Go Where You Feel Most Alive

Wouldn’t it be great if this was a post about going somewhere? Anywhere?

We may not be able to jump on a plane and head to a warm beach resort, or to a mountain retreat, or to visit landmarks and cultures and people that enrich our lives.

But we always have the chance to go where we feel most alive.

Whether we are deciding where to live or what job opportunities to pursue, we always have a choice to go where we feel most alive.

We can decide which people to invite into our lives, or which people to keep in our inner circle by going where we feel most alive.

When I wake up in the morning, I can choose how to begin my day. Will I wake up and create a morning routine which enriches my life and boosts my energy in the morning. Or will I wake up and doom scroll, watch tv and drag myself into work? I can choose to go where I feel most alive.

Going where I feel most alive is all about choosing the people, places, routines, activities and opportunities that make me feel energized and fierce. It’s about creating spaces and relationships where we know we are truly living and participating, and not simply observing.

One day, hopefully soon, we will also be able to choose to go to the places where we feel most alive. Where will you go? Or will you go anywhere at all? Will you visit new places or settle down somewhere to create a home? Will you seek to meet new people, or strengthen the bonds you have with the people you hold dear now?

Wherever you go, and whatever you do, I hope you choose what makes you feel most alive.

Remember the Pause

I don’t know about you, but I feel like my life is not slowing down at all in this pandemic. I find I am ramped up, taking on too many things, not sleeping at night because I can’t get my mind to rest. I am missing the outlets which once provided time and space to decompress and to release pent up energy. I am missing the moments of pause in my day.

Yesterday I was listening to a daily meditation in which I was invited to be aware of the pause which comes at the beginning and end of each inhale and each exhale. We don’t normally pay attention to our breath. We are barely aware of it most of the time. But in this moment, I could stop and recognize the pause.

When we are feeling restless or overwhelmed, we can take a moment to remember the pause. Sit in that pause and notice it for what it is. As we focus on that pause, perhaps we can find a moment of calm for our minds, a moment of peace for our hearts, and a moment of stillness in our day.

The pause may be the most important part of our day. It snaps us out of autopilot and allows us to reset.

The pause. The breath. The pause again.

When I stop and recognize the pause, I feel a slowing down. I make clearer decisions. I can rest. I may not be able to go to the places and do the things I used to do. But I can breathe. And I can pause.

How do you bring a moment of stillness into your day?

Find Your Feet

This week I received some disappointing news. I had interviewed for a program I hoped to be a part of, and was not offered a place in that program. In the moment, I was sad and disappointed. And then, as I often do, I took it personally and moved to embarrassment, shame and questioning my worth. It’s as if my mind moved from this not being a good fit for me, to me not being worthy.

Fortunately, I have been working on strategies to bring myself back to reality when my mind begins spinning and I start catastrophizing situations. Grounding in the present helps me to see what is actually happening. Grounding keeps me from letting my mind judge my value. Grounding allows me to see the situation as it actually is, and quiet the stories in my head about what the disappointment “means” about me as a person.

So how do I find my feet and ground into the present moment?

One way is Gratitude.

When I am able to stop, take a breath and recognize the things I am grateful for, I slow the spinning and I am able to notice what is happening right now.

So, what can I be grateful for? Surely as we enter a second lockdown, wondering when this pandemic will ever end, it can be difficult to consider gratitude. But this is precisely when we need it. We can’t go out and entertain ourselves with movies and drinks at bars, concerts or museums. But we can be grateful for the technology which allows us to connect with family and friends when we can’t be together, for time learning new card games and opportunities to organize our homes or clean out our closets. I can be grateful for my job and my home and my family being safe and healthy. I can find gratitude for the breath I take, for the food I enjoy cooking and the snow I can shovel to get exercise and fresh air.

These practices help me remember that there are things in my control and things not in my control. I may not be able to control the world around me. I may not be able to control the stay at home order. I may not be able to control the outcome of the interview. But I can control the environment in my home. I can control how I use the time during the stay at home order. And I can step back and see the interview result as an opportunity to learn and grow as a leader, to find more time to focus on my current job, which brings me joy and feels meaningful. I can view it as not being a good fit for me and for the program. But it doesn’t mean I am any less worthy.

