Hence, we don’t succeed in the same way, at the same time.
Hence, not everyone appreciates the same view.
Once you stop to breathe and unload – all the creative solutions and all the help that you need arise to the surface like magic.
I have a tendency to burn myself out, and I believe anybody who cares enough about something has a tendency to lose herself/himself in it. I have such a huge propensity towards burning out that I have been clinically depressed once because of it.
I’ve learned about self-care since then, but time and time again, I still struggle with remembering and/or finding new approaches on how not to go there again. Lately I found myself more stressed out than usual, not yet to the brink of burn-out but, my self-awareness has enabled me to spot the early signs. I didn’t know what to do; I didn’t know how to keep myself from going into that familiar downward spiral.
Until I made the decision to hit “Pause”. Until I decided to take a full day’s rest.
I took a nap. I spent my time on play and creativity, meaning, doing things that free my mind and nourish my spirit. I set the intention to put my to-dos backstage. I knew they could wait. I knew my well-being mattered more.
That one day of rest did serve me and the people I care about. My 2-week old cough subsided. I spent quality time with my family (including my pets of course!) again. I finally got to enjoy my alone time again. I felt satisfied. My weekend has been full and energizing.
I was also in a better mood when I got back to work. I didn’t feel the usual tendency to push myself to do more and cramp as many things as possible in one day. Instead, I intentionally identified my priorities. I structured my tasks in a way that won’t end up depleting my energy and creativity.
There are many articles and books dedicated on how to avoid and how to recover from burn-out due to work and any other demanding aspect of life. But based on my personal experiences, none of those would make a difference if we don’t take the action that matters the most – that is, to hit “Pause” to breathe, to unload, to intentionally meet our own needs, to honor our own pace. Again, creative solutions and all the help that we need arise to the surface once we do. I hope that you find the strength and courage to hit “Pause”, too. ❤
We can strive to have what we’ve conceptualized as “work-life balance” or we can raise the bar in choosing which causes, career opportunities, activities and relationships to engage with. Then limiting the time we allot to work becomes secondary since the things we choose to invest on are in alignment with what nourishes us and the things and relationships that matter to us.
“How can I feel more in control of my days? How can I feel like my days – including weekdays – are mine again? How can I bring back my regular everyday bliss from when I still had full control of my schedule?”
This morning when I woke up, I got my answer.
It’s to make more time for Play. By play, I mean, it could be anything at all that we simply do because it’s fun and it allows us to be creative. It lets our mind wander and expand. For one person it could be spending time with animals, for another it could be working out in the gym – for me, it’s thinking on a blank sheet – it’s both drawing and writing, although I tend to write more often these days.
Today since I woke up 30 minutes earlier than usual, I started taking my power back. I started writing at 5 am – before I proceed with my usual daily grind.
Ironic because what playing actually offers us is the space to lose control – yet it’s also the very thing that makes us feel more in control of our life.
Perhaps after all this time we are just spiritual kids inside us. We just want to explore, create and have
some a lot of fun!
Even before I started writing this piece, just the thought of writing already lifted my spirits up.
I started feeling more hopeful about my day, knowing that it’s not just another day to spend living for other people’s dreams and fulfillment.
In fact, it’s mine – I create it – just like all the days past and all the days to come. Everything else in my life is just there to support me in living life the way I want to – including my day job (and not the other way around).
I used to think that the only way I could fully live a spiritual life and be in an ecosystem of inspiring one another was by somehow working in the healing/intuitive arts. Lately though, probably as part of my spiritual progression, I’ve learned that –
1. If that is true, then that is very limiting. Not everyone is in or even comes close to the vicinity of healing/intuitive arts. How can we reach those/everybody if we just stay there? I don’t think the Universe is designed to be that way. If anything, we should spread out, expand ourselves, immerse ourselves in unfamiliar situations, engage with people who are different from us in some ways. In the process, learn, grow, be more integrated.
2. We are, by default, living spiritual lives because we are spiritual/energetic beings having a physical experience. We CANNOT NOT be spiritual.
3. Where else is best to live this so called full spiritual life other than where we already are doing what we already do?
Now I think that the goal is actually not to be a healer/a guide/a mentor/or just a spiritual person by profession or by being validated by a particular organization or institution, but to be all these things and so much more simply by choosing to embrace our truest self, our essence – which is love and light – and to show up in the world everyday embodying these where we are and with whoever we interact with.
We have all been touched by “common” people in profound ways;
be it a hairstylist who has shown us great love and compassion when we’re heartbroken, a stranger in the bus who radiated joy and kindness when we felt hopeless towards life, a family member who offered us advice we needed at that time, a colleague who we never thought of as a friend but who suddenly got our back during one of our personal storms, a deceased artist whose works have inspired us to take risks and go for our dreams.
To others, we have played these roles, too, without us knowing about it. We’ll never fully know the mark we leave on each other.
We gotta check in with ourselves. If our inquiry and path naturally leads us to the healing/intuitive arts then great and that will surely benefit all of us. If not, we must have the faith that probably where we are right now is where we can best grow and be of service to others.
