Today I am reflecting on my life and how it came to be.
Today is the first day in seven and a half years that I am on my own, during a weekday. My two eldest are back to school and my littlest Elijah has started his little pre-kindy program.
I was a very different person seven and a half years ago. In fact, as I overlook my picket fence to the lake and enjoy the serenity of the trees, I don’t actually think I would recognise my life if I had been transported from then to now.
We all know that Motherhood changes us. That the love for our little people re-shifts priorities, interests, friendships and relationships. It changes our relationship to ourselves as well. Sometimes Motherhood allowing us to bathe in our own magnificence for creating something so perfect and at others it feels like our soul is being torn out of our body and the aliens are invading. Or maybe just some kind of exhausted half-ass alien.
But Motherhood creates a strength. It strips us back to our basics, without the bells and whistles. It forces us to take care of ourselves in ways we never had before and it quite literally pulls our hearts out of our chests and gives it to our beautiful creations, as a gift to take on their journey.
So then what is left? Who are we. Without our role as Mother, Wife, Daughter, Worker, Carer. What do we like to do? What do we want to say?
What do I choose to do with my time? Where will I make the biggest difference?
I went to two yoga classes this morning, with my newly found freedom and now I am sitting at my desk, with my beautiful view to look at, writing my joy and happiness.
I think of my funny, independent, quirky, different, amazing, miraculous children and I feel joy.
I think of my charming, humorous, loyal and adoring husband and I feel joy.
I think of my family, I have been gifted with two amazing ones, who are loyal, kind, generous and supportive and I feel joy.
I think of my friends and all so different but all loyal, fun-loving, do-anything for you kind of people and I feel joy.
I think of who I am and I feel joy.
I think of my life filled with beauty, nature, ocean swims, sunshine and love and I feel grateful.
Maybe you are here with me, today, so intensely grateful for all you have or maybe you are wondering where you took a wrong turn.
If so, I wanted to write down five things that are essential to creating a life you love, so you can have it too.
1. Acknowledging what is truly important
If it is important to you you will priorities it in your life. What you have to make sure is that you are important to you. If you look at how you are spending each day – where are you having fun – where are you feeling joy?
You do have time for the things you want to do if you value yourself enough. You are important. You can get to that gym class (sewing workshop, yoga, painting tutorial etc) if the kids do one less activity this term, or if your husband cooks the dinner one night. You can go out with your girlfriends, get away from the kids and have a date night, go for a lone swim at the beach…. you just need to figure out what is important to you.
There are brave souls out there who have realised that their lifestyle choices such as mortgage, fancy cars, and expensive material possessions were keeping them in a life that was joyless. What happens when they quit it all and follow what is important to them instead of what society has deemed important?
You need to know that your life is your own creation.
I say no a lot.
To nights out when I am swamped. To emails from companies I don’t want to email me. To more things. To added activities for the kids. To playdates when I am exhausted. To the status quo. To things I don’t believe in.
A lot of us fill our lives with the meaningless, the inane, the boring, the over-whelming and then wonder why we have this feeling of dissatisfaction, despite our full lives with material wealth.
Having no down time, no space in the clutter, no time to breathe or even think is detrimental to our mental health.
If you are feeling over-whelmed, weighed down, burdened, unhappy or even a little depressed it’s time to make things more simplistic. What can you dump? Clear out. Stop doing? Say no to?
It will make a difference.
3. Making Sure That You’re Manifesting What You Actually Want
I built a life once based on other people’s perceptions of what it should look like. I followed other’s plans and paths because I didn’t know what I wanted. I never got clear enough on who I was, to know what I did want. There were glimpses of my true self, sure, but it can sometimes feel like an out-of-body experience when you are not living a life you love. You wonder how you got here, you blame others, you make excuses and you feel stuck.
You need to make time for yourself to get clear on who you are and what you want. Follow your bliss, your joys and do things you love. Meditate, turn off your phone, get some space, some silence, some quiet time in your life so you can hear yourself. Because your true self whispers and sometimes she’s hard to hear.
Being grateful for what I have is one of the best things I have other done.
It’s easy to get off path and think other’s have it better. It’s easy to think that you don’t have enough because you always have desire. It’s easy to think that we are not good enough.
However when you focus on gratitude your perception of life starts to change. I am grateful that I can pay that horrendous bill, rather than feeling resentful. I am grateful that the crappy meal I put on the table means that my family have eaten. I am grateful that my sore muscles means that they have given my body the gift of movement.
Everyday there are so many things to be grateful for and I truly believe you cannot love your life if you are not grateful for what you have, right now.
5. Surrendering to a Higher Power
Give your best efforts and surrender the results. No effort on this path goes to waste.
I live for these two sayings. The more I live them the better I feel.
We are creators of our lives, yes but I believe we are co-creators. Life always has a curve-ball to throw at us or a dream that is better than we ever could think of.
Whether you surrender to God, to the Universe, to Life itself – giving up control of how things turn out is one of the most amazing things that you can do to make yourself happy.
That sounds counter-productive right? It’s not.
Trying to control the outcome is sometimes a futile purpose as you cannot control all the elements. Trying to control the outcome will give you expectations and when things don’t happen like you want, you make yourself unhappy.
Do we really want to make ourselves unhappy?
I don’t think anyone really wants to be unhappy, we just don’t know how to remove ourselves from this cycle of Want, Control, Expectation.
The answer is in all the ancient wisdom – cest la vie, what will be will be, let it be.
Give your best efforts and let the rest go.