A few years ago I came across an article which really made me stop and think. I was busily getting on with being, well, busy and all of a sudden it was as if someone had hit the pause button and my life flashed before my eyes. I slowly read the statements over in my mind.
“I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” Oooof I felt that.
“I wish I hadn't worked so much.” Hmmm, yes I related to that too… are we really here to go to school, work, and then die?! It seemed like a rather sorry existence in that moment.
“I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.” Oh God yes, not only express them but feel them I thought. The numbness is real and like a barrier between me and life. If only I knew how….?
“I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.” That was painful. I was terrible at keeping in touch and I knew it.
And the real kicker? “I wish that I had let myself be happier.” UGH….
That was a real sucker punch in the guts. Why was I waiting for ‘one day when’ to be happy? What was that all about? As I sat shocked and dazed by what these simple statements had revealed to me, I knew something needed to change.
Where do you think you're going?
Five short sentences had summed up what should be glaringly obvious to all of us. But it’s not. We’re so busy being busy that we hardly stop to think about where we’re going. We are just….. going. Somewhere. Anywhere. Anywhere but here with myself, my thoughts and my dream
Instead, keeping busy and distracted and ‘getting things done’ and ‘building careers’ and so on. We just ‘Keep On Keeping On’ as Curtis Mayfield once sang. But you know who had life sussed out all this time? The people that are about to die. And why wouldn’t they?! As it turns out they’ve lived their whole lives and figured out where they went wrong. Sadly, by that time, it’s already too late for them.
BUT IT’S NOT TOO LATE FOR YOU.
These statements weren’t just from another personal development tome. They were from a book by Bronnie Ware called ‘The Top 5 Regrets Of The Dying’. And they were right. The dying knew the mistakes they made and were coming to terms with them. In that moment I was getting the same opportunity in my 30’s - with my whole life still ahead of me. What a miraculous blessing.
And yet despite having gained such incredible knowledge, I fell back asleep.
The safety of comfort
The lull of my comfort zone beckoned once more and I succumbed to fitting in, playing by the rules and making everyone else happy. It went on for years until I found myself slowly suffocating in the life I’d created. It was a life but it wasn’t my TRUE life. It was a shiny carbon copy of everyone else life that I knew. It wasn’t actually mine. It fitted me, but truth be told, I didn’t really fit it. I never had, and all the time I’d been conforming my soul got squashed and never saw the light of day. My creativity was dead, my curiosity about the world was nowhere to be seen. I was a shell of the person I was pretending to be. And it hurt like hell.
I reached the point where staying the same was more painful than making a change. It was like I couldn’t breathe anymore and I knew I wanted something different but I didn’t have a clue what. JUST NOT THIS. ANYTHING but this. It was time to create a life true to myself, and not what everybody expected of me. I had to break free.
I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but then anything worth having never is. Part of me had to die in order to be reborn. It was time to get honest with myself and face everything that I’d been running from.
My past. My emotions. My avoidance. My stories.
And the ultimate boss villain at the end of the computer game level, MYSELF.
I invite you to be brave
There's a reason that people avoid the innermost cave. Because it’s scary AF. Once you go in, you won’t be coming out the same. The fear of the unknown is real. But the only way out is through. To patiently pick apart the stories with compassion. To feel the uncomfortable feelings until they unravel themselves. To release what was never yours to carry.
Only when you’ve done that is it possible to dream what you wish to become. You’re so bogged down in webs of stories you don’t know what’s yours and what’s not. Until you’re able to connect deeply with yourself, you’re living someone else dream.
And let me tell you, you’ll never be happy there because it’s wasn’t yours to dream in the first place.
I know life is confusing. That’s the point. If you don’t get lost how will you find your own centre, authentically and for yourself? You won’t.
So don’t be so hard on yourself. You’ve still got time. You see… You’re just one decision away from a totally different life. One where you COME TO LIFE. Are you ready?
Take the leap, I promise it will be the best decision you ever make.
Breathe the change you wish to see in the world.