Friday, May 20, 2011
The “Ideal Wednesday Exercise”—a profound self-discovery tool
by Kelly N Patterson (by the way, this piece was just picked up by Awakening the Bay, holistic network!)
The Ideal Wednesday Exercise works on several levels. Firstly, it works as a visualization technique, which some people (from professional athletes and business leaders to hippies) believe is the first, critical step to actualization of any goal. From a psychological perspective, this exercise SHOWS you what and who you value in your life-- what you want in your daily life, on a regular basis. This exercise stimulates the imagination as well as serves as a blue-print and thus, direction in your relationships, family, friends, work, and spiritual life (whatever that means to you.)
You will need a pen and paper (or your computer) and what you need to do is IMAGINE (without any restrictions on time, money, current relationship status, work, current health issues, etc.) your Ideal Wednesday (middle of your work week, assuming your work week is a Monday to Friday thing.) This is not a “weekend fantasy” trip on a sailboat, with Playboy models massing your feet and feeding you grapes, off the coast of Tahiti—this is your ideal ORDINARY Wednesday.
And you want to be as detailed as possible! Start at the beginning of your day…how do you wake up? Is it the sound of waves crashing on the shore? A child (even if you do not have one right now) poking you in the face? A dog licking your face? Morning nookie from your partner? The sound of a howler monkey?
What does your bed look like? Were you sleeping in the nude, or in satin pajamas? What is the first thing you do when you get up? Wake up sex? Yoga? Bowel movement in your luxurious bath room (describe bathroom in great detail) or perhaps, you brush your teeth, with Dr. Bronner’s, in a creek outside your bamboo house? What do you eat for breakfast? Organic granola bought from your friends, or Lucky Charms? Or is your partner making you eggs, bacon, toast, and all?
Who is sharing breakfast with you? And even if you do not currently have a partner, you need to imagine your ideal partner—his/her qualities: physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. For example, my partner always happens to look like Benecio del Toro (he just does it for me, no apologies) but physical attributes are not really important to me. It my ideal partner’s personality, intelligence, lust for life, passion for his work, sense of humor, etc. that I highlight in my Ideal Wednesday.
Go through your whole Wednesday. From reading the paper (which paper?) or listening to NPR on your way to work. How do you get to work? Public transport? In your Prius? By boat? By camel? Stay at home? Describe every room, in great detail—is there a library? Entertainment center? Pets? Gardens? Pool? Bar? Zen rock garden? Whatever you want!
Go through your whole day…from work, to after work-- taking the kids to soccer and karate, or going to a poetry reading at a local café to going to the gym-- whatever works for you, but describing everything along the way in as much detail as possible. Then finally end your day, as you began, going back to bed.
Keep this exercise and look at it from time to time, because this exercise shows you what and who you value most in your life (on a daily basis) and can help you make decisions in life/work/relationships that will lead to the manifestation of this vision. For every decision, you can ask yourself, “Does this bring me closer to my Ideal Wednesday?”
And if you follow this line of questioning, saying “YES!” to decisions that bring you closer to your Ideal Wednesday, I know you will be surprised, possibly shocked, to look back one day-- maybe in a year, maybe in three-- and see just how much of your Ideal Wednesday you are actually living!
Just try it. Not only is this a fun, insightful exercise for yourself, but you can ask your current (or future) partner to try it as well, and compare--to see if you share a similar vision. It reveals more about yourself (and your partner) than a dozen coffee dates.