Stepping Up & Living Your Way
What do you think about the frenzy for change that happens at the start of the year?
Maybe you dabble in it yourself and then return to ‘life as normal’, whatever that means!, pretty quick.
I notice how people become much more internally focused, thinking about changes and evolutions they would like to experience for the year to come. Resolutions may be made, goals set or desires and intentions declared. Yet, as I shared in my last post on Presence: the Key to Ending and Starting the Year Well, I don’t believe that this timing or these methods are the best ways to approach change or fulfil our hopes.
And we live our best life when we have clarity, commitment and compassion. It is a three step process, after presence, that you can work through whenever there are internal or external shifts toward living in new ways. This is how you create change and it is how you live life your way.
Step One: Get Clarity
Dig out your ‘fuck you!’ / ‘fuck this!’ / ‘fuck yeah!’ moments.
These are your best guide to knowing what matters most.
These are the times where you have felt most alive and connected to how you do or do not want to live. Where you get crystal clear on the position you hold in your heart, that too frequently gets lost in its translation to action. These moments are easily dismissed or let go as emotional experiences, ok for sometimes but not everyday. We need to listen to them.
Beyond the righteousness or defence of the ‘fuck you’ and ‘fuck this’ is a message that connects us to our vitality and what we value. Beyond the invincibility and high of the ‘fuck yeahs’ is a message that connects us to our passions and possibilities. These messages speak to our full experience of life; mind, body and spirit. They open us to how we could, and how we do want to, live. If only we gave ourselves permission to notice and live their message more.
An almighty ‘fuck you’ moment for me was when an eating disorder specialist told me that I was ‘breeding the next generation of people with an eating disorder’. The ‘fuck you’ in this is fairly apparent: ‘how dare he say that’ for one; and ‘he has no clue’ for another. When I stayed with the emotion of this moment I was able to see the lesson in it and make real change in my life. I realised once and for all that this man and his ways could not help me … ever. It made me critically look at the things I had in place to protect our daughter from my eating struggles. It affirmed my resolve to continue to do what I knew was right for me and what I needed to recover. It made me take action and that is the power of ‘fuck’ moments.
Step Two: Make a Commitment
To yourself. For how you will live. No apologies!
This is where your strength lies. A heartfelt, embodied and spirited declaration to thrive. Stepping forward with purpose. Aligned.
When you gain clarity on who you are, what is most important to you and how you want to live you need to declare it. The life you seek is there for the taking. Informed by all of your fuck you / fuck this / fuck yeah moments. The approach you will take. The way you will treat people, including yourself. How you want to show up in the world and ‘be’. For all areas of your life (work, family, friends, etc) and for all parts of your experience (mind, body and spirit).
Your declaration could take a multitude of forms; a statement, a picture, a movie or song, a manifesto, a pinterest board or something different. It is a holding space for your hope and your possibility that is action driven. That contains you during tough times and doubt. That opens you to the world and reminds you of what you crave. It speaks to your best self and what already exists within you.
Two examples of commitment and declaration that I love are from the Angry Therapist and the Good Life Project. More feminine examples come from Leonie Dawson on How to be a Goddess and from SARK on Being a Succulent Wild Woman. These may be inspiration for you or a starting point. I will be sharing my own sometime over the next couple of days on facebook.
Step Three: Be Compassionate
Nurture your gentle, loving and kind heart. We are all fallible.
Everyone needs a soft place to fall; to reflect and regroup. It’s how we continue to get up and keep going. We are a vital source of this for ourselves.
Be compassionate towards yourself; to get back up. Be compassionate towards others; to deepen connection. Compassion is a true life force and a key to creating lasting and heartfelt change. Know what helps you to be ok and nurture this skill. Know who to reach out to when you need a comforting or helpful hand.
Research shows that compassion is a key to wellbeing with far reaching positive effects. I have explored this more in a previous post, Self-Compassion, not Self-Esteem, the Key to Wellbeing.
Today I came across an amazing free download ebook on self-compassion by thousandshadesofgray.com. It is full of stories and tips for nurturing self-compassion. I love love love the Body Gratitude Practice on pp.16-17 by Mary Anne Radmacher who happens to also be the soul behind my favourite quote ever – Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow’.
To guide you in your reflection on the life that you want to live I have created a sheet of questions for you to ponder (click the image to the right of this on desktop and below on mobile). Read them through and then leave them for a while. Be present with what arises, not being attached to a particular response straight off. Revisit the questions and write your responses. When you are ready to share, I would love to see your declaration and commitment.
… with heart,