5 real life lessons I am working on, right now.
In 2017, my best friend and I started to work together. We had come to a point in our careers that we were both looking for the parts of our work that we felt we were missing. She was from a business background, in law, finance and coaching and I was a teacher, a content producer and a writer. It was ying and yang and it was beautiful. Our plans when we first started were very simple, but over time, they grew and grew and grew. It is interesting how work does that, it starts off as a small idea and then over time it begins to have its own momentum, almost as if it exists completely on its own. Our humble plans to make a workshop together, became a learning company and after 4 full time years in research and development, we were finally ready to launch our work into the world.
And that is when I broke. Rock bottom is not exactly a place that we get excited about arriving at. Its not as if we wake up one day and realise where we are, the truth of where we actually really, really are and say, Woo hoo! I finally got to THE destination! Excellent as that was the entire point, right, to arrive somewhere! Right? That is the funny thing about destinations. We can live our whole lives waiting to arrive at them only to find that the more we strive towards them, the further away they feel.
Learning just doesn’t work like that.
And that is why I broke. I was missing the point. And therefore, missing a whole lot of awesome that was happening in the parts of life that I was disregarding as only in service to my higher goals. I have realised, while contemplating things from this life phase of rock bottom, that goals, dreams and visions can become a prison for us, if we hold our happiness and our worth captive to the destination being fulfilled according only to the limited view of our perception.
What if we continue to live like that every day, only in service to the future vision and never value ourselves and our lives in the now? What if we give all our power away to others and ask them, fix this for me, I don’t have the answers, but I am sure that you do?
My visions for the future were my oxygen 3 years ago when I separated from my husband, walked away from the home we had built and took my then 4 year old son onto a new and very uncertain path. The funny thing was, though it looked uncertain to the world outside, to me, in my vision, my dreams and goals were as real as the material possessions I gave away.
But over time, the visions became very heavy. I had held them with such an intensity, as if they were food and shelter and our survival. And so when, tired and exhausted from the journey of entrepreneurship, they had not yet manifested – all my hopes fell into a vertigo of confusion. Once again, the destination, the achievement, the success, the final validation, the mountain summit, of all we had worked so hard toward, seemed further from my reach than ever.
Miyamoto Musashi, legendary Japanese Samurai, wrote in his famous work, ‘The Book of Five Rings’,
“To cause confusion, is to make the enemy lose heart.“
But what if the enemy is the way we are approaching our visions, dreams and goals? What if it is our thinking and not our vision that makes us lose heart? Is there another way, that we can strive to create the highest vision for ourselves and others that we can imagine, but also live more lightly, with more humour, fun and joy – as if we are living this life to actually enjoy it?
Here are 5 five practices that I am working on right now as I navigate a new mind, that feels a little bit lighter.
1. Stop. Sit.
The truth really can create freedom from what no longer serves us. Sometimes we have to sit with it, before we can change it. No BS, it does suck. But it is going to be ok I learned. No matter what happens, truth is not punishment, it is growth.
2. Make the soup.
Freedom for me has been to return to the basics. Start with good old chicken soup. Full of veggies, bone broth and rice, it is like medicine for the body. But the making of it with love for your most dear, is like medicine for the heart. It is loving kindness in a bowl.
3. Make the soup again.
Now that I made the soup once and enjoyed eating it, how can I make it again and be more present with it? When I made the soup again, knowing how it had made us so happy, the next time I made it with more focus, more presence, more gratitude for every element. How could I have missed how good this soup is? There are so many people in the world, even down the road, who are homeless, hungry and alone. This soup and the love in it, is the greatest gift. This soup is what I can return to, again and again.
4. Let go.
Work in progress. I don’t think we do this once. I think this is part of the practice of the new mind. How can I strive, push harder than I ever have before, give my vision EVERYTHING that I have inside and then, let it go. I practice this with breathing mindfully, meditating. Lifting the fog of pursuit. Seeing through the fog with clarity. When I feel myself holding so tight the suffering begins, I am going to practice this again and again. I don’t think that has an end.
5. Laugh more.
Boy don’t we forget this one. I have forgotten that it was meant to be fun. Maybe not all the time, but a lot of the time, the journey could be, fun. But I think you have to hold those visions, dreams and goals a little lighter, we are working towards them yes, but our joy does not need to reside in their manifestation.
Our joy is in actually living for the now, not the future, as we work towards our goals. So joy can be now. If we allow it. And rock bottom can be the place we find it.