I stood in my garden this morning, the sun beaming down on my skin, with the biggest smile upon my face. I couldn't help but feel so grateful for my life as I stood appreciating the life I have been creating for myself. All I kept hearing in my head was "My god I feel so content and happy right now!".
So it got me reflecting on the last few years, up till that moment in my garden this morning, where I started to recall all the key things that have helped me to get to this beautifully peaceful place (internally and externally). What's so powerful about this is, I haven't attained this from achieving something or getting to a specific or final destination, my life is very much still a journey, a work in progress, but it's become much more enjoyable having cultivated this internal state.
I also began to reflect and draw on all the people I've coached and worked with over the last couple of years and found some undeniable similarities and themes that I feel compelled to share with you, as I'm sure it will be of use, and who wouldn't want to attain more inner-peace and contentment?
1. HEAL YOUR SHAME, ABANDONMENT & UNWORTHINESS WOUNDS
These three are like the deep wounds we all carry at the core of our subconscious mind. They're at the base of so many programs and conditions that shape the way we act, move, relate, experience and live. I find that when these go unresolved, it can really hold us back from truly experiencing life without limits. They can stop us from receiving unconditional love, connection, abundance, kindness. They can hold us back from achieving our deepest dreams and desires, but also block out opportunities and the endless doors that are available to us throughout our lives. They can stop us from enjoying moments, and from being present in the NOW. They can hold us back from being open to relationships, but more than that, they can shape the way we relate all together. Not just to people, but to food, to alcohol and other substances. A lot of eating issues, body issues, and feelings of insignificance begin with our relationship to ourselves.
Resolving these for me, opened me up to life in so many ways, and for this reason it's become one of my number one tips to re-aligning yourself, finding inner-peace and fulfillment.
2. LEARN TO MEET YOUR OWN NEEDS
Too often do we spend our lives relying on external factors (most commonly, other people) to meet our needs and fulfil us. This never leads us down a healthy path. If anything, it creates an uneasiness in the individual, a sense of anxiety and neediness, coupled with a weird attachment style in the way that we relate to others.
If you've noticed in past relationships you were prone to becoming some what needy or overly intertwined and involved in the other person, it could have been because there were needs you weren't meeting on your own, that you were relying on the other person to fulfil for you. Filling your voids from the outside world, will never lead you to feeling more whole, there will always be a constant emptiness inside, that can only be soothed by you, from the INSIDE.
What are these needs I hear you ask?
Tony Robbins explains this perfectly (I strongly recommend researching TR and the 6 Core Human Needs). All humans have four needs that match the personality: Certainty, Uncertainty, Significance, Love & Connection. These are the base ones that I recommend looking at before tackling the next two, which are the needs of the spirit or soul (whatever word you prefer). These are: Growth and Contribution. The best way to approach this is to look at each of the core needs and rate out of ten, how fulfilled you feel that need is for you in relation to life. Notice the way in which you meet these, is it mostly through other people and external factors, or are you taking some ownership and looking at how YOU can meet these for yourself, in resourceful ways of course.
3. CONTRIBUTE TO SOMETHING BIGGER THAN YOU.
In close relation to meeting your needs, there's nothing more satisfying then serving and doing some selfless giving in the world. This could be through a charity, working with disabilities, doing some volunteering, giving back to something or a cause that is greater than yourself, but also serving something you won't necessarily get recognition or return from (other than feeling good about yourself). There are endless things you can do to contribute, my advice is to jump online and do some research. Sometimes when we aren't contributing or being of service to others, we can feel unfulfilled and like something is simply missing in our lives. Rather than going to the impulsive patterns of spending unnecessary money, getting ridiculously drunk, picking a fight with a family member, or partner or boredom eating, consider this step first.
4.FORGIVE YOURSELF & YOUR PARENTS.
There's no reason why we need to be the prisoners of our past, our mistakes and whatever else we have experienced in life. Life can be fierce, but our ability to bring grace and compassion can truly set us free. This is one of the most powerfully healing steps I have ever taken. Most of us don't realise how much anger, resentment, shame and guilt we carry for others, towards ourselves and towards those closest to us, based on the past. Learning to let go of the past, learning to resolve it, process it, take lessons from it, and move forward, can open up a lot of space in your mind and life, as well as release so much internal tension. If you feel low in energy, lethargic, stagnant and weighed down, this is something that can have a massive (positive) impact on your energy. When we learn to forgive and let go, we are allowing ourselves to step out from the way we see the world. Often we are looking at our lives through the eyes of the past, and our experiences are tainted with elements of mistrust, suspicion, judgement, projection and criticism. This could be the step that resolves your relationship issues, money story and much, much more. Working with clients on this, I have seen rapid results in the way of clearing anxiety and depression.
