In order to live a Both/And life, it's crucial to start by Looking Back and building your own version of the memory palace.
When it comes to leading a Both/And life, it can be difficult to know where to start. You may feel like you’re constantly juggling different aspects of your life, trying to find balance and fulfillment. But the truth is, before you can move forward, you need to take a step back and look at where you’ve been. This is where the practice of LOOKING BACK comes in. By reflecting on your past experiences and identifying the moments where you felt completely in flow, you can gain valuable insights into your true self and what you want to achieve in the future.
The practice of looking back and concept of the memory palace has been around for centuriesThe Ancients understood the importance of having a clear understanding of the past in order to create a better future. They developed memory palaces, which were banks of information, images, and stories that could be used to shape powerful arguments or tell compelling stories. Today, we can create our own memory palaces by reflecting on our past experiences. By doing so, we can identify the clues and cues that will help us be successful, powerful, and impactful in the future. But before we can do that, we need to know who we are. Without accepting and owning our true selves, finding flow and fulfillment will always be elusive. This is why the foundational step of looking back is so important. It allows us to explore our past and understand what makes us unique. My heartfelt intent for you is to unleash within you the deepest and most impactful expression of who you are. I don’t want to make you something you’re not, or a clone of someone else. I want to help you tap into your true potential and create a life and legacy that truly makes a difference. To do that, we need to integrate our worlds and bring back together parts of ourselves that we may have thought were mutually exclusive. An either/or view of the world is a worldview for the intellectually lazy and unevolved. But I know that’s not you. You want to be intentional and designerly in how you approach your life moving forward. So let’s get started.
The first step is to identify the moments where you felt completely in flowThese are the moments where your true self and the thing you were doing were so well aligned that energy just flowed through you and out of you. You could have kept going for days or weeks. These moments don’t have to be related to your work. They could be something you do as a hobby or an experience you had on a particular holiday. The important thing is that you felt completely present and like you were being true to yourself. Once you’ve identified these moments, it’s important to understand what they have in common. What were the characteristics of those experiences that made you feel so in flow? Research has identified several common characteristics of people who exist in flow most of the time, including a general openness, a willingness to take risks, and a sense of control over the situation. By understanding these commonalities, you can start to identify the areas of your life where you want to focus your energy moving forward. You can also start to recognize the situations that tend to take you out of flow, and work to avoid them as much as possible. But looking back is just the first step. The real work comes in integrating those moments of flow into your life moving forward. This means being intentional about the activities and experiences you engage in, and making sure they align with your deepest sense of self and your core values. It also means being willing to take risks and try new things. Sometimes, we get so comfortable in our routines that we forget to challenge ourselves and push ourselves out of our comfort zones.
Identify your anti-flowOnce you’ve identified your Anti-Flow activities and patterns, the next step is to minimize or eliminate them as much as possible. These activities and patterns can be a drain on your energy, leaving you feeling unfulfilled, unhappy, and stuck. It’s important to identify them and work towards removing them from your life. For example, if you find that spending too much time on social media drains your energy and leaves you feeling unfulfilled, consider limiting your time on these platforms or deleting them altogether. If you find that a certain job or career path is draining your energy and leaving you feeling unfulfilled, consider exploring new options or making changes in your current situation to bring more alignment and flow.
Incorporating Both/And Practices in Your LifeIncorporating Both/And practices into your life requires a willingness to let go of either/or thinking and embrace the idea that multiple perspectives, beliefs, and ideas can coexist and complement each other. To begin, take an inventory of your current beliefs, habits, and practices. Ask yourself: Where am I operating from an either/or perspective? How can I start embracing Both/And thinking and practices? What habits or practices can I start incorporating into my life that align with Both/And thinking?
Some examples of Both/And practices include:
- Practicing mindfulness and meditation to cultivate awareness and acceptance of the present moment while also setting goals and taking action towards the future.
- Balancing work and play, rest and productivity, and self-care and service.
- Recognizing the interconnectedness of all beings and systems while also recognizing and respecting individual differences and boundaries.