You know a lot more about you and what is likely to be creating problems for you to live the life you want. Having cleared some space, cleared the decks and programmed your sat nav, it is time to move forward in a new direction. One that will allow you to smile more, experience more joy and celebrate life as it should be. It is now that the possibility arises to set your intentions. Throughout the life of man, pictures have been of massive importance. Cave paintings, hieroglyphs, tarot cards, art in general. They have all been tools to convey a message that can be shared. The modern version of this is emojis. The unconscious part of you works on images and symbols in a very impactful way. Carl Jung, the famous psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, spent a lot of energy studying this. I do not confess to being an expert in the field of vision boards, so I would direct you to the experts. Check out http://www.mariediamond.com/ or there are plenty of books, Google it or YouTube. I am not asking you to create beliefs in some sort of magic. Purely check out (part 3 of A.B.C.) the proposal that our environment has an effect upon us. That images constantly viewed by your brain will lead you to notice opportunities and create `yearning'. This is driven by a part of your brain called The Reticular Activating System. To make your ride through your self-concept a little smoother, we need a working vocabulary, key terms to apply along the way without the need for further explanation. For starters, let's revisit the two big categories that were mentioned just briefly earlier: external factors and internal factors. It is in the development and interaction of these two categories that the self-concept is created. As you've already seen, external factors are events, experiences, and consequences that shape your self-concept from the outside.

They are myriad different occurrences that influence how you perceive yourself and how you engage with the world. You can be impacted either directly, by experiencing the direct consequences of your own actions and through your own involvements, or you learn vicariously, by observing the behavior and consequences of others. For example, as you watch what happens to family members and friends as they succeed or fail, their experiences in life also write on the slate that is you. Mindfulness is key in experiencing full emotional expression. And you have great trouble expressing your emotional states. Anger, sadness, disappointment, despair, and even true joy stay at bay because strong emotions might lead you to feel out of control. However, sitting with emotions, being mindful of them, gives them space in the present. The feeling can emerge very slowly. Or it can erupt into the moment. But you learn to manage it, to allow it. Emotions that you believed intolerable can be felt and released. The voice of your perfectly hidden depression has told you quite the opposite--that if you felt pain, it might never go away. Think of emotions as waves in an ocean. Each feeling--each wave--has a life of its own. It begins far out, deep in the sea itself. Then gradually as it rolls to shore, you become aware of its shape, its strength, its power. But when its time is done, when it disappears into froth on the beach, it's replaced by the next emotion wave. You can feel the undertow reflecting its muted energy under the surface once again. This process goes on and on and on. Mindfulness is being aware of each moment of an emotion wave's apparent life, riding it until it inevitably comes to an end.

This doesn't mean that staying mindful or allowing emotions to emerge is a smooth, effortless process. It can be frightening and very intense. If it gets too intense, or if for any reason you don't feel safe, then it's time to ask for professional help. Connecting with others by engaging in healthy relationships is one of the most important sources of happiness. Relationships strengthen the belief that you're not alone, no matter how difficult your life is. The ability to work with and lean on others during tough times and to celebrate important, positive life transitions is crucial for living with vitality and joy. Most of us have been seduced by the American dream that anyone can get rich and that riches reap happiness. However, obtaining material possessions often requires working long hours, which translates into lost time with family and friends. Initially, the material rewards can be exciting and gratifying--but these feelings deteriorate over time. Think about the first time you got a new car or bought a house. It was an exhilarating and joyful experience. But as time passed, the adrenaline wore off, and you returned to your normal state. In fact, you might have ended up feeling worse: depleted and stressed because paying off this purchase likely lasted much longer than the happiness associated with buying it. Remember, very few material possessions improve with age. A new house does not stay new for long before trips to Home Depot and calls to repairmen become more frequent. And a car starts to lose its value the second you drive it off the lot. On the other hand, researchers have found that satisfaction with interpersonal experiences tends to increase over time; relationships with people simply have more enduring value. A family reunion with relatives of all ages enjoying meals together, sharing rich stories of the past and present, and celebrating the family's new additions can live on as a source of joy for years to come--much longer than that pricey car or costly home. There are so many things in life we simply cannot know or control. Surrendering to not knowing and relinquishing our need to control all parts of ourselves and our lives is in fact tremendously courageous and powerful.

Indeed, surrendering opens up more space for more magic to blossom. Embracing the unknown, mysterious and spontaneous parts of our lives with wonder awakens us to precious inspiration and guidance. When we surrender to not knowing things we are encouraged to go within, feel our feelings and connect with our intuitive wisdom. Deep beneath our overthinking, stress and fear, we find the ever-present peace and quiet that exists within us. In this peaceful spaciousness we can receive the precious intuitive messages awaiting us. Sometimes we need to lose ourselves in order to find ourselves again. Sometimes by listening to our inner sparkle we can suddenly find ourselves catapulted into unplanned and life-shaping journeys that our spirits truly desire. With humility and openness, and by allowing divine grace and intelligence to guide us, magical adventures become ours to enjoy. Once you have identified your intentions record them on your device. Not in a drone, monotonous voice. Get yourself into a state of excitement first. Make big pictures in your mind of your intentions, hear the sounds of celebration, trumpets, bands playing, whatever your imagination can conjure up. For some people it may be listening to powerful music, watching comedy. You know you best. When recording it I use background music too. Personally I use binaural music without royalty clauses! The creativity for this is yours. Whatever format you put together, make the recording impactful and motivating. Believe it as if it has already happened or is happening. Some of the most powerful external factors are those I call defining moments.

Your defining moments may include episodes of trauma or tragedy; maybe they are instances of victory or perseverance. The point is that, no matter who you are or how routine your life may have become, you will find that against this backdrop of routineness are certain moments in time that stand out in sharp relief and are crystal clear in your memory. It is those few moments, a surprisingly small number, that may well have shaped the entire rest of your life. You have also made a number of critical choices. Again, most of the choices in your life today may be commonplace and unremarkable. You choose what to wear each day, where to have lunch, what TV shows to watch: These are the routine choices of everyday life. Yet reflecting on your personal history, you should also be able to identify a handful of critical choices, choices you've made that have shaped the remainder of your life. As with defining moments, those decisions can teach you much about who and how you have become who you are. Along with your defining moments and critical choices, you have also encountered a small number of pivotal people who have shaped you both positively and negatively. Identifying who those people are, and what role they have played in forming your personal truth and self-concept, will be a key element of getting in control of your future life quality. Sit somewhere very comfortable in whatever position feels good. Set a timer for five minutes. Breathe deeply, close your eyes, focus on your breathing, and be still. Try staying focused on your breath. Don't judge the experience or think too much about it. If your mind wanders, bring it back gently to focus on the breath. You can count your breaths if that is helpful for your focus. When the timer goes off, take another minute or two to see what emotions might be there, like watching the wave of emotion dissipate. You may feel relieved, or you may be frustrated because you're having a hard time. Open your eyes and write about your experience.