The Sacred Journey Daily Journal has been my daily companion since 2005. It sits on the arm of my chair and I write in it every single day. I tailor to my specific needs; it is very adaptable. I use it to set goals for the year, write affirmations, goals, etc, for each month, take note of blessings as they occur, make monthly collages of images from the month (ticket stubs, photos, quotations that people have said to me, all sorts of things), track my exercise, weight, meditation practice, as well as more mundane things like doctors appointments and my work schedule. I highly recommend it.
Anyway, on to the topic at hand. My goals for the year.'Precise goals produce clear results. Once we become specific, the actions we need to take will be clearer, and our goals will begin to manifest.' This has always been my experience: the more specific the goal, the more likely that it will be achieved. The key is to 'find a balance between pursuing goal-oriented ambitions and engaging in the flow of life, free from preconceived ideas about how our life must be.' So, remaining open to changing goals if my life takes me in unexpected directions, here are my goals for 2008:
1. Practise regular sitting and walking meditation. (Daily 7.30 AM and 8.00 PM)
2. Find a Buddhist practice centre. (Contact one per quarter)
3. Engage more with the community through exploring interest groups to get involved. (Attend at least one meeting per quarter)
4. Increase ISA savings to set amount. (No need to post online!)
5. In addition to ISA contributions, set aside 10% gross in separate savings account.
6. If I dip into ISA or savings, pay self back in addition to regular savings/ISA contributions within set amount of time. Put unexpected extra cash (like that pops up very often!) straight into savings.
7. By end of 2008, have an investment plan and retirement/estate plan. (No need for detail online).
8. Apply for at least one new job each quarter or make note of why not.
9. Weight training 3 times a week, cardio 1-2 times per week, yoga 3 times per week.
10. Eat raw food as part of every meal and as one snack each day. (We eat too much cooked food).
11. Go somewhere fun during annual leave, but don't think you have to travel somewhere every time you have a day off! It's okay to stay home sometimes. :)
12. Get that stupid drivers licence before the end of the year.
There they are. They may not sound like much, but I have been working on these goals for the last three weeks. My journal for 2008 is all set up and ready to go. Roll on New Year!
In light of these goals, I'd also like to add a note about the present moment. It's so easy to get caught up in regretting the past and planning for the future that we forget to be aware of the present moment. The present moment is the only true reality. It is the only thing that we can truly depend on. So on the title page of my journal, I have set my mantra for the year. It is a little gatha by Thich Nhat Hanh, and is something I meditate on, but intend to incorporate more fully into my daily life in 2008:
I have arrived, I am home
In the here, in the now
I am solid, I am free
In the ultimate I dwell.
Say this while meditating. Say 'I have arrived' on the in breath, 'I am home' on the out breath. 'In the here' in breath, 'in the now' out breath. 'I am solid' in breath, 'I am free' out breath. 'In the ultimate' in breath, 'I dwell' out breath. And as you breathe in and out, think deeply about it.
Our true home (our only home) is in the here and now. No past, no future. It is possible to live happily in the present moment--it is the only moment we have. The conditions of happiness already exist. The wave does not have to look for the water. It is the water. 'I have arrived. I am home.' I am not running anymore. I have run all my life; now I am determined to stop running and to really live my life.
I face reality. I accept old age, illness and death, I accept separation from things I cherish, I accept the inescapable consequences of my actions of deed, thought and word. I do not pretend they do not exist, that they won't happen. Achieving my goals won't prevent suffering. Working toward my goals won't make me happy. Happiness is something that is already inside me; it is something that I already am. Like the wave is already water, whether she allows herself to know it or not.
May all beings be at ease.