Why do so many of us spend so much of our lives looking externally for fulfilment and satisfaction? Why do we wait for an amazing human to come along to make our lives amazing? In truth, the only human who should ever be responsible or capable of making our lives amazing is us.
We are the most significant, important and potentially life-changing person we will ever meet. So why do so many of us choose not to?
Why is it that one of the biggest things we often fear is spending time alone with ourselves? We live in fear of turning off the noise of the rest of the world and avoid ourselves at all costs.
I know this because I spent a LONG time avoiding me. At least a decade, if not two, because I would definitely count my teenage years within that.
What did I think would be so terrible about me? Why did it take me so long to stop and find out?
Honestly? I don’t have the answer. I know there are a million roads that lead to a low self-esteem, a million ways that we become disconnected, and even more ways for us to continue to do so.
And we do. Well many of us do or have done, choosing a life of disconnection and a pattern of behaviour that supports that.
I have been working on deepening my connection to myself over the past few years and getting rid of the things that disconnected me. Everyone is different, and your poisons may well be different to mine, but mine included:
- Turning off the ‘white noise’ six years ago, by stopping watching TV, reading magazines and newspapers. I had supported my former toxic existence by filling my brain with so much stuff I never allowed myself space to think or breathe.
- Stopping consuming any kind of mind altering substance. I gave up all forms of stimulants four years ago and I have never looked back. I never enjoyed the effect of alcohol, but for a long time I persuaded myself I did. Caffeine though was my biggest nemesis, continually elevating my heart rate and meaning I had no real sense of when I was tired. Giving up all of those things has been huge.
After establishing these foundations, a bit like building blocks, I have existed happily enough for the past few years. I started mediating regularly and attend a regular group session with Sara Williams at her Spherical Living practice. I use the gentle breath meditation at home and use the same method when moving through life.
Sometimes I felt connected, but at times still disconnected and overwhelmed by life, feeling heightened emotion much of the time – even if that emotion was mostly pure, giddy, unadulterated joy. I somehow couldn’t get past this temporary connection – which in many respects was better of course than having no connection at all.
But recently I had a breakthrough. It may sound small to some of you, but to me it’s been huge.
I turned off the music.
That is, I stopped listening to music in earphones whilst I move about the world COMPLETELY. Around a year ago, I wrote about doing this some of the time – at times when I was feeling particularly disconnected – until two months ago, when I gave it up altogether.
The results have been incredibly profound for me. If you are anything like me when it comes to music, you will know how it feels to be utterly captivated by it, and for it to be the thing that propels you forward. It could make me feel happier, or sadder – energetic or lethargic. It was my drug.
What made me decide to change? I became more aware of the quality with which I walk through the world via my group meditation sessions with Sara Williams, where we explored the energy we share with one another, and how much the quality that we are living in can impact those around us. I realised that by ‘checking out’ with my music, I was removing myself from potential interactions with the rest of the world. So that became my reason to investigate turning it off, to connect with and support others. What I hadn’t realised was the impact it would have on me: I became connected to myself.
When I am connected is when I truly shine. I am calm, confident and collected. It didn’t occur to me that this could be a steady state of being. I’m not becoming someone else. I’m merely embracing the person I have always been and allowing her to unfurl, unlocking what’s been within me all along. I’ve also discovered ‘she’ is someone I love to be around.
My work on this continues, but now it doesn’t even occur to me to attempt to listen to music as I move around the world. To do so actually would feel like I cheating on myself somehow, robbing myself of an important moment of connection, of time with me.
It’s worth considering what some of the things might be that you use to take ‘you’ away from ‘you’. What is your poison? And in doing so, be prepared to lose one (and perhaps discover you need to lose a few more like I did) but do so in your own sweet time and at your own pace. We are all completely unique and brilliantly different after all.
I can’t emphasise enough how much of a positive impact we can have on the world around us, just by being who we truly are. The more of us that let our light shine, the more we will inspire others to do the same. When we support one another, that’s when we can all truly rise.
Trust me, you are amazing. You will be the best person you have ever hung out with, I promise.
(Disclaimer: I DO still listen to music at home and when out and about. I just dance through the world peacefully as I travel around, and to my own beat.)