Life is messy and I don’t believe in lessons but there are certain truths that arise that cannot be ignored.
This whole Coronavirus story whilst making me see some things in a new perspective has also brought home some truths I’ve long since known but never articulated in one place. Let me say this is by no means any answer to life however remembering these truths and even more importantly embodying some of them have helped me recently more than ever.
I don’t believe these life truths can save us grief; pain and time yes but grief no as grief is part of our journey. I am not however a big fan of wasting time and in this light I wanted to share some of my biggest life lessons;
1. Know what you want even though life will almost certainly not go according to plan
I’m not sure my life has ever gone according to plan but in knowing what I want and showing up for what I want has meant going to the most extraordinary places, meeting the most extraordinary people and revealing more of my own truth to me. Sometimes I’ve gone after what I want only to discover it wasn’t what I thought it would be in which case it’s been a lesson. (See point 6) and sometimes I haven’t got what I wanted only to discover it was a blessing.
Even though life has a way of taking us to where we need to be, we are a co-creator in this process and as such setting intentions, being able to visualise the destination and knowing what we want (and what we don’t which is as important) is an all essential step in doing our part.
If you’re not where you want to be, don’t say die just yet. It’s not over and it’s absolutely going to change because that’s life, constant change.
2. Your people will save your life – treat them well
I have a few VERY important people in my life! It is thanks to these people that I feel loved, that I am supported through crisis and that I have been able to open my mind and heart beyond what I could have imagined. It is through them that I am wealthy in the true sense of the word.
Trust me when I say that through your darkest hours, what will matter is those who are prepared to sit with you; treat them well. It’s easy to find friends when times are good but do you have people who will sit with you in the dark, challenge you, tell you what you don’t want to hear AND celebrate your victories? Now THAT is a friend!
2. Boundaries will ALSO save your life just as much as opening your heart and you must learn to do both
NO (thank you). This is the most difficult word I have ever had to learn. To this day I find it difficult but when I use it to the full and intended extent of it’s power I am renewed in spirit.
It’s really tough but I’m so convinced by the power of boundaries that I would advocate children be taught it in school! More about that another day. On the seeming flip side although in truth I feel that these aspects live together; the ability to open your heart (when it is so easy to shut down, to criticise or to go into defence) will add a depth of experience to your life unsurpassed. How? Acknowledge how you feel, reach out to people, connect, be vulnerable with those closest to you and who have earned that right, open to new experiences, grieve, appreciate the flowers, adopt a pet…. Read more in this blog from Lifehack.
4. Don’t chase anything or anyone but don’t run from them either
Goodness if I had a $, Euro, Pound and Rand for every time I chased something; a dream, a job and yes even men, well let’s say that I’d probably be able to give away ALOT of money! It’s a strange phenomenon but the more intensely you chase something through need, the less likely it is to happen. This doesn’t mean don’t take action in favor of your dreams, no of course not! One must show up!
Every day one must take action in line with the dream but to chase it is an entirely different energy. To chase is to say I NEED this to happen and every time I’ve done it, I’ve failed. Life does not respond to desperation. In addition running away is not advised either and trust me I know. I ran away from home at age 39 only to recognise on the other side of the world that “There I was”. You cannot outrun your past, your fears or versions of yourself; these must be embraced with courage and compassion in order to transform you and your life. This has been proven to me time and time again through experience.
5. Stuck is not an answer
Life is constantly changing; it moves up and it moves down but its always flowing. Feeling stuck means that there is something that needs to be unlocked in order to release the flow of life.
This could mean facing our fears, becoming aware of beliefs that keep us stuck, feeling feelings such a grief, acknowledging certain truths or it could mean, and this is not my favorite, surrender. Surrender can mean prayer or literally imaging giving your stress over to a higher power or just off your own shoulders. As my friend Warren always says “There is always a way”.
6. It’s either a lesson or an experience
I’d love to hear your thoughts but essentially I’ve found that life’s events are a lesson or an experience; an experience of joy or grief but an experience that is designed to transform us. Sometimes life’s events are both.
One of my best friend’s lost her son a few years ago. I cannot imagine how she has moved this experience but I have observed her grief and her growth. On a lighter note a few years ago I got on a motorbike for the first time and to say that it was one of the best experiences of my life would be an understatement. The joy I felt changed my life. On the lesson front I’ve learnt some painful ones from an abusive boss, from not having contracts in place and from my divorce (in which I had alot to answer for). The lessons, boy do they hurt but you get over them and hopefully you don’t repeat the mistakes. The grief? Well that carves a chasm into your soul so that you have no option but to be changed and the joy? Well the joy, those are the most delightful of life’s experiences and must be treasured with presence and gratitude.
7. Accountability and authenticity – short term pain for long term gain
I’ve learnt that the more take accountability for our own behaviour (by facing our mistakes and our flaws) and choices as well as being able to communicate how we feel and our truth, the more expansive our lives become if in no other way than our experience of them. I think we change our world, one difficult conversation at a time and noy is it tough! Being accountable to oneself is one of the most challenging of tasks but one I’ve found no way around.
There is no avoiding the truth and what is untrue cannot last so whilst authenticity may be uncomfortable at first, there is no other way.
And last but not least keep an open mind and be cautious of what you look for, for you will find it.
It’s a strange thing but the frame with which we view the world ends up skewing our perception of it. If you look for all the ways the world and people are XYZ, trust me you will find it. Let people reveal themselves to you and when they do, believe them. In this manner you are not imposing any predefined characteristics on others but rather allowing them to show you. Should you find yourself disappointed, be disappointed not for you but for them as there will come a time when they can no longer run from themselves. There is no avoiding this for all of us. In this light we must explore and investigate life, ourselves and others with an open mind and be both curious and delighted to discover new things not to prove what we believed to be true.
I’m not sure why but I felt it important to articulate these points today. I’d love to know what your greatest life lessons have been for no doubt there are infinitely many I have not explored.
Until next time, love