I woke up around 3:30am. And while it isn’t uncommon for my eyes to randomly pop open during the Witching Hour, this time, just as I was waking up a random thought was in my head. It was “The Exist Plan.” Clearly a play on having an Exit Plan, but what does that even mean? I won’t even bother to ask why it came to me at 3:30am. But in case you’re wondering, I didn’t eat before bed.
Exist: Basic Survival and a Cliche
An “Exit Plan” is a term often used by entrepreneurs who are planning their exit from the company which they created. But first, they must build its value. But what about an Exist Plan? I suppose I kind of get it – what’s my plan for building my best existence? The only trouble with this interpretation is that we’ve come to know “exist” to mean basic survival, just muddling through.
Which is why I’d normally say something cliché like, “I don’t want to just exist. I want to live life to the fullest,” without considering the rewards and consequences of such a general statement. So let’s look at “exist” from another angle so we can get to interpreting, or perhaps misinterpreting, my inspired thought.
Exist. From existence. Which means the act of existing. Actually, let me leave the defining to the people who know how to do it.
As I mentioned, we seem to over qualify “exist” with the second definition. I’m inclined to say that perhaps we should build upon the first definition if we are to build a life plan.
So, there we have it. An Exist Plan is a plan for life. So what’s the plan??
Building an Exist Plan
At first I was inclined to say that I have no idea how to build an Exist Plan. But if I give it a little more thought I come to two different approaches.
Exist Plan Purviews
- A plan to exit an old way of life
- A plan to live a valuable life before we make our grand exit
And Here Comes the Brain Bend
Or perhaps a combination of the two. Essentially, to increase the value of our Exist Plan, we would take the experiences from our previous “existence” (the past spent in the outer world) and begin to understand the bigger lessons within these experiences (understanding how they affect our inner world). The goal of this equation is to gain a new perspective and understanding so we can positively influence how we perceive our lives, and lead to a brighter future. Essentially, we would be applying the Hermetic Principle of Correspondence, “as above, so below; as below, so above. As within, so without; as without, so within.”
How to Exist
While I wish I could say, “Here’s how to build an Exist Plan, just copy mine,” I can’t. And even if I could, I wouldn’t. Because copying steps of another leads you on an unoriginal path. Maybe that’s good to get a start, but by the time you have to start facing your unique scenarios, you can lose your way, get frustrated, and just stop all together.
So instead I’d like to share the ideas behind my Exist Plan. And the primary source for building an inspired existence is embracing and honoring polarity.
Comfortable in the Darkness
Making myself comfortable in the darkness has given me a very new perspective. I’ve come to understand that light and dark are different degrees of the same thing. And I don’t mean just “comprehending” it, because it does make a certain amount of sense on the surface. I mean really embracing that light and dark are only steps apart. It’s exactly the same thing, only to different degrees.
Once we understand and embrace this we can embrace that this shadow we’re all running from holds its own creativity. Because if the path toward the light is full of inspiration, then so must be the path toward the darkness. You see, inspiration doesn’t always have to result in pretty pictures, as we’re led to believe through social media. It can be ugly too. We just need to realize that we can walk along this spectrum, tipping the scales and playing with our balance between the two poles.
Chasing Self Esteem & Contemplating Outcomes
But based on the amount of denial we see playing out through social media personas, it’s pretty clear that people want to mask their shadow and embrace only the light. But from where I’m sitting it seems to be leaving us chasing self esteem, instead of our passions. Essentially, we leave the building of our Exist Plan to the vision of a society we don’t truly know, and which doesn’t know us. Why? Because too many people perceive acceptance and approval as the yardstick to measure their life’s value.
Our Actual Value
This is exactly why we need to embrace the darkness to gain self awareness. This is where we can begin to find out who we are and build our value. Because our actual total value lies in our fears and our dreams and desires. And in this exploration of our total selves lies the inspiration which begets creativity. We just keep thinking that inspiration and creativity means being in the light. But sometimes the darkness creates masterpieces, too. Some of the best musicians, painters, writers, etc. turned their darkness into art. And much of it has withstood the test of time, because it was honest.
So remember, acknowledging the light requires the knowledge of the dark. And as a refresher, while you’re aware of both, whichever polarity you focus on is what you will create. You just have to stop dwelling on which one you think you should focus on and start contemplating outcomes at both ends. From there you can begin creating you “Exist Plan” from the most honest (not the most attractive) place for you, and no one else.
From Ebb to Flow
I think the ebb I was in for the past couple of days is coming to an end. Because inspiration is what leads to the flow. And while the “Exist Plan” was an inspired thought, the real question is, “How do you want to live your life?” And while it’s slightly vague, the answer is chock full of your potential.