So, I will take a deep breath. I will root my feet into the ground. I will close my eyes and I will take a moment to feel the gratitude. It may not change what is going on around me. But it certainly will change what is happening within me.

What can you be grateful for today?

Check In With Your People

Friends, this is not going to be a post about how I am going to try something new or how I am going to reframe some negative thinking I have. Though both of these are good to remember to do.

Today, I just need to make a request.

Please check in with your people.

Please check in with the ones who you know are struggling. They need to know they are not alone.

Please check in with the ones who are isolated or living alone. We all need to feel connected, and during the pandemic, feelings of loneliness have become amplified.

Please check in with your friends who are parenting while working from home, or schooling from home, or both. Parenting, working, and teaching are three separate jobs and your friend may be doing the job of three people. They are burning out. Please check in with them.

Please check in with the strong ones. The ones who are always there for others. Please check in with your people who work in helping professions, who must often set aside their own pain, their own feelings of anger or pain or fear that so many of us are feeling during this pandemic, in order to hold space for others’ pain.

Please check in with the ones who seem to be handling everything really well. Some of us are really good at masking how we really feel because we don’t want to make others uncomfortable.

Just check in with your people. Like we did when all this started. We still need each other. We still need connection.

And please, if someone calls or texts you to check in, be honest about how you are doing. Appreciate the ones who take the time and the care to check in with you.

Stay safe. Stay well. Stay connected.

Never Too Late

I have been doing a lot of reflecting on my life lately – where I have been, what I have accomplished, and also how I have failed and where I thought or hoped I would be at this point in my life.

In many ways, I have set goals and worked hard to achieve them. And I am proud of those accomplishments. But there are also many ways in which I have failed (which is okay – we learn from our failures as much as our successes) and my life doesn’t exactly look like I thought it would at this time in my life.

There are things I have thought about doing. And sometimes I convince myself that I am too old, that I had my chance, that it seems silly to try to become something I am not (yet).

But then I remember the words of George Eliot: It’s never too late to be who you might have been. Never too late. Never.

And so I ask myself to be completely honest with myself.

  • Am I living the life I have envisioned for myself? 
  • If I died tomorrow, would I be able to look back at my life and feel content that I have lived each day, being all I hoped to be? Would I be proud of the life I led? 
  • Would I feel that I have achieved everything that I wanted to?
  • Do I live each day aligned with the things that are most important to me? 

What am I waiting for? Well, maybe I need first to understand what really matters to me. Maybe I need to stop making excuses or to stop procrastinating. Maybe my fear of failure or of imperfection keeps me from stepping out and trying. Maybe all the reasons why I should NOT make a change feel bigger than the reasons I should.

I remember when I started this blog. It was on my 45th birthday and I decided that there were 45 things I needed to accomplish that year. I didn’t. And that is okay. But perhaps it is time to re-evaluate some of those items. Maybe it’s time to add to the list. Maybe what I really need is to examine who I want to be not just what I want to do.

I have had some huge changes in my life this year. I moved out on my own. I changed jobs. There was a global pandemic. Maybe that’s enough change. But maybe it’s also the perfect time for change. Maybe the time to step out and go for those goals is right now.

It’s never too late.

The only time it’s too late to begin reaching for what you want and who you want to be is when your life is over. In the meantime, if we are breathing, we are learning. If we are learning, we are growing. And if we are growing, we can certainly be moving toward becoming who we are meant to be. It is not always easy, particularly when we have responsibilities and routines and expectations placed upon us, to step out and start something new. But the limits we place upon ourselves is most often what prevents us from reaching our goals and becoming who we always dreamed we could be.

So, today I will take a look at who I might have been, and ask myself if I still want to be her. If so, my next step is to get past my limiting belief and take a step toward becoming.

Have you ever wondered if it is too late to be or do something? How do you move past those feelings?

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