5. DO THE THINGS YOU ALWAYS WANT TO, BUT DON'T.
Once you've completed the first 4 steps, this one should be a little easier, or if anything, you'll just have less objections and excuses. There are always those things that we put off doing in life, you know, the things we put in the "I'm too busy" or "When I have enough time" piles. The truth is though, we have an immense amount of time, we just don't have a story that supports it, or a good scheduler. Sebastian Terry wrote a list of 100 things he always wanted to do, and began moving through his entire list, whilst documenting it. His life not only got so much better, but he also began changing the lives of others around him, simply by living his life. (Again, this guy is worth a looking in, especially on TED).
You might want to write down 25 people, 25 places, 25 activities or skills, 25 experiences you'd like to have, but again this is just a suggestion. The KEY of course, is to begin to schedule and CREATE time to fit these in. Some might take a little longer to do than others, but don't let that deter you, that's part of the fun.
6. BATH IN NATURE, OFTEN!
Get outdoors! Go hiking, go camping, go to the beach, the hills, visit your favourite nature spots. I can't stress this enough. Being out in the elements have such a profound affect on your body, nervous system and mind. It's got a more negative charge energetically, which means it neutralises our energy and creates that feeling of being calm, grounded and centred. How many times have you come home from the beach or a walk outside, and felt so much more clear? This should be enough of a positive indication.
As humans, we weren't really made to be in concrete boxes, next to machines, being exposed to electro-magnetic energy (from technology) all day. It actually can make us super sick, frustrated and anxious. Wherever possible, get yourself outside, make trips into the bush a non-negotiable! There's a force much greater than us, and being in nature is how you get to sync up to that force and connect to that flow.
7. Create a SELF-AWARENESS / SELF- INQUIRY practice.
Self-knowledge and awareness is truly the only way to continue to grow and evolve. Setting up space throughout your weeks to check in and take stock can have such a powerful affect on the direction of your life. Things like journaling, meditation, mindfulness walks, contemplation, or any other practice that brings your awareness from the outside, to the inside world. Instead of brushing things under the carpet, confront them, and allow yourself the opportunity to course-correct when things feel off, instead of waiting for life to slap you in the face with harsh lessons down the track. For me, this practice has allowed me to understand myself on a much deeper level, which has then lead to making better decisions and choices in the way of career, relationships, among other things. Because of the better understanding I have of myself, I am able to communicate better to others and have found it easier to live life aligned with what I value most, and what feels right and true for me. It's reduced so much overwhelm and mental fog, and I've been able to navigate my feelings and emotions far better, without projecting them onto others or reacting to people and life in less than constructive ways.
8. GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION
It's easy to get trapped in the motions of day-to-day life, the grind, the 9-5, and all the made up obligations and expectations. We get so caught up in shoulds and shouldn'ts that we stop ourselves from having fun, enjoying life in the moment and simply just experiencing life without taking it so seriously. We may all be getting older, but that doesn't mean we can't connect to our inner-child and express our playful, free and silly nature every once in a while. I challenge you to say YES to fun and adventure more often. Be spontaneous and do things just for the sake of doing them, rather than needing a result or outcome. Be open to making mistakes, going off the rails a little or just being an idiot. There's nothing more freeing and refreshing!
9. EXPRESS YOUR GRATITUDE & APPRECIATION DAILY!
As cliché as it sounds, acknowledging what it is we are thankful for each day, expressing our gratitude and appreciation for our lives, the people in it or the little blessing we receive along the way, can do more good than you might have ever known. As I expressed at the start of this blog, I was simply standing in my garden, breathing in appreciation and feeling extremely grateful for my life and what I had created. Life isn't always easy, we all are faced with challenge and adversity at times, we have all suffered, experienced some form of trauma or heart-ache, but that has never been to shut us off from joy and receiving the good life also has to offer us. Sit and soak up the moments where things feel right, no matter how small, smell a flower, look up at the stars, smile at a friend, hug your loved ones, good moments don't have to be so fleeting, if we manage to slow down enough to take them in.
10. PRACTICE SELF-DEVOTION
The saying goes "we can't serve from an empty cup" which couldn't be more on point. But not only that, we try too hard to be disciplined, we make loving and caring for ourselves such a chore and a task, without realising how wonderful it is to give back to YOU. So I invite you to begin devoting yourself to ... Yourself. Follow the steps above if it means it will help you, seek out help and advice when you need support, allow yourself to feel what you need to feel, without judgement, give yourself time to read your favourite book, have a bath, treat yourself to a massage or a retreat. Eat well, have a wine, move your body, express your creativity, connect to your wild side, be a kid. Say no, back yourself, stay true to yourself and honour yourself and what you value most. Do things that fill you up, that meet your needs and nourish your soul. You deserve to live well, to be treated well, you are beyond worthy and it's time to show yourself that.