Consider this ~ if we are not fully ourselves, mindful, truly in the present moment, we stand to miss everything that is important.
I’ve done a lot of stripping away of layers lately. It’s been very liberating. I’ve been peeling away layers of the ego ~ all the accumulated stuff we all gather every day ~ to find who I really am, my authentic self, the ‘real’ self at my core.
It wasn’t too long ago when I noticed how quickly my life could be transformed from an extreme high to an extreme low ~ how one moment could seem so perfect and wonderful, and then suddenly something would happen and it would all turn into a less appealing scene.
The story went something like this: “Life is sooo good. Oh oh, no it’s not. Yes, life is sooo good. Oh oh, no it’s not …” This narrative is repetitiously replayed like a bad remix recording of a wonderful song.
I suppose I was never really fulfilled because I was always giving (with little being given back in return), of being dependent on something outside of me ~ the praise or encouragement I received that day, what the scale of my satisfaction said, how great my workout was, or the next scheduled holiday, etc, etc, etc.
I remember the first time I published a piece of my writing and I asked a friend: “is it okay?” Then I wondered over what kind of feedback it would get. I was told by several people not to be too protective of my work as “to be perfect is too many people to please. There will always be someone who doesn’t like something.”
These words resonated with me and peeled away one layer of my ego. Slowly, more layers began to peel as I became aware that I’d already given my worth to other people
I was so blinded by my own protectiveness; the strength of my own defences dulled the criticism.
I now realise how quickly we can go from an extreme low back to an extreme high.
When we commit to finding contentment within ourselves ~ in being honest with ourselves and in finding the courage to explore, there is a certain peace and joy, a certain tranquillity and harmony that will follow.
When we know who we are, when we become and practice being mindful, when we have elevated our emotional intelligence and awareness, and stripped down to our true essence, we then connect with our higher purpose where we can find fulfilment on our unique journey.
But we are never immune to life’s challenges.
Our parents will still need our help, our significant other will still irritate us, our boss will still be cranky and overbearing, and change will always happen suddenly and unexpectedly.
But when we ground ourselves, inside of ourselves, the whole of our external world becomes less shaky.
When we operate with our heart (our essence), instead of our head (the ego), we can more easily navigate situations with grace and clarity.
Here are 3 ways to strip away the ego and start living authentically:
1. Do less, but be more.
“Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing.” ~ Lao Tzu
In the book Conscious Living, the author, Gay Hendricks, asks the deathbed question: “What are the four or five top goals for your life?” Or in other words, fast forward to the completion and conclusion of your life, when you might ask yourself, “What did I accomplish or experience that made my life a success?”
Answer this question for yourself right now.
Take a few minutes to jot down the five accomplishments that you feel would fulfil you and make you happy knowing that you accomplished them at the end of your life.
As you move through your busy days of just living, you can tuck away these five statements in the back of your mind and consciously decide if your movements, tasks, and job reflect the life you really want to live.
What are you doing by default instead of really honouring who you are authentically?
Do less of what does not serve you, and be more of who you are … by aligning your decisions to these (your) intentions.
2. Plan less, live more.
Most of the shadows of life are caused by standing in our own sunshine. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
There’s a scene in a romantic comedy where the man asks the control-freak woman, “Do you really just plan to plan?
When I watched this scene, I recall answering the question to myself: “Yes. So? What’s wrong with that?
I’d been caught. I was guilty of this too. I have many times planned for my plans.
I thought that if I could devise a road map of my life ~ married by 25, kids by 27 (this has come and gone), millionaire by 30~ that life would be receptive. Instead, I found myself arm-wrestling with situations to fit them in my little box.
This was a symptom of fear.
I imagine all of us have shifted our fear to something outside of us. We grasp at our plans for happiness for tomorrow, to relieve the fears we choose not to address.
The more we shift our fears by clinging onto something outside of us, instead of looking inside to acknowledge and dissolve it, the more we will stand in our own way.
Life is transient, there’s only so much we can plan for; but there is much more happiness to be experienced when we learn to just live in the flow.
Fearing less means letting go, of flowing more, and truly experiencing life in all of its wholeness.
3. Dwell less, create more.
“Begin at once to live and count each day as a separate life.” ~ Seneca
The past and future are overrated. This ‘present’ moment is what really rocks the world.
Learn to continually let go of what you cannot control; stop telling your stories of the past or trying to peer so much into the future.
Redirect all that energy to this ‘present’ moment and what you can create that is beautiful today.
Strip away the past and the future and find yourself in the present.
Inside your presence, and at your essence, there is a gift that is waiting for each of you: an abundance of creativity.
At your core, we are all deeply creative beings. Self-expression is how we expand ~ so be you, express you, and create each moment authentically to you.
Dwell less on your stories that you keep telling yourself, and create a new beginning today.
As you choose how to expand today, remember to: do less, be more; fear less, live more; dwell less, create more.