CLUTCH Vol. 5: There's a Sculpture in Here Somewhere


“Your success is already there, you just have to chip away at what’s in front of you--your barriers--to get to what your goals might be.” This is quoted from Jennifer Gonzales, Life and Residence Coordinator at Ryerson University, and last week’s facilitator for our Goal Setting workshop. She reinterpreted Michelangelo's quotation about his own sculptures: “In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.” She said that like his art, humans have infinite potential and the only limits to achieving our goals are the limits we have set for ourselves, which is our fears. To acknowledge our fears, we must get intimate with our feelings.

In the workshop, we shared our success stories of goals we have achieved. I have recorded some of our workshops, and as I played the discussions back, I realised it’s been a pattern in my life to set myself goals that are massive--they weigh heavily on my mind because it usually requires big life changes, and spending a lot of money,  so they are left in the backburner, brewing for some time. I started off by saying that I got my “dream job”, while other girls were happy to delete an ex-boyfriend’s phone number or to finally be able to do a yoga position. Personally, I have learned that small goals are big steps to large ones and that they don’t always have to involve drastic changes.  We also admitted things that were stuck on our “to do” lists and which mental or physical blocks were in our paths to these goals.

This is the part where things got interesting as we were able to get to the nitty-gritty stuff--or at least what we want to do in life and why. “Why?” It’s a small word for such a big question and answering it requires pondering and deep introspection. “Well I’d like to travel and live in South East Asia!" “But, why?” Usually the easy answer involves some broad reference to “happiness”. This workshop gave us the opportunity to zone in on the ingredients to what Jen calls our “core desired feelings." These feelings could be: connected, comfortable, hopeful, healthy, or even sexy. She emphasized that it had to be a feeling that set off a spark or reaction in us.  A free writing exercise got us to think about different words prompted by open-ended sentences like “I crave…" and “I feel joy when…”. In the end, we each decided on a single word for our “core desired feeling”. Mine was "relaxed.”

The one thing I took away from this journey was Jen’s advice on how we should set our goals, and as she had experienced, it is not by meticulously writing them down in a journal. But actually breaking those barriers with your body. As her yoga instructor said, “the body’s truth goes ahead of the mind’s lie”. And as Jen says “when you wake up in the morning tomorrow, the question you might ask yourself is how am I going to feel x  today? Take 15 minutes in the morning to think of your word and 15 minutes at night before you go to sleep to think about what you are grateful for.” She recommend having four or five words floating around your mind.  Today, my word was "slow" and I am grateful and excited for the body I am slowly sculpting.