Scope, Plans, Ducks in a row.
“Real change in the world will only come with a change of heart… The more you are motivated by love, the more fearless and free your action will be“. Dalai Lama
The first thing I think of when I think about the path to reaching a goal is my mental state. Am I ready? Do I feel I can win? Do I feel I deserve to win? In other words, have I put in the hard yards to be prepared? In order to get to this point, I needed to work hard on my health, including physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Over the past few years, I have taken stock of unhelpful foods, destructive thoughts, bad habits, dead-end jobs, and even unhelpful or destructive friends. These are part of who I am, I accept them, I encouraged some of them in my past as they were fun or relevant for the time, I respect them and love them, learnt a hell of a lot from them all, but now I no longer can justify having them around me. They are not within the scope of my purpose. They are incompatible with where I need to be, so beginning with my attitude, I surrender these unhelpful moments to the past.
Going through a private and highly traumatic series of events which saw my family in crisis a few years ago, I struggled with concentration; I kept pining for the past and carrying guilt that was not rightfully mine to carry. I allowed myself to be beaten up by my own self and by the attitudes of a select few others because I just did not have the confidence to stand up for myself or to understand how to separate “me” from chaos. I saw the future full of heartache, I lost all joy in the moment, I forgot how to be happy, and it was after a few months of emotional collapse, still turning up to my workplace in a state of zombification, with an inability to cope with seemingly small problems, rushing breathlessly from moment to moment, even surviving a car accident where I rolled down an embankment, narrowly missing being impaled on a fence strainer post, that I finally found a way out from the bottom of the pit I was in.
I re-read “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle (2004), changed the music I listened to, the books I read, the radio stations I played in the background, I removed as many painful experiences as I could from my life including some toxic people and toxic memories, and started to find peace within. I listened to quiet and reflective background music when I could such as binaural beats and alpha wave music on YouTube, it really quietens the inner beast! I sought strength in physical exercise and meditative practice, and learnt to forgive, especially myself. Eventually I remembered humour, and how much I loved to laugh, and sought out ways to bring humour back to my life, even joining a Comedy Improvisation Group to help me re-emerge from my shell and to give me back my confidence for handling public speaking (I did not think I was very good at it, but wow, I had some fun).
I changed the way I thought about life, starting with building stronger emotional intelligence and recognising the power of my empathy to others in bringing a feeling of peace to my very core. I began on a journey of professional and personal development with study course after study course, rolling with the directions of whatever work I happened to find myself in; I was determined to excel and to understand, and I am still on this path ten years later. Thanks to all these changes, I was finally able to be happy in the here and the now instead of yearning for the past or fretting for the future. That is not to say I do not slip back occasionally, I do, but I am now able to recognise the unhelpful moments, I acknowledge them and move them on. My daily goals now are to exercise, be in nature, walk, swim, dance, move my body, learn new skills, talk with like-minded people, share experiences and great food, listen reflectively, laugh a lot, cry when I need to, be here. This is how I intend to get to my freedom.
Very early today on my first day of the 90 Days to Freedom, I sat on a rock at the edge of the ocean, letting the connection of the planet underneath me course through my feet and hands, feeling “grounded”, watching the waves smash into the sand and rocks, huge waves that churned and broke into a thousand crystal shards; I was so close I could feel the mist. I stayed in the moment for a while, then when at peace, I formulated the trajectory of my next steps in my life’s expedition. I went home and baked the best wholesome biscuits I could think of to share with my family and friends and thought about what comes next.
So, am I game- ready? Yes, very much so. Bring on the future!
Tolle, Eckhart. 2004. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment. Sydney, Australia. Hachette. https://www.eckharttolle.com/power-of-now-excerpt/.