Seven Questions to Live a More Intentional and Fulfilling Life

Photo by Anna Herbst www.annaherbstphoto.com
Photo by Anna Herbst http://www.annaherbstphoto.com

Life doesn’t come with an instruction manual.” 

-Scott Westerfeld

A manifesto, a written statement of believes or intentions, can help guide us in important areas of our lives. I wrote this one the summer my firstborn flew the nest for college, and my youngest was beginning to fluff his feathers. These are thoughts from my own personal experiences that I wanted to share with them before they ventured on their own.

Who Am I? Know and celebrate who you are. I’ve spent most of my life trying to define this for myself so you can confidently step into your colorful heritage. You will have questions as you travel the bicultural bridge. You are Puerto Rican American Swedes. Global citizens with a rich heritage to ground you, no matter where you live.

What Makes Me Special? You are unique and have a gift(s) to share with the world when you are ready. We all do. By not expressing our talents and ideas, we are, by choice, depriving someone else of becoming inspired or feeling comforted by our experiences. Cast your pebble into the wide-open pond and trust that the ripple you create will be received with gratitude.

What Can I Trust? Let your values guide you. When in doubt, trust your gut instinct. You will know your truth when your mind, heart, and intuition are in complete alignment. 

Who Can I Count On? Become your own best friend. Seek solitude and expression as a way to self-connect. These tools will center you and help you deal with difficult challenges. They are a quiet conversation with your authentic self, a way to connect your mind, body, and spirit. Meditation, for example, can happen in the traditional sense. But you can also find groundedness by taking a mindful walk in nature or composing music. Even listening to music can bring a connection to your truthfulness. Whichever way you choose to practice, mindfully observe your present moment and absorb the miracle of it all. You exist, and that’s wonderful!

How Do I Improve? Remember to jump out of your comfort zone. It happens quietly; we find ourselves in a plateau, not moving in the direction we had hoped. It may serve a purpose: information raising its hand to let us know it is time to challenge ourselves. Many people choose not to acknowledge the eager hand in the air, for the unknown can be scary and feel dangerous. But you are calculated risk-takers and understand that fearing something means you do not have enough information to move forward. Like your creaky pre-teen knees indicated you were growing, calculated discomfort allows you to develop toward your fullest potential.

How Can I Get the Most Out of Life? Life experiences over things! Life is a transaction of deposits and withdrawals: Positive life experiences are deposits. Sometimes we experience withdrawals in the form of setbacks. Like your funds, make sure to create more deposits. Invest in travel – opens your mind and connection to the world – and in relationships, making sure to give as much as you receive. Volunteer. You will receive so much more than you can ever give. 

How Do I Make an Impact? Stand your ground, participate civically, and treat people fairly. We live in an age where remaining silent about issues we care about means we are decidedly allowing them to happen. Educate yourself about the topics and perspectives, and respectfully voice your opinion. Always vote and stand up for the issues that matter to you. Ask yourself how you can best serve.

What about you? 

How might your manifesto look? 

What beliefs or wisdom from hard-learned lessons can you gift to your younger self or someone who is just starting on their own?

To create a goal-driven manifesto, imagine yourself five or ten years from now, living the life you hope for. What might your future-self share as loving advice to align your life today with your vision?

Let me know how you did. Comment here or contact me directly.  



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Published by

Nancy Roldán Johnson

Author of La Mariposa: An Empowerment Program for Adolescent Latinas, Founder of Together for Latinas, Inc., Vice President One Circle Foundation

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