Where I am, is where I should be.
A lack of clarity is a simple sign – there IS more for you!
In the past 40 years, I think I have felt some form of clarity around what I wanted to be doing in this world may be at the most 20 times. The majority of those probably before the age of 6 (of which I remember truly wanting to be a Big M girl)!
So for the vast majority of my life, I have had no real sense of clarity. I have had no real sense of knowing around what I wanted to do or what I wanted to “be” when I grew up.
But what I have had for the majority of my life is a feeling that – I SHOULD know, I should know exactly what I wanted to do and be. But alas, this has been an elusive concept.
I have always envied some of my friends, who seemed like from the age of 15 or so, they just knew what they wanted to do. They seemed to have this path, that spread forth for them. Each step of their journey “seemed’ to be planned out in a very linear fashion. Do this, then this, then this… and you will end up here.
And yes, of course, the path will have curves and parts will feel like very steep climbs, but generally – with a little effort, here and there; the path will continue and you will just keep going along it.
At school, I had no idea what I wanted to do. When I was 16, I was playing basketball and one of my teammates had a mother who worked “in business”. Her daughter was great. (and a talented sportswoman) I liked her a lot. So I was naturally interested in her Mum and what she did. Her mother worked in Human Resources at BHP or BP (memories a little hazy on the detail). I spoke with her one day, about what I would have to do to work in Human Resources. She said, that she would recommend a business degree. I never really asked her what she had to do every day, or did she even enjoy it! I just took it as solid advice and at the end of high school, I enrolled in a Business Degree. I thought it was a wide path, so I took it.
Before I even left University, I was very lucky to be offered the opportunity to work as a Research Associate in a “Headhunting” consultancy. It was another opportunity that presented, I ask very few questions, I took it. And these scenarios just continued for the next 15 years!
It was a path, that continued to be laid but I never felt like I was consciously creating it. It just kept unravelling so I kept stumbling along it, bumping into different parts of myself – but never fully knowing what I was doing there or why I kept going; but it did feel like now I was on it it was really hard to step off. In the back of my mind, I always felt like my “real” career was wrapped in a thick blanket of fog – around another bend.
When I took time off to travel home from London in my mid 20’s, I made the decision, that I couldn’t let my life slip away stuck in an office, tied to a desk. So when I arrived in Melbourne, after meeting a friend of my sisters who was a Homeopath; I decided to enrol in a Diploma of Homeopathy. I was interested in people, and health and energy.
I adjusted my corporate life to enable me to pursue what I thought was to be my new and more purposeful and “away from an office” career. Alas, the reality did not eventuate. I learnt a lot, about psychology, physiology, and energy – but just working one to one with people; didn’t feel enough for me. At that point in time, I need more interaction.
So I continued on my corporate career path.
Driven by my own interests and influences, my life outside of work start to expand, as I decided to seek greater satisfaction outside of work hours, thinking that if I was to be trapped in an office with an “ok” but well-paying career – then my general dissatisfaction would have to be counter-weighted by making my outside of hours life as amazing as possible.
I travelled, I socialised, I exercised regularly, I ate at all THE restaurants, I drank every cocktail, I did adrenaline-inducing activities, I attended events music ..blah, blah, blah etc etc etc.
But still, the underlying nagging feeling of this is not enough continued. And then by some very “aligned’ sequence of events, I discovered the concept of embodiment – and in particular, I encountered the practice of Qoya.
So what is embodiment, you may ask (because lots of people do!)?
I’m choosing to describe embodiment as the ability to notice the feelings and sensations that arise in the body, recognise them, create space for them internally and with reference to your external environment. Embodiment practices help you to identify your own personal resonance to any experience or situation allowing you to make more congruent guided choices in your daily life.
Basically, when you embody something, you allow yourself to feel it fully, without it having to control you. You let yourself consciously recognise, the wisdom your body holds, and from there you take mindful action. You start to build your “knowing” muscle.
So here’s the thing, when I started Qoya, I thought it was a fun exercise class – and as I said I knew exercise was part of a so-called successful life. And for my first classes, this is all it was. But then I thought – Really? Is this all it is, because maybe this is not enough for me. And in a single class after a single prompt, suddenly that all changed.
This is what I heard the invitation to do – “If you slow down, do you feel more?” “SLOOOOW DOOOOOWN”. It was the light globe moment, I slowed down, and I felt something and I can tell you it didn’t necessarily feel good. It actually felt weird and uncomfortable and kind of terrifying. And no longer, was this just an exercise class.
I began to really listen to the teacher and the meaning behind the instructions. And what I began to recognise was that I had had no real ability to feel. I hadn’t been feeling anything, I had just been moving through a sequence. Inside, my mind, was just on repeatable looped thoughts, my body itself was disconnected and completed desensitised and I didn’t FEEL anything.
