

This new perspective and clarity is refreshing!

YOUR TURN
Is there something you can expand in your daily maintenance to make it easier, more efficient or maybe obsolete it?
How do you leave room to let those idea seeds grow?