in: Mindful Moment

Mindful Moment #37 – Honing Your List

Take a deep breath
Honing Your New Year’s Wishlist
At the ripe old age of 24, I found myself freshly divorced from my high school sweetheart and knee deep in a master’s degree that only made sense if I was still married to him. See, he was supposed to inherit the family farm and the farm was close to a major university. So, the plan was for me to pursue a doctorate so I could teach there while we lived and worked on the farm. I was down with that. But then, he broke things off and left me in limbo.
I was stunned. I was so invested in “us” that I was completely adrift when “we” no longer existed. I had to choose between staying on this path toward a degree that was essentially paid for (I had a fellowship) or following my own dream. I had entangled my life’s path with my husband’s so thoroughly that I was looking at a future I couldn’t even begin to envision. My own dreams had been set aside when we became serious, by my own choosing. Those things that had once been my passions were now my hobbies—nothing much to make a life with.
I wish I could say that I dropped that degree and that town and took off blazing my own trail. But, alas, I was far too pragmatic (and proud and stubborn) to let go of that fellowship. I learned a lot of things in that struggle, met people I never would have met otherwise, and grew into adulthood on my own. It was beyond difficult to go through the grief of losing my “sweetheart” and the life I thought we were going to have, but again, it was its own education in moving beyond and into the unknown.
As the fellowship wound down, there was this broad horizon of possibilities. Jobs in my degree were not that easy to come by. Many people naturally continued their education into doctoral studies or teaching. Looking back, I wish someone had given me permission to pivot.
By that, I mean that I wish I would have felt it was okay to stop, reevaluate what I truly wanted, even if that meant doing a 180-degree turn. Ultimately, I did make that turn. It took about three years to shift gears and get myself there, but I did it. I had always wanted to be a writer, but I was discouraged from pursing an English degree. If you wanted to be a writer, you could just BE ONE. Well, it didn’t work that way in my brain. I felt like I was at a disadvantage with too much science education and not enough literature. So, naturally, I pursued a different degree at a university of my choosing in a town I didn’t know much about.
I was terrified. In a good way. In retrospect, I don’t know how I made it happen, but I drove a U-Haul with my meager belongings, towing my car, all by myself. I had signed the lease on an apartment a few weeks prior, made arrangements for movers to unload the truck, and in the course of 18 hours, I was in a new town, in a new apartment, a bit frazzled from the journey, but fully satisfied that I had pulled it off. I didn’t even have a job yet, but there I was in a place of my own determination. The accomplishment fed my soul in a way that I hadn’t known until then.
Reinventing yourself sometimes happens by choice, but sometimes it happens by circumstance. Some internal sense of “keeping it together” may keep you on a path that doesn’t truly serve you. When things fall apart, take it as an invitation from the Universe to reset, adjust your timeline, or pivot.
In lieu of a meditation, I want to suggest a journalling exercise…
I don’t think it is just me, but there is a different level of thought that happens when I am writing. When I am writing to myself, for myself, I can be ever so much more deeply truthful and real than when I am just letting myself ponder introspectively.
Find a quiet spot where you won’t be disturbed, and take your favorite journal or several pieces of paper and something to write with.
Take some deep breaths and get comfortable. With the spirit of being honest with yourself, journal the answers to the following questions:
How can I better embrace my personal freedom?
What can I do to live a life more aligned with my hopes and dreams?
What is my soul craving?
If I had permission to pivot, what change would I make?
How can I balance my commitments with my dreams?
When you are done writing, take a few minutes to read it all back to yourself. Is there anything you want to add after reviewing your journal? What are your next steps?
I hope this exercise gives you a moment of catharsis and a chance to set forth in pursuit of your dreams, even in small ways if that’s all you can do today. May you go forth toward your soul’s path, friend.
As always,
Amy Barth-Morales


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That’s all for today, y’all – remember, taking time to focus on you is an act of love.

We hope you found this helpful – don’t hesitate to reply with any feedback on how we can improve future Mindful Moments! We can’t wait to hear from you.


See you next time! 


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