Another Neale Donald Walsch book today, and another cool idea to share. The book is called Questions and Answers on Conversations With God, and in it, a reader asks if the author knows any way to speed up one’s process of reaching enlightenment—you know, kind of like a shortcut. Not surprisingly, Walsch says that he does. He advises the reader to write down in great detail what her highest and grandest vision of herself would look like—then to begin to act as if that was who she was right now.
I thought this was great advice, and since I’ve never actually made a list like this before, I think I’ll do so now—at least as completely as I can manage. Then, after that, I’ll decide which aspects of this list I’m willing to actually undertake to improve.
Here goes: a vision of my highest self, as I now understand it. Mollie Player is a woman who:
•Smiles when she looks in the mirror. Smiles all the time, actually.
•Does not criticize herself or others over superficialities.
•Does not believe she is superior to others, and does not accept such thoughts when they come.
•Does not have any negative thoughts at all; is relentlessly optimistic.
•Takes full responsibility for her choices.
•Is honest with others whenever possible, and always with herself.
•Wears only comfortable clothes (that also look nice).
•Does not spend a great deal of money, time or attention on her physical appearance, but lets her natural beauty show.
•Spends time every morning in prayer and meditation.
•Prays constantly or, put better (as Neale Donald Walsch would say that we are all actually praying at every single moment with every single thought that we have), is fully aware of praying constantly, and does so purposefully and consciously.
•Frequently practices the activities that she’s passionate about, especially writing.
•Takes her time. Enjoys the small moments of her day. Does not rush. Pays attention to people. Does not crowd her schedule.
Okay, so this is weird. As I look through this list, I can see that it’s not at all comprehensive; writing down all of the goals I’ve already achieved (such as learning how to maintain a conflict-free, truly loving relationship with my husband) would, after all, be a bit too time-consuming and not very helpful. And I’ve left out other things, too, things that I just can’t imagine quite yet.
I realize this, and yet, shouldn’t this list be more—well, difficult to live up to? And yet, it’s not. I find after seeing the qualities I want to have all written down together that there is not one that isn’t totally, completely achievable, and not in the years to come, but really, in the months.
Does that mean I’ll get there that soon? Probably not. But I have a feeling, based on the changes I’ve already seen in myself in just the past few years that I’ll get further than I now know, and that in doing so, I will be happier and more enlightened—that is to say, “full of light”—than I’ve ever been before.
Probably by far.
Maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised, though, that the list isn’t a bit longer, a bit more intimidating. After all, it’s no accident that I’m living the life I’m living right now. I didn’t just end up in this city that I love, with the adoring and adorable partner I have now and the job that I feel I was made for. Unlike some people claim to have done, I truly, consciously, carefully chose what my life would be like. Of course, not choosing, or letting other people choose for you, is also a choice. But that’s not what I did.
When I got divorced in 2009, I was living in El Paso, Texas. I had a good job there but knew I didn’t want to stay, so I considered my options. After a time, the thought of Seattle crossed my mind and immediately I knew it was the right place for me. I’d grown up in the Pacific Northwest and the only thing I didn’t like about my small inland city was the weather (too extreme—I love the rain) and the lack of career opportunities. Since Seattle didn’t suffer from either of those maladies, I was sure I’d like it pretty well. Almost immediately, I moved, and again almost immediately, I began discovering many other things to love about this city: lush green parks, nerdy interesting people, and a very forgiving dress code, to name a few.
This place, I realized, was me.
So that was step number one on the path to getting what I wanted. Step number two was starting my career, but not just any career—my dream career: freelance writing. Now, after three solid years of building up my business, I am not only comfortably settled into it—I am flourishing.
And then there was step number three. Step number three was finding my husband. Of course, this one (I surmised) should have been trickier than the other two steps; unlike those, it didn’t seem to be entirely within my control. Little did I know, however, it was. It was entirely within my control.
All it took was the decision to look.
I signed up on a dating website, and within a couple of weeks, I’d met David.
And then there is my inner life. Need I expound upon my self-satisfaction in this area as well? I think not. Suffice it to say that working on becoming a better person—more confident, more emotionally stable, more motivated, even—has taken a lot of time and a lot of work, and that I have come a long, long way from where I started.
And so, regarding becoming the person I’ve always wanted to become: I think I’m already a good part of the way there—much further than I realized before writing this list today. I am not yet enlightened, no. But I am truly fulfilled—and I really do like myself a lot.
If that sounds conceited, I apologize—and I certainly acknowledge the considerable and wonderful help I’ve had along the way. But here’s the thing: I am, actually, conceited. I am, actually, a little too proud of myself.
I just can’t help it.
I want to brag about these things with, like, inappropriate frequency and exuberance. I want to tell the whole world what I’ve done—and what I know that they can do, too.
Because they can.
I started out my life depressed, and was depressed for a long time after that. Now, I’m not. It’s a miracle—but it’s one that anyone can experience.
And so, maybe–just maybe–I’m on my way. I’m at least part of the way toward experiencing what our great teachers like Neale Donald Walsch experience–inner peace, or enlightenment, or whatever.
Or maybe I’m just feeling optimistic today.
Because today, I feel like it’s possible. I feel like enlightenment isn’t the mystery it’s made out to be, just like despite what everyone told me when I was young, finding my husband wasn’t a mystery (thank you, Internet), and also in spite what everyone told me when I was young, finding my dream career wasn’t a mystery (thank you, good work ethic). Instead, enlightenment may be like those things are: something that sooner or later, if you are looking for it hard enough, you will find.
Enlightenment may simply be a choice—and one that I have already made.
How thrilling this is, when you think about it.
Thank you, Mr. Walsch, once again.