I caught myself singing this line over and over again this morning. I didn’t even know what song it was or if it even existed to begin with (eventually I googled and found out there’s an actual song by Journey).
I’ve been getting really fired up in finding out the reason why I feel as if I am being redirected to a particular career path. I’ve not only been stressing myself over the reason but also on how to set goals for myself this time so as not to squander this opportunity and all the abundance it will bring. To my dismay, I couldn’t get the answer despite my efforts to “open” myself to it. All I felt was uncertainty – and panic.
This line of the song just answered the puzzle for me. It’s not unusual for me to get guidance from songs I randomly sing. It’s one of my subconscious’ ways of answering my questions. It made me realize that the reason why I couldn’t seem to answer my questions was because the questions themselves were not suitable for me.
I’ve been imposing on myself a particular approach that I’ve seen on others which may or may not have worked for them – having a list of goals they want to accomplish and coming up with a plan on how to achieve them. Pretty straight forward, a mainstream way of going about life.
I, on the other hand, do not subscribe to this approach at this point in my life. I did in the past and maybe I’ll do it again someday. But right now, what I truly feel is the most authentic way for me to live is to be present from moment to moment. What I’ll do next depends on what I am inspired to do in the next moment. I’ll figure it out as long as I am able to fully ground myself in the present. What I’ll do in each moment will have an impact – short term or long term, I won’t even know, but it will surely take me on a certain direction. It will surely lead me to accomplish things, to grow in a certain way, to create, to materialize things I desire, to make an impact bigger than my singular life.
In this approach, I don’t need to know all the details and I don’t need to come up with a list of goals to live a full life. In this approach, my dynamic list of values and principles is enough. My life will unfold on its own beautiful and unique way.
Any way we want to live our lives, that’s the way we need it – and that’s definitely the way to do it. It will continuously evolve so we must remain open to it.
This answer has brought peace to my heart. In case you’re bothered, I hope you find clarity and peace to yours, too. 🙂
a.) A place where I can thrive. Somewhere I can be authentic. Where I can express my natural gifts and fulfill my purpose everyday. Where I am supported and valued for who I am and where I can give back in ways that nourish me, too.
b.) Living consciously from the inside-out. Embracing my sensitivity, which means not being the first person (nor the last) to censor my vulnerability, rather use it as my well of wisdom which it actually is after all. Letting my heart finally lead the way I live – the things and people I surround myself with, how I spend my time and which paths I take.
c.) Letting my inner child live through who I am and who I am becoming – all creativity, imagination, playtime, silliness and just being absolutely uninhibited.
I have read countless articles and watched videos on finding my life purpose. I’ve taken notes of some questions that might help and answered them as best as I can. I’ve done my best many times to follow through the tips I got from various writers and life coaches. Not all of the tips and questions worked for me. Each of us go through our unique journey and what have worked for some may not work for others.
Here is my version of that list of tips/questions. These have been working well for me – so far. 😀 Hope this helps.
1. What excites you?
This would probably be the most cliche of all my points. I think it helps because it serves us a warm-up. Asking yourself this question is like testing the waters. Scan your past experiences and look for clues to your behavior.
In which situations were you mostly present – engaged? What brings out your creative ideas? What makes you come out of your shell and participate? What do you look forward to? If it’s up to you, how do you usually spend your time?
There should be a sense being pulled into a certain direction – which is different from the sensation of being pushed.
When we feel pulled into something, it feels light and a nudge is enough to get us in. A push is on the opposite end of the pole. It’s mostly about things we/others think we have to like/do. There is no chemistry. There is no sense of curiosity, fun nor adventure. We may be good at these things but they don’t give us joy or it could also be that we are getting more stress than fun from them. Observe yourself and pay attention to that “pull”.
2. What drives you to be a better version of yourself?
Which types of information are you personally hungry for? What encourages you to stretch your limits and go beyond your comfort zone? What motivates you to learn and grow? In which areas do you want to be better at?
If it’s up to you, what kinds of books/films/TV shows do you usually read/watch? Which kinds of feedback/rewards are the most fulfilling for you? Which topics do you like talking about?
3. What burns you out? What irritates you? What brings out the “hulk” in you?
The things that trip us off can also give us clues to our calling.
I believe that life purpose is not only about the things we naturally like or the things we are good at. In our purpose lies the things we are mostly struggling with as well – because they contain the life lessons we need to learn and integrate in ourselves at this point in our spiritual evolution.
Do rigid schedules burn you out? Do you have little tolerance for authoritative bosses? Do you dread having to speak with customers? Does wearing a corporate attire make you feel confident? Do you look forward to frequent business travels?
Look back into your past jobs, relationships, travels and past time activities. Eventually you’ll see a pattern there. Connect the dots to see the bigger picture.
4. How would you like to serve and make the world a better place?
It sounds cheesy, I know. But I believe that inside all of us lies the desire and need to be relevant and to fulfill our place in the world. The process of satisfying our purpose can only be completed once we have served a need that is higher than us.
We don’t even need to stress about it and squeeze ourselves into cookie-cutter careers in the name of service. If we’re already doing the thing that brings us joy and helps us grow – for sure we’re already serving/fulfilling a need in our own unique way.
