I am a work in progress. I never thought I would be saying this as I approach 60. I thought by now I would have figured everything out. I would have unlocked the mysteries of life to secure a life well-lived, whatever that means. What I have learned this past year is we are all works in progress, life is a journey, and if you are done changing and growing, you are probably dead.
Living well means living in alignment with your soul’s journey. It is about experimenting and stretching and taking risks and stumbling and getting up and starting over. It is about taking the time to make things right in your life, but it is also about it never being too late to make things right. You may be scared, but you are never too old to reach out to right old wrongs, to mend hurt feelings, to repair broken relationships. If fear holds you from being the best person you can be, you need to ask: What are you saving yourself for if it is not to be the best person you can be, every day of your life?
It means living the most authentic life possible, living fully in touch with all aspects of yourself – the good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly, the loved, the hated, the blessed and the cursed. It means examining your life regularly, sitting with discomfort, and trusting that as a member of the human race, you are more resilient than you think and able to manage far more than you believe is possible.
As humans, we are wired to live and to do what is necessary to ensure the survival of our race. We are social beings, and we look for a tribe. If your tribe doesn’t suit you, find another, because being part of something bigger than yourself feels good and makes it likely you will focus less on yourself and more on giving your gift to others.
Here are nine ways to begin to embrace your soul’s journey:
- Ask yourself who you are and what are you meant to do during your time on Earth. You may not have the answer, but asking the question regularly will keep you focused on your greater purpose.
- Recognize struggles are opportunities for growth, and welcome them without rushing to alleviate discomfort. This requires a mind-shift. Most of us want our discomfort to vanish, and we pay little attention to the root cause.
- Quiet your mind, and slow down to notice the hidden message in your symptoms. They are there for a reason, and like whack-a-mole, if you quash one, another might pop up until you listen to your body’s wisdom.
- Forgive those who have wronged you. Holding onto anger keeps it circulating within you. Forgiveness is about letting go of your struggle with the past and allowing things to be so you can move on.
- Make peace with your inner critic. It developed because it gives you a moral compass, but when it crushes you and makes you feel incompetent, it is time to become mindful of it and ask it to relax.
- Relinquish shame and blame. When shame is your constant partner, it keeps you angry, anxious and depressed. When you accept that shame resides deep within each of us, you are able to stop blaming others for evoking it.
- Lighten up. Find joy every day and laugh. Heaviness on the inside can become heaviness on the outside.
- Accept your life exactly how it unfolds. Every relationship, every event, and every action in your life has made you the person you are right now.
- Be a work in progress until your last breath. Live each day seizing the opportunities which present themselves, and die without regrets