Are you really living?
I love this photo from an excursion I did early last fall with the exquisite Jennifer Alyse. Spending just an hour with Jennifer demonstrated for me what it means to bring yourself fully to life. The way she looks at everything is like she's looking at a miracle. Not just in awe, but in admiration and gratitude. In this way, everything is always new and everything is always a choice.
We got to this spot above, Sparks Lake, just as the sun was about to set. It was very cold, but so....quiet. There were two deer crossing the lake and birds singing goodnight as the sun bowed to Mt. Bachelor. And only us to witness it -- but that scene didn't need us to see it for it to be fully alive. In this moment I felt reverence and deep respect.
Are you waiting for someone to see you come fully alive before you do? Are you waiting for someone to grant you permission to be totally who you are meant to be? Last year was a practice in moving from looking for someone to graduate me into my life to me deciding that to wait any longer was simply too painful.
But it wasn't a leap of faith I leaned into; it was more of a very quiet practice in trusting myself more and more. It wasn't a big moment or a radical experience that shook me loose of looking for proof that I could fully be ME before I was. It became a practice in choosing the things I was called to, and not looking for approval for those around me.
I read books that called to me. I meditated on themes I was curious about. I said no to clients and yes to clients for no reason other than how it made me feel to work with them. And I invested in myself with some powerful teachers I never dreamed could be on my side.
To come fully alive is a practice in allowance and faith that you are more ready than you think you are to be living (or believing) the life you crave.
As a human being myself I can relate to that "stuckness" you feel when you just know in your bones you are not totally honoring your truth or speaking up for your life. It's almost too difficult for words because it's a visceral feeling. A sticky fear that you can see what's possible but not...quite...touch it.
What if you did? Where might you begin? What risk are you avoiding that you might consider taking? When I work with any client or student, this becomes the work: not just defining what would bring you to life, but also what would help you see yourself in a new and more accurate light that says, "That life I see is already available to me." We move from waiting to living and practicing. There's no right time. Space will not magically grant itself to you. Space appears when you show up and CHOOSE your life.
Even now as we can't get home I am not lamenting the ice or the fact that our plans have been derailed. I get to spend this stormy day writing these words, doing yoga, walking the dog, making tacos, and drinking wine. I GET to practice my joy. As far as I am concerned, this is the only decision. To decide to choose more joy, or less.
That joy may ride on taking a risk like leaving a career or standing up for something you believe in. But when the thing you're leaning into brings you congruency with yourself and with your soul, then you land in joy.
Joy may ride in on fear at first. Fear of what others will think and fear of having to explain yourself. But this can also lead to freedom. And what is more joyful than complete freedom? So, then, what makes you come fully alive? And oh, how I wish you would not only make your life a dedication to answering this question but living this question. It's not something you choose once but many times. Daily, really.
So quit your job. Build your business. Write your book. Move to the farm. Sell everything you own. Practice kindness. Travel to India. Whatever calls to you is already a part of you. And only you can hear that call. I promise whatever you have to lose, you're meant to lose and experience that loss. Because it gets to be filled up with LIFE.
Beautiful, messy, uncertain, playful, full, unpredictable, and miraculous life.