Our passion acts as an invitation for us to participate in world-creation and advancement.
We just have to keep on engaging with it and follow its guidance on what to do next or which way to go.
5. What are you curious about?
This would be the last item on my least because a.) It may not help but may only confuse most people and b.) I would use this technique in either a more practical setting (e.g. if you’re thinking of shifting your career path) or if you wish bring some zest back into your life (e.g. discovering a new field of interest).
My career journey is partly about following my curiosity. I’ve changed my path a few times to the point that it feels like I have lived many lives in just one lifetime (and I am only in my 3rd decade). There is no harm to it if you maintain your focus and pursue just one thing (or a couple of things) at a time. This is to make sure that you go through the entire process until you reach its natural conclusion. By this time for sure you’d have learned something meaningful about yourself and the nature of life. You also get better at new things.
Following your curiosity can be tricky because it’s subtle and it leads you to a path of uncertainty. It would be easier if you just take your pick in the beginning and follow it down the road, right? Following your curiosity is the opposite.
It’s not composed of one straight road but of a series of road each branching out in multiple directions again and again. Following this path would require you to make pivotal decisions every now and then. It means that you have to keep your faith and guts and be more self-aware as you move along.
Curiosity also speaks to us in a whisper or even just a nudge. It almost never grabs us by the hand or shouts into our ear, commanding us to check something out. It’s subtle like our spirit – subtle but solid.
Try this technique. Pay attention to this nudge and follow its guidance. It may lead you closer to that
pot path of fulfillment.
I would love to know as well what has worked for you when it comes to finding you life purpose. 🙂
What we don’t see are the innumerable hours they’ve spent practicing – and failing. Failing hard. Failing and taking the real blows. The rest of us only witness the glorious outcomes.
I want to make a virtual toast to those hours spent – grinding it out, pulling ourselves together, pushing ourselves forward, standing tall, trying and trying until we get it right – until we get better.
Those are the holiest hours. We are transformed during those moments.
We’re all being chiseled in the fire. We must relish those moments, too, for we won’t be able to handle the successes in store for us, without first becoming the person this process is gonna turn us into.
I have recently decided to go back in the process of identifying what I really liked to do; what gives me fulfillment and meaning.
While the cliche, “follow your passion” has probably helped many people, finding what that passion is to begin with is a rocky road journey in itself.
Many of us are in this rocky road for years, and I have been in mine for decades. This (soon-to-be-over) decade of my life has been shaped by countless crazy twists and turns in my path, simply because I didn’t know what kind of work I would be genuinely happy with. It was not completely bad after all, though; I’ve experienced various kinds of work situations and have acquired many transferable skills. But while these jobs got me interested in the beginning, I was never really happy. I never really valued what I was doing. I knew I could do my jobs well but they didn’t matter to me on a personal level. That’s the reason why I could leave them easily and move on from one job to the next.
As I was watching a video of Serena Dyer being interviewed on YouTube talking about how she started to find her passion, I had a “eureka moment”. While Serena effortlessly identified that she loved telling stories, I also candidly realized that I liked comforting other people.
And that was it.
I felt like something clicked inside me and little fairy dusts came out after: COMFORTING PEOPLE. COMFORTING. COMFORT.
The feeling was not like an explosion. It felt more like release.
Then more realizations, more confirmations came to me in retrospect. Two situations stood out:
1. I remember when I volunteered at a local daycare center on the first day of class, when of course, most kids usually cry the entire time. I naturally assumed the role of comforting them and stopping them from crying since the teacher’s hands were already full. Surprisingly, I did it so well and so effortlessly that even my mom was impressed (she was with my youngest brother attending the class as well). I remember how I felt while I was doing it. I felt light and I was having fun. I liked seeing their sad and anxious faces break into smiles and even laughter.
2.One day as my partner and I were lying in our bed, I randomly posed a question: If you would want to try out a job just because you’re curious about it and at the same time you think you would like it as well, what would that job be? My partner said that he would like to produce TV commercials, while I said that I would like any of those jobs where I would be able to comfort women in very private situations like hair waxing, hair cutting and styling, cosmetic surgeries and the likes.
I have always found comfort in strangers during those kinds of situations. It’s not a small thing to entrust your well-being and health to someone you really don’t know (having your bikini-line waxed by a complete stranger? really no small deal!) The mere fact that they can put me at ease and treat me so well were such a huge thing for me. There was even a time when a hairstylist’s assistant was oblivious to the fact that she’s just comforted me during that difficult time when I was going through a recent breakup. She simply talked to me about the usual mundane things and held my hair gently – but it made me felt loved and taken care of. A little act of kindness goes a long way especially for people who feel vulnerable.
Looking back, I don’t think I would have been able to identify this because I have always had many other points of interests. But they don’t really last. They don’t really nourish my spirit.
I believe that each of us would only find genuine soul-level fulfillment in doing something in the service of others. The good feelings they will get because of what we do will reflect on us and in turn, feed our spirit. Everybody wins. Everybody gets served.
I feel more confident now to move forward in my path. I’m gonna use this realization as my compass in finding the right career.
How about you? What’s your story? How were you able to identify what will bring you fulfillment in life?