"I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart. I am, I am, I am. " ~ Sylvia Plath
Have you ever had the opportunity to be an observer in your life? While I was recovering from surgery, I spent three months just observing. I gained such clarity about what was important in my life. Just getting up, getting showered and into a chair for meals was a big deal and a huge accomplishment for the day. I savored my warm shower, clean pajamas, and every meal so lovingly prepared. I felt nourished, comforted and grateful to be alive.
Stepping out of my daily routine allowed me to see that the essence of life isn't in the busyness of doing, or in the titles or degrees we hold, or the balance of our checking accounts. All of our life, our experiences and relationships are important and worth so much more. The funny thing is that when you are faced with a crisis, your life quickly and without reservation becomes the priority. Work becomes secondary. Unfortunately, many of us in this culture have made our work our priority and the rest of our lives have taken a back seat. It’s not until we are faced with losing a job, illness, or loss of an important relationship that we realize that we have nothing to fall back on. Our relationships with friends and partners may have become brief exchanges. We don't have time for developing personal interests and hobbies, or when we do, we have no energy left. The most important relationship, the one with ourselves, may be almost non-existent. The thought of sitting alone for one hour send many, including me at one time, into a state of panic. When you let the nonessentials fall away from your life, you are then faced with you. It can be frightening if you haven't spent the time getting to know yourself.
Many of us have also lost our inner voice from years of stuffing things down, not wanting to say anything to upset anyone and always trying to please. These years of stuffing and putting the lid on things can leave us disconnected and out-of-balance. Like a pot left unattended, it eventually boils over and leaves a mess to clean up.
One of the ways that I have found to develop this relationship with myself is by keeping a journal. I've kept one for many years. I recommend that if you don't already keep one that you give it a try. Get to know yourself by writing in your journal everyday. Write about the things that you observe in your life. If your inner critic starts chatting away about how you can't write, then give voice to your critic. Let it say whatever it has to say. It will finally run out of things and you will then move in another direction. You may be amazed at the quality, the sound, and the strength of your own voice.
What the world needs now is for each of us to be who we truly are and to bring our gifts into the world. Don't hold back any longer. Be Present, Be You. That is enough. Really it is.
Nancy Bishop is a life coach, writer and speaker. She coaches women at midlife want to live more authentic lives. Her personal story of overcoming adversity was recently published in and anthology, “Recovering Your Lost Self from Adversity. " She publishes a free monthly newsletter. For more information visit her website at http://www.yourlifeyourway.com