We could, as Wayne Dyer said, “live from the end”(1), that is, act as if we are already living in our ideal circumstances. I am fairly certain that I have misunderstood his meaning; after all, if I want to be a writer who awakes at noon and works throughout the day and has an active night life, I can’t very well do that now, since I have a job that doesn’t exactly allow me to sleep til noon. Even if I did, I wouldn’t be able to write; I would have to go to work.
We could also do it project management style: set a goal, list all the steps necessary to meet that goal, and create deadlines for each step. That actually seems more practical, and I’ll be exploring that sooner or later.
Perhaps practicality does have some use, after all.
But what if we’re lost? What if we look around us, know we want to change something—everything—but don’t know where to start?
This is where Michael Hyatt’s domains come in.
While I’m not a huge fan of all of the “Three Steps to Achieving Blah Blah Blah,” or “Five Steps to Perfect Abs,” I did find Hyatt’s book, Your Best Year: A Five-Step Plan for Achieving your Most Important Goals very helpful. In it, he breaks our lives into ten aspects, or domains:
For example, if we aren’t emotionally healthy—or at least somewhat balanced—that state can impact our physical domain, either by not exercising, exercising too much, not eating healthfully, and a myriad of other ways that we might fail to take care of ourselves. Our emotional health directly impacts our physical health. If we’re not making the time or effort to relieve our stress by healthy means, we can find ourselves hurting, and not just emotionally: headaches, muscle pain, pain from absolute exhaustion that results from not sleeping well (3).
Stress and anxiety can affect digestion and elimination, and I know a few people who can’t seem to leave the bathroom when stress comes to visit. Their bowels become soldiers, either digging in and refusing to budge, hunkered down, guarding their defended contents, refusing to give up or give in, or running for the hills, their neural fibers waving surrender as the wind and waste of their escape alerts everyone within a three room radius of their cowardice.
Again, we can either accept it or resign ourselves to it.
But it’s just not that reciprocal relationship between physical and emotional.
If we’re off spiritually, disconnected from whatever we believe in, that sense of disconnection ignores the boundaries of other domains, not so much bleeding into them as much as puncturing the membrane and invading all of our other relationships.
If our marriage or intimate relationships aren’t in good shape, that discord can affect our work, our physical health, or–again–all the rest of them. Our lack of connection in our intimate or platonic relationships can affect our work. Maybe we hit the time clock or the office in a snit because we didn’t get enough sleep because we were arguing or we feel emotionally empty for a lack of communication or appreciation.
Maybe we’re just not getting laid.
The connection between domains is like a spider web, all dewy threads and bug-filled, circular patterns.
The first four domains, spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and physical, deal primarily with self, including the spiritual one. While many people might define “spiritual” as relating to their relationship with God, I see it more in terms of readying a vessel. Whether we believe in the Judeo-Christian God, Christ, Allah, Shiva, a higher power, our higher self, or our buddha nature, it is our relationship with our self that determines our readiness to embody that relationship.
While we really can begin in any category–I believe the most important thing is simply beginning–the first four are the pillars upon which the rest of the domains stand. If we focus on the first four pillars, we will cultivate the focus needed to work with the rest of them. It can certainly be argued that all of the domains deal with self; after all, they’re our domains, and yet, the other six deal primarily with relationships to some sort of other: our spouse, our kids, our friends, our job, our hobbies, and our money.
But if we sort out the first four, we will have a surer sense of self and will be able to deal with the others in a more prepared state.
But how do we sort them out? We create habits for each one of them, repetitive actions that specifically support each domain. If our goal is ultimately to improve each area of our life, then we must cultivate new habits.
A new habit doesn’t need to be grand; it only needs to set the stage for a commitment to change. A new habit can be as simple as going to bed a little sooner or taking time out of our day to meditate or read. Or choosing to eat a salad once a week or journal.
Just something different from what we’re currently doing. Something small that disrupts our current status quo.
If you were to choose one domain in which to begin your work, which one would it be, and what would your new habit be?
Weird Random Shit:
In 1948, H.M. Peters, a zoologist, attempted to find a way to make spiders spin their webs at more convenient times for his observation. Peter N. Witt, a pharmacologist, tested spiders with caffeine, mescaline, marijuana, and other drugs. Witt not only discovered that drugs affected their web patterns, but also there is a genetic component to their patterns, i.e., sibling spiders produced webs that were more similar than cousin spiders. You can read more about that here, a Mental Floss article, and a NASA Tech brief that discusses using web patterns to determine toxicity.
Apparently, wanting to sleep in can have large repercussions.
Also, here’s an odd You Tube video that’s worth a watch: Spiders on Drugs
(1) Dyer, Wayne. The Essence of Being in Balance. Compact Disk. Hay House: 2006.
(2) Hyatt, Michael. Your Best Year Ever: A 5-Step Plan for Achieving Your Most Important Goals. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2018.
(3) Mayo Clinic.