Scientist turned Storyteller

T is for Theme

Theme: a unifying or dominant idea.

Just as we use themes to keep our writing together, we can use them for the same purpose for our lives.

Do my actions support my themes?

Yes, continue.

No, stop going down that road.

How’s that for keeping things straight?

We can pick lifelong themes, yearly themes, monthly themes, or themes for any length of time we fancy.

At present, I have two lifelong themes: Wellbeing and Simplicity.

I think of these themes as giant sieves, filtering the crud of funny feelings (as in not good ones) and undue complexity from my existence.

When it comes to Wellbeing, I stick to the theme by tapping into how I feel—physically—about things, like whether to start or continue a project, or make purchase, or put something on my schedule.

Most anything, really.

Many times, my body will give me guidance about what I’m considering before I even ask myself how I feel about it; like sometimes I feel the muscles in my chest tighten ever so slightly.

Constricted muscles are a definite sign for me to proceed with caution with whatever it is I’m weighing.

With Simplicity, I stay on track by keeping an eye toward ease.

Simplicity, for example, keeps me from buying assembly-required furniture from IKEA.

In recent years, Simplicity has taken on a greater visual aspect with me, meaning that I find my days at home flow easier with fewer things to look at.

I get more writing and mental planning for my projects done in a clear space, and more sleeping too—thanks to Simplicity, my bedroom contains a bed, table, two laundry baskets and a painting that will soon live with its new owner.

Are you feeling wistful at the thought of all my freed-up space?

Well, Simplicity is available for you to claim too.

Or might another theme fit you better?

If you’re not immediately sure, play around with it.

Take some themes for a test drive (one at a time), until you find something that clicks and fits your priorities.

Personally, thinking about lots of themes working at once makes my eye twitch (not really but I’m trying to be witty), so you might want to pick one theme to start if you think more will send you into spasms.

And once you’ve nailed down your theme comes the next important step:

Getting clear on what you’ll to do to stick to said theme.

I mentioned that I stick to Wellbeing by asking myself how I feel about things before doing them.

For a theme like Health, you might not buy cookies by the box anymore, but one at a time instead (and not multiple times a day).

But the best way to stick to your theme is to ask your inner wisdom for guidance:

What can I do for more [your theme] in my life?

Then listen closely, follow your hunches, and enjoy the ride.

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