Life, be it the life within you or life around you, is speaking to you all the time. If we want to hear what it has to tell us, we just need to pay attention to the things going on outside of us, and to inquire into what’s going on within ourselves.
One of the messages that life can relay to us is the message of letting us know that it’s time for a change. Below, I’ve listed one example of how the externalities of our life may be forcing a change (particularly where we’ve stalled on our mission on our mission in life!), and one example of how the life breathing within us is asking us to change.
- Life is forcing you out of situations by uprooting major parts of your life
Although we can do our best to control our circumstances, sometimes s-h-i-t happens. Before we can dance is the summer of our lives, there can be a winter period where all major aspects get shaken up and uprooted. For instance, you may spontaneously lose your job, experience the loss of an important figure in your life, go through a profound struggle with your health, or wake up to a major issue with your current home that forces you to move. When major parts of your life start to get uprooted, especially all at once, this can be a sign that life is removing once familiar aspects of your life to make way for the new.
A disruption to major parts of your life can be a challenging, scary, and unsettling experience. However, a wise artist by the name of Picasso once said “every act of creation was first an act of destruction”. Your life, seemingly in destruction, is also the point of a brand new creation. Although it may be tempting to fixate and focus on how unfair the situation is, be brave and choose to focus on and visualise the new which want to build now that the old is being swept away.
And be honest with yourself. Did you enjoy your now crumbling former life? If there If there was a seething, underlying discontentment in your life prior to these events and/or you felt disconnected from your true self and hence, your purpose (which I believe is to be the full expression of yourself in this world), this is your chance to build a life aligned with who you really are. Doing some self inquiry and getting to know who you really are will put you in touch with your purpose. Build the new from that place.
- You are running a pattern that is hurting you
Do you ever notice that some situations, behaviors, habits, or relationships leave you uplifted while others leave you feeling depleted or terrible about yourself?
For instance, you may have a pattern of choosing emotionally unavailable men or women to date, and find yourself contintuously hurt and disheartened by your romatic choices.
Or you may give into drinking and staying out late every weekend, even though you know you know you need the rest, would rather workout the next day, or simply can’t handle the physical effects of being hungover.
Or you may impusively say yes to everything, only to end up resentful and overscheduled.
Or, you may give to others indiscriminately and in excess, without assessing whether the give-take in the relationship is equal, only to end up resentful and feeling not good enough.
If there is a “hangover” effect to a repetitive behavior or pattern, then that is your inner life telling you that you’re hurting yourself. That is the point of power, and at that point, you should ask yourself if you want to keep hurting yourself in this way. Sometimes it may take a few rounds for us to fully comprehend that a certain behavior, situation or circumstance is hurting us, and that’s ok. However, once we realise it, it’s important to respect ourselves by consciously choosing to not hurt ourselves.
One helpful tip is to write a list of all the ways in which you feel AFTER you engage in the behavior, and to keep this list with you. Be detailed, and make it clear on the list that this was written directly after engaging in this behaviour.
For example, let’s say Sally and Bob are friends (great names btw, very original lol). Sally routinely invites Bob over, and often has dinner or snacks ready. Bob is affectionate, but distant in his communication when Sally and Bob are apart. Sally often finds herself reaching out to Bob, and routinely receives late responses. Sally is starting to feel that she is not appreciated by Bob and that he only reaches out to her when its convenient for him. One day, Sally invites Bob over and cooks him a fabulous dinner and ends the evening with homemade brownies (obvi, Sally is a bomb ass chick). Sally and Bob have a great evening together, but when Bob leaves, Sally feels terrible the rest of the night and for most of the next day. She feels used and taken for granted, despite having communicated her feelings to Bob in the past.
It is clear in this situation that Sally has a pattern with Bob (and likely others) of over giving without assessing whether she is receiving her worth in return. Having communicated her feelings to Bob and now seeing no change in his behaviour, Sally wants to change her behaviour so that she learns to receive first before over giving from a place of hoping to be loved back in proportion to what she gives. Sally pulls out a piece of paper and writes a heading “How I Feel After I Over Give to Bob”. She writes a list of the ways she feels after feeding the impulse to give. She ends the list with “Please read anything you feel urged to give; wait for him to give first from now on” .
A few days later, Sally feels a tugging at her to reach out to Bob and to give to him by way of her attention, fully knowing that he will be distant and dismissive. Before reaching out to him, Sally pulls out her list and reads it. She stops herself in her tracks, and effectively listens to the life within her asking her to stop hurting herself. Good job, Sally.
Anytime you feel tempted to stray off your desired path of change, read your list. This list, ripe with the memories of the “hangover” will act as a “sober second thought” before you go down on the path of hurting yourself again. This is one way of making it clear to yourself that the pay-off of engaging in these behaviors, circumstances, or habits is no longer worth the cost. Putting pen to paper, we are more apt to heed the call of our inner life when it is there in your own words on paper.
I hope you enjoyed these two examples. I know Sally did. There are likely many more examples where your inner or outer life is begging for change, and I encourage you to look at your own life and ask yourself how your inner or outer life may be siginalling to you that its time to change things up.