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An Experiment in Shaping Life

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Anniversaries have been coming up a lot recently. Besides The Dragontree’s anniversary this month and my upcoming wedding anniversary, numerous friends are experiencing the anniversaries of both happy and sad occasions – quitting booze, a parent passing away, moving to their dream location, having children, beginning a new job, and more. It’s fascinating that as the time of year of a significant past event approaches, the emotions of that event come back to us, even without our consciously bringing it to mind. Sometimes an event that lasted ten minutes affects us for a whole month, every year.

The important happenings usually occur without any intention of the groove they’ll cut in our calendar and the resonance they’ll spread into future years. But what would happen if we deliberately created anniversary-worthy events for the specific purpose of instilling our future with the positive echoes of these events?

I encourage you to participate in this experiment with me.

  1. Choose a date. Mark it on your calendar.
  2. Plan something special for that day. It could be some sort of ritual, the beginning of a new chapter in your life, a commitment to yourself or someone else, or simply the most fun day ever.
  3. Spend several days in advance actively looking forward to it.
  4. On the chosen day, repeatedly anchor the event in the seasonal cues around you by paying attention to things like the look of landscape, the angle of the sun in the sky, and the feel of the air.
  5. Make the whole day about the planned event. Repeatedly state your gladness about this special day and what it represents.
  6. Activate your mental “save button” by looking for positive moments and intending that they be stored in your consciousness. Imagine you’re crystalizing this positivity within yourself as you express your gratitude.
  7. Before going to bed, write about your day. Tell yourself happily, “I’ll never forget this day.”
  8. Next year – and every year – remember this day.

As I wrote this, I realized the whole thing might feel contrived. It’s the spontaneous powerful events that really matter, right? Well, that’s what we tell ourselves. We tend to believe that life’s magical moments can’t be called up at will. But who’s in charge of our experience, anyway? Why wait and hope for good things?

Why not practice creating our own magic and see what happens? I believe that the more we consciously forge positive experiences and intentionally anchor ourselves in them, the more authentic they will come to feel, and over time we will shift our everyday consciousness in a sweet and lasting way.

Meet you next year for the commemoration of what you’re about to do,

Dr. Peter Borten

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