What sets your soul on fire?
Do you ever wonder -- Is this all there is? Am I living my best life? Do I have personal goals that I am not fulfilling?
We have become so busy with living that we've forgotten how to live. Our minds are busy worrying, trying to fit it all in -- the kids, work, church, parents, "leisure" activities. We work hard to climb the corporate ladder and make more money, only to spend more to keep up.
I follow several writers and speakers who have created great lives for themselves, businesses that can sustain healthier, happier lives. Most of them have suffered great losses. Some have lost it all - their lives to horrible illnesses. They all made lifestyle changes, all in time to enjoy parts of their lives. For some, it was short-lived but wonderful.
We can learn from these lessons and make our lives better now. What gives your life purpose? What fulfills you? What makes you happy? Do you even know?
I am not very sick... yet. I've have pre-hypertension, am at an unhealthy weight and was stressed at work. I decided I did not want to wait to get cancer or some other disease to learn how to live. I realized I wasn't living. I was worried all the time, stressed, running from one commitment to another.
I ate and spent to get pleasure because everything else was a commitment. I even rushed through fun activities with friends. I had learned to rush through everything.
But I decided I didn't want to keep living this way. I'd made it out of poverty and a dangerous ghetto in my youth, only to feel trapped by a middle-class existence that lulled me into believing that this was a good life. But no more. I knew I didn’t have to. I didn't want to die with regrets.
This video really spoke to me. I wanted to live a life with intent. I wanted to get up every morning and know myself and focus on the things that were important to me. I was lucky enough to earn a good living and I worked hard for that. Now I deserved a good life. I didn’t want to work until I am 65 years old to pay bills and then be too old or too sick to enjoy anything.
So I set off to a better life. For me, it started with calming my anxieties through meditation. It's been an amazing journey so far. But I had lost any sense of what made me happy. I knew I liked to travel but that was it. That's it. I had no idea what I wanted to do or how I wanted to live. So it was time to find out…
You don't have to live through terrible illness or loss to find yourself. You just need to open your mind to what's possible.
Most of us have so much clutter in our heads that we can't even think about what a fulfilling life looks like. We're already programmed to do what we're supposed to do. To have the perfect job, perfect kids, perfect house but our lives aren't even close to being perfect or even happy.
How do you even think about this when you have so much going on?
Clear Your Mind
Before we can come up with goals, we need room to think. We need space for creativity. That creativity that we lost somewhere between college and careers. You need to give yourself permission to stop being perfect. I even had to learn how to breathe again.
Are you taking full breaths? I started noticing that I was gasping for air. I was going so fast that I wasn't even breathing deeply. I couldn't believe it but I needed to learn to breathe! I started meditating and through meditation, I learned about something called Pranayama.
As yogis have known for centuries—and as medical science is beginning to discover—the breath has amazing recuperative powers. By controlling the breath (a practice called Pranayama), the yogis found, they could alter their state of mind.
I've used Pranayama at times when I am really nervous to calm my nerves. At times when I could not meditate because I was too nervous, like before having to speak publically, I practiced pranayama to calm down. The deep breaths help calm your entire body and clear your mind. Most times, it allows me to center myself again and gives me a few minutes of clarity. Learn more about Pranayama here.
Do you know what sets your soul on fire? Do you remember what made you happy? Do you long for space to take deep breaths and enjoy nature? Or do you just know that you aren't happy?
What we are reading and watching
Book: The Artist Way