Sometimes I forget how truly awesome my life is these days.
And how vastly different it is from how it used to be. Step into my DeLorean and join me on a little flashback for a moment (watch your head on the door!):
Hello! It’s me from a few years back. Here’s what my day to day life looks like:
- Wake up.
- Worry about what will happen in the day ahead.
- Outline my day.
- Go about my day.
- Worry about my life.
- Ponder how I am living my life.
- Do some really awesome stuff.
- Wonder if I did it awesome enough.
- Assume that I probably wasn’t really all that awesome, and eventually people will see through me for the fraud I really am.
- Strive to get ahead.
- Chastise myself for not being further along.
- Resolve to do lots of stuff to get further along.
- Forget about myself and my “problems” for a brief, blissful moment.
- Worry more about my life.
You think I’m exaggerating. If I am, it is only slightly. And the crazy thing is, I did an awful lot of really cool, impressive stuff back then. Despite all the worry and mental machinations running through my brain in a steady stream. So, it’s not like I was “bad”, or unproductive, or even unsuccessful. But I was definitely unsatisfied in my life and in my self. Nothing was enough, because I was not enough.
Okay, let’s flash forward to now. Here’s what my day to day life is like these days:
- Wake up.
- Hear the thoughts that worry about what will happen in the day ahead.
- Disregard those thoughts as meaningless chatter.
- Start my day.
- Enjoy my work.
- Enjoy the taste of my food.
- Enjoy doing some really awesome stuff.
- Enjoy doing nothing.
- Hear the thoughts that wonder if I’ve done enough and disregard them as meaningless chatter.
- Fall in love with my husband even more.
- See things I’ve never seen before.
- Hear people, even the ones I’ve known for years, in a new way.
- Discover talents I didn’t know I had, surprise myself with abilities greater than I thought I was capable of.
- Discover opportunities I could not have foreseen, step into exciting and unknown territory.
- Make a mistake and correct it without berating myself.
- Feel my head against the pillow, the evening breeze on my skin, my love’s breath on my neck.
Again, I’m not exaggerating. It seems normal to me now, but it’s like night and day from what it was.
So, you are probably wondering, what the heck did you do? What happy pill did you take? What made such a dramatic difference?
The answer is two-fold:
1) I was introduced to a practical, transformational approach to living taught by an amazing couple named Ariel and Shya Kane, who offered the possibility that life doesn’t have to be one long, constant struggle. It can be easy, it can be fun, and it can be deeply, profoundly satisfying – regardless of the circumstances.
2) I kept showing up.
Let me elaborate on #2. I learned many things from the Kanes and their workshops and books – whole new ways to listen, to listen to men in particular (but that’s another blog entry), to be kind to myself, to have a sense of humor and not take everything so darn seriously. And at first these things were ‘concepts’. I understood them intellectually, but they were so outside my reality that they almost didn’t compute. (“But I have to be hard on myself in order to improve, don’t I?”) But I kept showing up. My natural curiosity is matched by a fierce tenacity, and those two things kept me coming back. Pretty soon, without my doing anything, but just by listening, by being willing and open to a new reality, my life began to transform. Instantly and also cumulatively. So that now, when I do look back – which is not often, I might add – I see in stark relief (and I do mean relief) what a gift my life is these days. How rich and sweet it is. How profoundly grateful I am for these transformational tools and for my own courage to step outside my (dis)comfort zone and into something new.
My mind still has all those same old thoughts, and it always will, but they don’t run the show anymore. Back then, I was so busy worrying, struggling and striving, there wasn’t room for fun or time to enjoy my life. Now, time is both precious and expansive and there’s fun to be found around every corner.