I used to think that I was highly ambitious. That my thirst for ‘more’ – more material things, more work, more approval, more love, more food, more social connections, more hobbies – was merely a reflection of my inherent need for variety, my deep, internal drive to save the world and my deeply ambitious nature.
What I couldn’t know then – but what I’m aware of now – is that my carefully constructed narrative portraying a woman who wanted ‘more’ from life, was actually hiding a big old painful truth. That my desire for more was actually because I felt I was not, and did not have, enough.
Through mindfulness, I have begun the careful deconstructing of the prison that was my attachment to more, and started carefully putting back together a puzzle that is not fixed, but constantly changing and fluid. Held together by broad themes that I know in my whole body, mind and soul to be true for me.
Through noticing, I have begun to rewire my brain – not to chase more, but to relish and accept what already is. Not to see holes that need filling with doing, objects or vices, but to see feelings that need expression. Not to see space as a threat, but as a beautiful opportunity to be filled with any number of glorious things, or simply to be treasured to fill with nothing at all.
I’ve started learning to not look at my friends’ holidays on instagram with envy but to smile at their fortune and know that here, in my little part of the world, I am constructing my version of a fulfilled life too. I’ve become less fixated on having one profession or harbouring ridiculous hobbies that I think will make me cool, and more OK with understanding that I am already living life according to my values – and what I choose to spend time on right now, I know must be right at a deeper level. In this way I have come to see all the little quirks that fill up my days AS my hobbies – and come to understand that one of my greatest ‘hobbies’ is experimenting, reading and learning about what makes women well and fulfilled on that deep, soul level.
I’ve started seeing my relationships not in what they don’t give me, but in all the ways that they support me. And I’ve noticed that even the hardest of relationships are constantly, in so many ways, supporting me to learn and grow and expand. I’ve started enjoying the process of creation rather than being solely focused on the fruits of my labour – and in this way I have allowed a new version of creative flow to enter my life and business. I’ve learned to love the process of building something, layering something, being in the ‘during’ phase of things. Delayed gratification – what a gift. I’ve stopped focusing on attracting new clients, and come back to truly nurturing and serving those that I have.
I’ve started to change the way I talk to myself too – what was once harsh, critical, biting language has turned into a softer, more compassionate tone. Forgiveness – given a little space – has spread through my body like sand through an hourglass.
I’ve started allowing things to nourish me. Instead of already looking beyond, to the next time, I am learning to notice the little things. The simple things. Our glorification of weekend mini-breaks to the country with few creature comforts speaks to a greater psychology around our need for contrast, for simplicity. I notice how that first coffee or strong earl grey tea tastes in my mouth. I notice how my daughter looks at me for reassurance at the park – I am right there in the moment with her. I notice the changes of the seasons – day by day I see the way the moon changes and the trees grow and the veggies in my garden drip with morning frost.
I notice too my shadow side. I see the feelings arise, witness my discomfort and watch as I express my reaction to those feelings – seeing anger pour out of me or watching my body racked with overwhelmed tears. I see that ‘I want something’ anxiety rise in me when the cold weather starts to set in. I see my guilt – my suffering when life isn’t aligning with how my ego wants it to be. I see the power struggle. And I see how long I leave it until I surrender. I see my judgement and unkindness to others. My sometimes urgent and desperate need to be loved and to belong. And I see the expectations I put on myself in all their conditional glory. I allow it all. Because I am human too and mindful compassion does not teach us how not to suffer, but to witness and accept ourselves exactly where we are.
All this change, simply born from an intention to notice. It has not been through ‘doing’ that I have changed, but rather through learning not to do. In fact, one might argue whether I have, in fact, changed at all.
Maybe I have simply changed my lens to see what was there all along.
Do you want to join me on a three month mindfulness coaching program? Love Yourself Well is launching June 24 and I’d love you to join the community of women searching for more fulfilment, wellbeing and energy. With weekly audio lectures, workbooks and meditations as well as group coaching calls, this program brings together heaps of wisdom on stress, fatigue, body image, purpose, mindfulness, compassion, connection and play. It’s your invitation to learn what truly lights up your body, mind and soul, so you can start aligning your outer world with your inner one. Click here to join the VIP list and receive your early bird discount and epic bonus.