Q. I notice that my behavior is a reaction or in response to others’ needs or responsibilities that I feel I have to fulfill. So I become very task-oriented and do not feel excited about projects or future possibilities. I often have creative ideas but do not seem to get anything going. I feel I have no vision for myself and then end up feeling resentful when others ask me to join them in projects or events. I am just beginning to understand this about myself. But how do I extricate myself from my responsibilities and do something creative or find a personal vision?
A. You seem to be quite clear about your current patterns and struggles. I am curious about how you got these insights into your issues. Some of us are dutiful types of people. We feel an obligation to complete tasks, respond to people and sustain things in life. This can give us a kind of satisfaction, but at certain stages in life it can also feel burdensome, or devoid of purpose. Because this happens slowly over time, most people do not even notice when it is occurring. They wake up one day depressed, angry or without any direction. Your awareness is a good sign.
What are some of the creative ideas that you are dreaming up? Value them by taking a moment to feel the inspiration and energy they bring. That’s the first step. This will start to feed you and vitalize you.
Our modern world can get very automated and focused on tasks and outer needs. Turning inward is indeed going upstream and requires strong intention and scheduling. If you are a person that works well alone, then set up a little time each week to creating. It could even be an hour a week or fifteen minutes every other day. Other people do well by joining groups or taking a class to get support and instruction. They are well worth it and a great way to make new friends. You cannot extricate yourself from your responsibilities and don’t even need to. If done with balance, they can help ground us.
Most people have ideas about their lives or the world that can be visionary. However, they discount these ideas or just get caught in the daily grind of life. How about getting a little notebook and calling it your “Vision Journal”? You can jot down these ideas, draw little images that come regarding what you really care about, and cut and paste items that are meaningful to you. Over time you will notice that certain themes arise and this will begin to guide you.
Alzak Amlani, Ph.D., is a counseling psychologist of Indian descent in the Bay Area. 650-325-8393. Visit www.wholenesstherapy.com