There’s been a real shift in language these last few years and buzz words such as ‘conscious,’ ‘mindful’ and ‘purpose’ are featuring more and more across magazine articles, social media feeds and being used in people’s everyday language.
I’ve always been pretty straight-talking; none of this wishy-washy vocab or jumping on these hippy-dippy trends, but as a human being with eyes and ears like the rest of us on this planet, I couldn’t help but notice the shifts around me and get a little curious about it.
I’m pretty high octane; meditation in the conventional sense for me is like some form of torture, as is the pace of a yoga class. And watching everyone else get all Zen from incorporating these activities into their life just wound me up even further. The pace of my life started catching up with me in my 30’s, in fact, “catching up” is not the right phrase, it imploded on me like a tonne of bricks the day after my 30th birthday, which the party of took me nearly a year to recover from.
I think hitting 30 for most people has a bit more of a punch than any other birthdays before it, it’s like “shit, I’m an adult now, and what the hell am I doing with my life? And where is this all going?”
I hit the ripe age of 30 completely exhausted, and with a failed engagement of marriage not far behind me. My 30th year had me asking a lot of soul-searching questions and they were questions I didn’t have answers to. And it was at this point I realised I didn’t really know myself at all.
Fast forward 2 and a half years and I am still asking the same questions and only just being able to answer a few of them, and even then my answers are still changing. But I’m OK with that. And it’s taken me this long to be OK with that.
I had been trying to follow an outdated blueprint for life;
Get good grades at school – Get into a top university – Find the one and only career for myself – Have some fun in my 20’s but find a man to settle down with by 25 (27 latest!) – Get married to him – Buy a house with him – Have children with him.
If you’ve ever built flat-pack furniture, quite often when there is an item missing, the whole thing doesn’t go together, or if it does then it is likely to fall apart. And so until you get the missing item you are stuck.
And this is how I felt. Very much stuck. Desperate to find missing pieces so I could build the life I was given the blueprint for in my childhood as I hadn’t been taught any other way. Desperation stinks and living your life through a feeling of ‘lack’ stinks even more.
And so I started questioning this blueprint I was trying to follow; I questioned it’s origin and I took a better look at the world around me and questioned this blueprint’s functionality in the world today. And that is when I realised that not only is the blueprint out of date but I didn’t actually want to live my life by it. And I realised that life shouldn’t be lived by a plan or set of rules, it should just be experienced, as it is, with the freedom for us to take what we want from each day and leave that which we don’t want in that day. Every day is a new day which brings fresh opportunities that are ripe for the picking, but hammering on with outdated plans given to us by someone else can blindsight us to a lot of these opportunities.
You see when we follow any plan to the letter we give away our power. Of course, there are sometimes plans that we need to follow as we don’t have the expertise (like flat-pack furniture ones) but life isn’t one of those things. Life is individual to each of us. We create our own life, each and every day, by the choices we make, the experiences that we lean into and the opportunities we grab with both hands.
It sounds cliche but life is like a beach, the waves are unpredictable; we can ride the waves or get swept up by them, but to survive we need to take the rough with the smooth and we have unlimited sand to build whatever castles that we want out of.
So meditation in the conventional sense of sitting down still and quiet is not something for me.
The dictionary’s definition of meditation is:
‘Focus one’s mind for a period of time in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation.’
Well, I do all that every day; while walking the dog, while lying in bed, while sitting in a coffee shop, when I go running and even while writing these blog posts. And as a result; I become more mindful, I become more self-aware and I am able to process thoughts and feelings while I’m at it.
So burn the blueprint, do it your way. the joy of life is in the journey, not the destination… by then it is too late.
Keep shining, Keep smiling 🙂