How do you live a life you love?
As we head into a new year and a new decade it’s likely we’ll find ourselves examining our lives and how fulfilling they are. Are we really living lives we love, lives that light us up each and every day? Or are we going through the motions wishing our lives away until our next holiday?
Back to reality
Have you found yourself uttering this phrase or something similar? It’s such an interesting phrase when we think about it, especially in the context in which it’s usually uttered. It’s rare, for instance, to hear someone say “Back to reality! Woohoo, I cannot wait!” The more likely subtext is one of despair at having to leave behind the magic, excitement and frivolity of the festive period in order to return to the drudgery of everyday life.
How does this happen? How do we get to the point of our reality being mundane, sub-optimal and something we want to escape from? How does our reality become something to be endured rather than something to rejoice in?
This is a very big topic, one that I’ll be exploring in more depth as the year goes on and certainly can’t get to the bottom of in just one blog post. I would, however, like to offer an idea, something to experiment with as you enter this new decade.
Finding your rhythm
In between Christmas and New Year I was somewhat under the weather, meaning I was forced to go at a slower pace than I’d planned. A trip to Manchester to see family and friends went out of the window and I did very little that would be classed as productive. I slept longer, read a lot and hunkered down in my house. And, in the process, I learned a valuable lesson. The lesson was that, although it was enforced upon me, I enjoyed my new rhythm WAY more than the rhythm I’d been living at before.
Now, for a type A, high energy, high achieving person this was quite a revelation, a revelation that felt both uncomfortable and familiar. The truth is that I’ve been feeling for a long time that I want and need to live in a different way, I just had no clue what that really meant or how it could be possible. I was so caught up in everything that I want to do and achieve in my life that I found it hard to see the scope for doing things differently. As it so often does, the Universe knew exactly how to help me see just how much scope there was, by stopping me in my tracks for a few days.
My new, enforced rhythm highlighted for me that if the way in which we’re living now doesn’t feel good, for whatever reason, then it can’t be right. It really is as simple as that. To live truly in alignment feels good and is in our best interest. If how we’re living now is exhausting, depleting, stressful or any other kind of unpleasant, then that’s valuable information, information that’s guiding us to do things a different way.
Getting out of the briar patch
I remember once hearing Brené Brown say that when she had given up all the tools she used to numb out whatever she was finding tough in life (alcohol, sugar, carbs, gossip etc) she felt like a turtle without a shell in a briar patch, getting prodded and poked from all sides. When she asked her therapist for something to stop her from feeling this way, her therapist’s response wasn’t what she expected; “I’ve got an idea. Why don’t you get out of the briar patch?” Initially Brené didn’t understand what this meant, and I have to admit it took a few years for this to finally sink in for me as well. What her therapist meant was, rather than trying to find a way to carry on living the way you’re living, find a new way to live. Revolutionary, radical, scary and liberating. And where do we even start?
The first step is figuring out what’s stopping us. If life doesn’t feel good to us right now, why don’t we just change it? Why on earth would we continue to live a life that doesn’t feel good?
I have a few theories.
Firstly, we’re surrounded by people who are well and truly in the briar patch with us and who are often invested in us staying right where we are. If we all of a sudden start questioning how we’re living then they might have to question how they’re living and that could kick up a whole load of stuff they’d really rather not face.
Not to mention the impact it would have on how corporations operate if suddenly the workforce decided to stop acting like machines and start behaving like living, breathing, feeling human beings. For things to continue operating as they are corporations need us to stay in well and truly in that briar patch.
Secondly, every day we’re faced with cultural norms that tell us we must live in a certain way in order to be “successful” and valued. Work hard, behave appropriately, look a certain way, even if it means sacrificing our own happiness and wellbeing. Breaking free from these norms and living in a way that’s more aligned with our cycles (especially as women) requires courage and sometimes we’re just too tired to be courageous.
Thirdly, if we want our lives to change, we have to change, something us humans are not overly keen on. We will opt for certain misery over uncertain happiness. But what’s worse, the discomfort of living a life that looks full on the outside but feels empty on the inside, or the discomfort of changing things? It’s your choice.
And finally, we can often be envious and disapproving in equal measure of those who have managed to carve out a different way of navigating life, seeing it as indulgent and unrealistic to live in a slower, softer, more sensual way. It’s as we believe the only way to live a meaningful, successful life is to work yourself to the point of exhaustion.
And yet, how can that be success? Surely success means living a life we love. Being burnt out and miserable and wanting to escape from our lives is about as far as we can get from success. To live a life we love we must be in alignment with our true self, we must live in a way that feels good and trust that that’s the path to true success.
I for one am ready to embrace a new way of doing things. The way I used to live led me to burn out and close to bankruptcy, a pretty damn good sign that I was out of alignment. It’s time to do things differently. Are you in?
Where do I start?
Start small. Start with one thing, one change that feels good, that will lead you towards a way of living that feels aligned for you.
For me it’s all about slower mornings, which have made a huge difference to my nervous system. I start the day with reading in bed while I drink my hot water with lemon. That feels nourishing, decadent and a little rebellious if I’m honest, feelings that I’m very much aligned with. I’ve also designated at least one night a week as bath night, which means I can exfoliate, sink into the water and, if I choose to, catch up on the latest video from the School of Sensual Living.
The overall themes of the changes I’ve made so far are sensuality and softness, and they feel utterly delicious and very aligned. I can honestly say that making those two small adjustments to my day have made a world of difference to how I think, feel and act.
It’s not uncommon for us to be living lives in which we rarely, if ever, feel the way we truly want to feel. That’s the thing that needs to change.
So, how do you want to feel in your life? Joyful, relaxed, excited, beautiful, sensual, loved, vibrant, decadent? First identify how you want to feel (you can choose more than one way you want to feel. For more on this I recommend looking at the work of Danielle Laporte). Then look at your life and identify what makes you feel that way already. Anything? Anything at all?
Pick one feeling and find a way to feel that way at least once a day.
It might be that you just don’t know what you want your life to be like, all you know is “not this!” Well, that’s also valuable information and a great place to start from. What would be the opposite of what it is you don’t want? Make a list and then choose one thing to try out, to experiment with. What might that look like? How might it feel? How could you change the way you’re living to accommodate it?
This is your life, you really can live it your way. I know it may not feel that way right now but you are the master of your ship, nobody else. Only you have the power to direct your life.
If you feel like it’s time to turn this ship around but you just don’t know where to start, then there are several ways in which I can help.
The first is a 2 hour Clarity and Planning session to help you get clear on what you want from the year and decade ahead and how to go about making it happen. Just click here to book your slot. The investment is £250 and can be split over two payments if desired (just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to take the payment plan option)
If two hours isn’t going to cut it then I offer a 4 month programme, Clarity, which is for those of you who feel like, in spite of having ticked all the boxes and achieved everything you thought you wanted, something’s still missing. I’ve been there done that and got the ill fitting t-shirt so I’m perfectly placed to guide you through the confusion to a place of clarity. We’ll focus on getting clear on your purpose as well as your values, how you want to feel and what might be getting in the way of you living the life you truly desire. The result: clarity about who you truly are, what you truly want and what you’re here to do in this lifetime, plus a plan of action to get you started.
If that sounds like it might be for you, click here to schedule your free 45 minute connection call.
Here’s to you living a life you love in 2020 and beyond. Life’s too short not to.
With Love and Devotion,
PS Click here if you want to take the first step towards greater clarity and purpose in your life and work. What are you waiting for?