I was a stable, solid form, moving through my day and the world on a relatively even keel. I had learnt and believed it was easier that way. It was acceptable and manageable and pretty reliable. Even though I have always been told my face is like an open book to what I was thinking/feeling, I personally had very little idea at times of what I felt, and what others perceived was only ever the tip of the iceberg. And whilst I had started to become more mindful and recognise the thoughts I was having, my thoughts were not always congruent with my feelings, because I had such a limited understanding of what my feelings were, so any feelings that did arise were quickly suppressed by obligations, interactions and other more “success” driving thoughts or actions.
Most of my life, I had perceived that emotions and feelings were not particularly useful; they were disruptive, messy, inconvenient and career limiting especially if you’re a woman. And especially if you are a woman in business, with a desire to be “successful”.
And so I was numb, and in a way mute to the wisdom that was within.
As a consequence of my numbed out existence, I couldn’t feel my way through anything. The only guidance I had was that I felt foggy, bogged down, tired and unable to really guide my own ship. I had no inner compass. I could not find clarity because I could not find resonance to me.
So how do embodiment practices help clear the fog?
Chipping away and breaking down the walls and barriers of numbness that have been created over the years, now allows me to feel more, express more and create more. I use my senses more, I slow down more, I listen inwardly, I ask myself “How DO I feel?” and then I answer not from my mind but from my body. And then I ask myself “What do I need?” and then I give it to myself. It is a constant questioning, and constant cycle of self care.
When I am now faced with decisions, I make them from a full body place, and I make them to honour the “all hours” me.
And whilst I may cry more, feel hurt more and even feel rage more – I also get to feel a deeper sense of joy more, I have clearer visions and that nagging feeling of “wanting” more has calmed itself.
Embodiment practices can help to uncover the full you, the light and the dark sides, not just the sides that you have tried to present to the world. Living from a place of embodiment has bought me a new sense of freedom and a much broader understanding of what a “successful” life can be.
For me now, success is driven from a place of, am I in alignment? Am I congruent? Do I fully resonate with what is happening? And if my answer is Yes. Then I feel that I am truly winning.
Getting in touch with what I actually feel, about any given situation makes decision making unbelievably easier (especially for a libran!). When I feel it in my body – I just know it is right or wrong for me at any given moment. Does it mean that things don’t change? Absolutely not. Does it mean I don’t feel great uncertainty at times? Hell no. But I check in often. I trust that I will ebb and flow.
I have made small changes, and I have made big changes, but unless I feel a sense of knowing I trust that where I am, is right. Living a more embodied life feels consistently more magical!
So if you resonate at all with having a lack of clarity and you have started 2019, with a sense of “I don’t F^%%$ck -ing know”, or “I have no idea”, and “I hate New Year’s resolutions” “ I can’t set goals” etc etc.. then great.
Well done. I see and hear you. And I encourage you to start to feel into it. Feel it more and feel it all; give your mind the permission to release the need to know the answer, and start to ask your body. How do you feel? What do I need? – and from there see if the fog starts to lift a little.
The path may only present itself day by day, but when the sun starts to shine through, I’m sure you will begin to trust, that it truly is your own path. No longer do I think I should know what I want to do, instead I can trust that I am building a life each day that I am in complete alignment with, and for that I am both grateful and clear.
Here are my top tips for finding even the beginnings of an electric current to engage your inner compass:
- Be OK with it.
Use this mantra – “Where I am is exactly where I should be”, for every life experience is just another notch on your school of life belt. And as the clarity presents itself so will the importance of the acknowledgement of the path you have already travelled. Let go of the striving, and be grateful in this moment.
- Rest, alone.
I don’t mean sleep (although that is good too) but create space and time to truly rest. Lie down, use yoga nidra or other guided meditations. Let your body turn off its alarm systems. Let yourself create space within, get quiet, start to engage with sensation and listen. Start to observe without judgement. And let it go of trying to find clarity.
- Move with the sole intention to explore feeling and sensation
I don’t mean run or “exercise”, as often this is just another numbing technique. I mean turn on a favourite song, and ask yourself “How am I?” and then invite your body to tell you. Move freely, knowing that there is no way you can do it wrong and that you know you are doing it right when you feel the resonance. Feel into the sensations that arise. Come try a Qoya class!
- Journal everything.
DO NOT ignore anything, that comes up. Your clarity will not necessarily come from a place of “Oh, that makes sense”. Your inspiration or your path may come from someplace totally unforeseen, or totally left of centre. Write it down. Sensations, words, pictures, emotions – let them have the freedom of expression on the page. Again, release the judgement, and now that whatever spews forth is all OK. Clear the decks and just see what unfolds.
It takes time to feel. It takes time to unpack beliefs and fears and ideas. Be kind, but just keep going.