Be Your Own Sunshine and Make Your Own Rules – The Beginning of the Journey

Forest bathing

I don’t know about you guys, but I have found these last few weeks have been a time for radical self-reflection and stark moments of clarity.  These moments were not the result of a conscious decision to tune in see what’s what in that noggin’ of mine; rather, it was as though something had been tapping on the front door to my brain and then, after I’d been blithely unaware of it for too long, started hammering away to get my attention.

Over the last few weeks I have felt emotional, tired and mentally foggy; in short, even day-to-day functioning seemed a struggle. I don’t know why – maybe it was mercury retrograde, maybe it was hormones, or work stress.  I think it was all these things and more: the global energetic shift happening across the planet and within all of us. I have felt very delicate, and yet had to confront some very difficult things.  But, the result of all that was seeing aspects of my life more clearly.

For example, whilst I thought I was the one who was truly in charge of running my life, it turns out I haven’t been quite as empowered as I thought I was. Guilt still directs a lot of my actions, and a lack of self-worth is still all-too-pervasive. Perfectionism controls more aspects of my life than I ever realised, and buried beneath it all is an ideology that if I’m not struggling at something then I’m not putting enough effort in. Naturally, this made me question a whole lot and it will take me time to discover where all this came from and then heal these imbalances.

One big question that I (and most of the population it seems!) have been wrestling with for a while is not just ‘how do I create the life I want?’ but ‘what is the life that I want?’.  We are all starting to strain against the bonds that our over-materialistic culture has put on us.  I think we are all starting to realise that whilst we want (and deserve) a comfortable and secure life, the pursuit of money – and all the things we are told we need to buy with it – simply doesn’t do it for us any more.  Anxiety and depression are rife in our modern culture, and while there are many contributing factors to that, I think it is fair to say that we are becoming overworked, burned out and famished in our souls.

I was considering why I felt the need to struggle (like there is something heroic about slaving away) when this idea flashed into my mind: we are taught, from childhood, to accept that being stressed, working too hard, not enjoying our jobs and always being on the go for minimal reward is normal.  “That’s just life” is a phrase I’ve heard, and repeated, many times in my life.

Consider for a moment the structure of our work week: 5 days of work and 2 days of ‘rest’.  Our whole lives are structured around the idea that you have to work more than you play.  It is ingrained in us.  Look at how ‘beach bums’ and ‘hippies’ are generally regarded: those people who prioritise fun are thought of as lazy, inadequate and unrealistic.  But, why?  Deep down, all of us would LOVE to spend our lives engaging in minimal labour and maximum fun.  Perhaps the criticism comes from jealousy and resentment; yet, the choice is ours to opt in or out of this capitalist Western society.  Most of us subscribe to it because we don’t know what else to do, or we see the glimmer of a better life on the horizon but we don’t know how to reach it.

Personally, I would love to spend my days hiking, exploring, taking photographs and then writing all about my adventures (both external and internal).  The ‘rational’ part of me argues that this is a flight of fancy, not rooted in realism.  But, I know deep down that there is a way to make this happen, and that it is totally right for me to live a life that I find completely enjoyable and nourishing.

define yourself
I love this!

I have got a lot to figure out and it will require me to be bold, brave and willing to go against the grain.  The idea of that is both scary and exhilarating. Now a few years shy of 30, I feel I’m wise enough yet young enough to be bold and shake off those shackles.  I have oft repeated the mantra “life is what you make it”.  Now I really have to mean it.  It is my life, and the only one to define it is me.

“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start”

It is like the Universe is giving those of us who aren’t listening properly a rough shake back to our senses: it disturbs the equilibrium of your life, like a giant boulder in a stagnant lake, but once the undulations cease you can see everything a bit clearer.  And, like the giant boulder which is a new, intrusive presence in the lake, your new insight won’t go away – you can’t ignore it, so your only choice is to act on it, no matter how scary it is to push forward.  Fortunately we are all in this together, so let’s link up and tell me your stories below!  As I figure out my path, I will be sharing my adventure on this blog. It is my sincerest hope that in sharing it, I might help some of you in however small a way.

Lots of love,

Alexandra