Let's look forward to the next week of your life...what are you excited about? What are you looking forward to? What rocks your world? What gives you the motivation to keep going? What gives your life meaning?
If there is one amazing habit you can create in your life right now it is asking these bigger life questions often.
When was the last time you asked yourself these questions...what am I doing here? What is my place on this planet? What is the purpose of life at this moment? What can I do to create more meaning in my life?
There are a few ways that beginning to ask the bigger life questions can come about. We can either be caught off guard by a 'reality slap' and we begin to question where we are at and where our future happiness will come from. Or we can just sometimes find ourselves at a fork in the road and feel stuck about which new life direction to take.
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A Reality Slap Can Be A Blessing
Sometimes it's only when a big 'crash' happens or we are confronted with LIFE STUFF or something out of our control that we tend to ponder on the meaning of our own lives. We reassess what matters to us, what makes our heart sing and what is the meaning of it all. When these crashes come along they can be a harsh reality slap but also the most beautiful blessing in disguise to dig deep and rebuild a relationship with ourselves that we have been longing for. They become your opportunity to see where you have been PLAYING SMALL & LIVING LIFE OUT OF ALIGNMENT WITH YOUR OWN NEEDS. By getting back in touch with what matters we can purify the listlessness and feelings of being lost with a newfound sense of self and a whole new adventure of life to embark on.
Feeling Stuck Can Be A Helpful Reminder To Ask The Bigger Questions
I recently was chatting to one of my best friends who has a wonderful social life, a pretty good relationship with herself, money in the bank and has enjoyed a fabulous career. But she felt she was unsure of her next direction heading into her 40's and felt bored and unfulfilled. Essentially it was time for a change but she was 'stuck' and unsure what to do next. When we hit those patches sometimes we don't know what to do and we seek the advice of others which is great. But self contemplation can also be a wonderful thing.
The fourth of the niyamas (personal observances) from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras (the yogic bible) is svadhyaya. In Sanskrit, sva means “self;” dhyaya translates as contemplating, meditating on or reflecting upon. Svadhyaya therefore can be translated as self-reflection, self-contemplation or the study of oneself. Svadhyaya refers to any activity wherein we quietly study ourselves and reflect upon our actions, thoughts, emotions, motivations, aspirations, desires and needs in pursuit of a deeper experience of our lives and our own selves.
I did a 5 minute simple 'svadhyaya' exercise with my besty which totally turned her life around and she was simply amazed at the simplicity of taking the time to check in and reevaluate her LIFE VALUES.
Get Back In Touch With Your Values & Your Life Will Take On A Whole New Level of Meaning
Are you living by an old value system? If you think about what held meaning to you at 13 it is totally different to what held meaning for you at 23 and 33. Our values change over time as does what we find meaning, purpose and fulfillment in. This is why relationships can change and die off, friends disappear out of our lives and what we used to love about our job we now find boring. It's why we used to love adrenalin sports or dancing our lives away in a nightclub or smoking joints but now have no interest in them. As we mature and grow into ourselves over time our values change.
'Values are like fingerprints. Nobody's are the same but you leave them all over everything you do.' Elvis Presley Click to Tweet This Quote
What Gets In The Way Of Finding Meaning & Fulfillment?
Well life does... and sometimes we go off track but here are the most common ways we lose touch with our value system:
Let's face it with the never ending list of things to do in the modern world we can all be a little time poor. But really it's our choice to set up our life the way we wish to and a little tweaking can go along way. At some point we've made choices that have lead us to be time poor or we lack better skills in time management.
Either way if we have no time to think, just be, ponder life and smell the roses we can lose touch with our values or what truly matters to us. We can end up living by an 'old' set of values and chase goals based on those values that don't really excite us anymore. The goal is to make the time and create the habit of checking in with ourselves often. Like buying a new pair of shoes when the others have worn out.
Relationships & Family
When you live side by side others and their needs have to come before you own each day it's hard to stick to your value system and be considerate of the needs of others. Its an artful balancing act. What if instead we could have open communication in our family or relationship environment about everybody's values and create a space that works for everyone as much as possible?
