One year ago yesterday I gave up. It was my birthday and I’d had it. Like pigpen’s ever expanding shroud of dust, I had so many bad habits trailing me through the years that I was ready to let go of all of it. And so I gave up. I gave up the stinking thinking that had kept me stuck. And I gave up the beliefs that I couldn’t re-create my life in such a way that would make me happy, fulfilled and living within my soul’s true purpose.
One year has passed and yesterday I took some time to contemplate where I am now, compared to where I was then. This time last year I was working at a job I truly disliked. I felt stuck and frustrated. Those feelings shaded all other parts of my existence so that I felt like life was dull and unexciting. I hadn’t shared much of my spiritual stuff with anyone, and knew that I was being asked to do more. But what? I was flummoxed. Confused. Frustrated.
So I gave up. And life has never been better.
One year later: I have left that job behind and began a soul based business offering services that felt in tune with my beliefs and gifts. My friend Erin and I started teaching soul classes on Tuesday nights at the coolest little Indie book store in the western world. I jumped back into theatre, my first true passion, taking the leap into the Director’s chair and fulfilling a secret dream I’ve held since I was a tiny thespian. I stepped outside of my comfort zone and began reaching out to people, tentatively offering companionship, and now have a growing circle of beautiful souls I am honored to call friends.
Yes things are looking up. I am so happy with what has changed in the past year. The shadows of a half lived life are replaced by the full, technicolor glory of Living with a capital L.
There is more to do. Like all organisms on this Earth school, even after times of huge growth and expansion, it is never okay to sit back and say: “Okay. I’m done. Now what’s on Netflix?” Resting is fine. Catching our breath is good. But wallowing, even in the successful stuff is never going to be okay. We are on a path of discovery. If we stop moving forward, we will stop discovering stuff.
Therefore, I am setting more intentions for myself for the coming year. I have 365 days until the next cake day, and I intend to LIVE LIFE. And here’s how… my three C’s for the coming year:
- Create. Like the Universal All -that-isness that created us, we are at our cores, creators. When we allow ourselves the freedom to be creative, we are truly expanding ourselves and the whole world. We make something from nothing. Our creation, whether it be a painting, a book, a sculpture, a sand castle, a song, an origami unicycle, or anything in between, offers the Universe another spark of who we are. My creations this year will include several projects. A scarf that looks like a fox. One book finished and another started. A coloring book filled with magical mandalas. Discovered vegetarian cuisine created in my kitchen. A backyard turned into an urban farm. And so much more! As I create, it seems doors open and inspiration walks in, bringing more and more exciting ideas.
2. Cultivate Joy. I have come to understand in this spiritual quest of mine, that our one true purpose in this life is to find our joy. For years I attached a lot of conditions to feeling joy. I thought the accumulation of things (houses, cars, clothes, shoes, BOOKS) would bring joy along with them. And when I realized that wasn’t true, I thought that I could just destroy my pesky little ego and once that was done I would be living in supreme, unending joy.But here’s the thing. We are spiritual beings having a human experience, yes. But when we try to only live in that spiritual realm, we really miss out on the human stuff, which is what we are meant to experience. The duality of the human experience is that there are two sides to everything. Where there is shadow, there must be light. Where there is up there must be down. Where there is happy, there must be sad. And where there is good there has to be bad.
We attach judgment to our each experience. We feel so happy when the good stuff happens, and then so sad when the bad stuff happens. But it is in our perceiving and judgment that the “happy” and “sad” are created. What if we just allow each human experience to flow without attaching so much meaning to it?
Being thankful for the lessons, good, bad and ugly, can be challenging. But once we get the hang of it, the whole world begins to change. Our gratitude is the biggest and most important step in cultivating joy. We begin to understand that external circumstances no longer have the power to control us, and we are able to step off the rollercoaster ride of ups and downs and just bask in the perfection of the present moment.My first step in cultivating joy? Gratitude. I will endeavor to find reasons to be thankful for every moment of this life.
3. Cut the Crap. Some days I seem to hit the snooze button all day long. Yes I get up and get moving, but really I am still half asleep. I stare at my computer for a few hours, mindlessly scrolling through posts and pictures and stories. I eat. I turn on Netflix. I drool. And then I go back to bed, having never fully awakened.Days, weeks and even months have passed with me barely being aware. Oh sure I have my moments of awareness, but lately I have been coasting along without much purpose.And so, with 365 days ahead of me in my new year, I have pledged to cut the crap and get busy living a full, awakened life. I will turn off the devices and turn on my excitement. And I will fill my moments with simple being-ness, instead of compulsively shoving mind numbing pixels into my brain cells.
Life is for living. This year I intend to step things up a notch. No more sitting on the side lines for me. I will take this ordinary life, and make it as extraordinary as I can.
Who’s with me?