Something that Dr Covey (7 Habits of Successful People) recommends is a family or relationship mission statement. Vision boards also do the trick especially with kids as rather than having words on a page you have an artful collage of what holds meaning to everyone available to see each day and walah! you end up heading towards those goals purely because they are at the forefront of your mind each day. There are ways to stay on track with creating more fulfillment but the trick is to make it a habit to do so and not the expectation that life will just make it happen.
A Lack Of Self Worth or Belief
When we don't believe we are worthy of fulfillment, more meaning and more contentment then we end up living by the values and standards of others. We create goals and kick them yet we feel nothing. The happiness we feel from those achievements is very fleeting and empty. Long lasting happiness and contentment and richness is when we base our goals on our own standards and values and not that of others.
This is a really common theme that I've noticed with teenagers heading out into the world on their own (and also mothers or fathers who have set aside their values for the standards of others). With the late teens I work with a common scenario is that they are studying what their parents think they should study because it will 'set them up for life' yet they are anxious, sad and broken and feel they have no real power over their own future. I had a wonderful client on retreat at 18 who was having a complete breakdown over completing her degree in Architecture. Turns out there was nothing about architecture that interested her at all. And she had a hidden secret business on the side creating luxurious sleep wear that no one knew about that was not only financially successful but hugely excited her. BUT she was hung up on the idea that this 'wasn't a real future or career'. Words from her parents mouth and their standards and not hers. A simple plan to commit to chasing her dream and walah! no more anxiety. Imagine the freedom of not having multiple panic attacks a day and being able to focus on what truly makes you happy?!?
When there is just simply too much to do on your plate or a reality slap caught you off guard then stress happens. When we are stressed we become so absorbed in the to-do's and with the mountain of problems that just keep mounting on each other yet we feel we are getting nowhere. Sometimes what is causing our stress is not the amount of what we have to do but the fact that we actually find no meaning in what we have to do and it becomes hard. We can go way off tangent and forget what we were aiming for in the first place. And our innate sense of wonder, joy and feeling connected to our own life goes out the window. When this happens it's time to stop and take 5 minutes to re-evaluate your life direction.
I in fact had to do this with my own retreat business. There was just simply too much on my plate and I felt I had to run retreats full time to help all those people that genuinely needed the help, keep our team in jobs and support the incomes of others at my own expense. Though I find an immense amount of passion and purpose in helping others and I love my work, doing it 24/7 was leading me towards burn out city. And believe me I got there and it hit hard. You can't coach people on how to deal with burn out if you are burnt out. I'd forgotten why I was doing it in the first place and my creativity was being stifled. Hence the birth of this website and reducing retreats to a minimum. Still helping just not sacrificing my soul. Still doing what I love but no longer burdened by the need to have to do it 24/7.
So maybe it's time for you to look at where you can tweak your life, no matter what you have on your plate, no matter if you feel it cannot change, and look at ways to create more space and freedom. And it only needs to take a few minutes. It's value time!
In 5 Minutes We Are Going To Define Your Values & Create A Plan For Richness Meaning & Fulfillment
Do not click 'back' and think 'I'll do this later'. Nothing is more important right now than doing this exercise. Dive right in!
Get a pen and paper or DOWNLOAD this list of core life values PDF.
You are going to go with your gut. Use your intuition to select 8 words that hold the most meaning for you or 8 words that would describe what you love, what you want/would make you feel good from your life right now. This is important right now means not what you expect from yourself based on your past plan, not what you expect from yourself based on your future plan and not what you think would make others happy... but RIGHT NOW based on what would bring more meaning or make you feel good right now. Be completely honest and up front. Pick the words that have the most meaning to YOU.
For each value create a short term goal (something you can achieve in a few days or weeks). Forget your 5 year plan and only focus on what is achievable starting now. E.g. if my value is confidence...how can I walk the talk of feeling and being confident in the next few days? If your value is friendship...what can I give to my friendships in the next few days and weeks? If your value is nature.... what can I do to explore, involve and admire nature in the next few days and weeks? Make a pact with yourself (or a mission statement or vision board) to help you put things into action ASAP. Don't delay.
Share 1 value with others below in the 'comments' section & what you intend to do with it in the next week. It's so interesting to see each others No.1 value and where we are all at in the present. It will also help you to define your No.1 value out loud and stick to the short term goal that you have created to bring that Value to life.
'Anything that is of value in life only multiplies when it is given' Deepak Chopra
Share your bits below.
I hope you have a great day.
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Lots of Love