Find Your True North
It has been a week since the Wanderlust Stratton festival, and we are still glowing from all the love and beauty that the festival brought into our lives. Coming back home after an amazing weekend, and jumping back into the mundane can sometimes be an emotional roller coaster. The child in me wants to constantly bask in the beauty and the sunshine, and the thought of having responsibility of holding down a job and paying bills seems pointless. Who wants responsibility when there is so much play in the world, and especially after meeting so many people who have integrated play into their careers.
We each have a calling in life, whether we are aware of it or not. The problem is, though, that our culture presents way too many options at times or no options at all -- like graduating college with lots of debt and no job perspectives or we get bombarded with some unique opportunities that we don't know how to approach because they don't offer a great salary. We live in a time when we aren't expected to pick up a family trade or business that has been handed down for generations. We aren't expected to take on the old societal norms of settling down, getting married, having children, and working a normal 9-5. Those options aren't available as much as they used to be, and the younger generations are coming up with new creative outlets. Sometimes it consists of ditching the corporate job and traveling the world and writing about it. Sometimes it consists of not going to the office, but rather waking up and working in your pajamas from your living room. We are coming up with a new way of living because the world is changing, and we need to adapt to be able to survive.
How do you find your true north in this crazy life? Do you do it by dropping everything to become a yoga teacher? Do you take the risk to try and open up a studio? Do you try to start an online business or blog, hoping that you can find your niche market and audience? Or do you go through the old system -- go to school, get an entry-level job, and hope to work your way up the latter? The answer is both simple and complex, and when it comes down to it, there is no right or wrong answer, no right or wrong way to go about it. The most important thing is to just start walking.
Here are some ways to find your true north and begin walking your unique path.
Show Up: One of the best things you can do is show up. In fact, that is about the only thing you can really do in this life. Wake up every day and be ready to show up to whatever presents to you. Be ready to approach the day with an open mind and open heart. Sometimes, showing up is the toughest thing to do, but it is the only thing you can do. It doesn't matter what you show up to, just do it! Whether it is showing up to a job that you hate, or starting workshops that no one attends. Sometimes it is the job you hate which teaches you the skills you actually need in life, and it is the workshop that no one attends that eventually becomes popular.
Find Your Practice: With the advent of the internet, resources are unlimited and there is no reason that you can't find something that resonates with your beliefs. Find a practice that resonates with you and dig deep. Whether it is meditation, yoga, prayer, or just being out in nature. Find your practice and try to commit to it daily. My practice is rooted in shamanism -- I enjoy being out in nature, drumming, and meditating. What's yours?
Inner-Work: Your inner-world is like a garden. When not tended to, it can become overgrown with "weeds" and other stressors. It is helpful to take the time to till and weed the soils of our inner-world so that when you plant seeds, they have a nurturing environment to grow in. This comes back to your practice. Magnificent transformation and growth can take place if we take a little time to work on ourselves.
Identify with Symbols and Archetypes: The famous movie, Star Wars, is based off of Joseph Campbell's theories of myth and archetypes. Star Wars is a classic story of the "hero's journey." Luke Skywalker is called into action by a string of unsuspected and unfortunate events. It's not an easy role to step into, but the universe calls for him in some way. It may be helpful to study and identify the different symbols and archetypes that pop into your life. Taking on a role that you know a little bit about makes it much easier than taking on a role you know nothing about.
Just Keep Walking: No matter what, just keep on walking. If you fall, get back up. If you fail, try again. If no one shows up, just keep showing up for yourself. The most successful people have failed many times in life, and most likely suffered embarrassment along the way. The most important thing is to just keep walking -- even if you have no idea where you're headed to. Just set out somewhere! Go to the beach, go to the mountains, go the desert -- just get out there and start walking. Your role models and idols didn't just get to where they're at by staying in one place.
Slow Down And Enjoy The Scenery: Life isn't a competition, and we shouldn't be racing to cross some sort of finish line. Instead, enjoy the ride. Walk gracefully, and take moments to pause to enjoy the things around you. Don't rush your life -- it will fly by and you might realize later on that you really missed out on the simple and small things in life. Sometimes the small and simple things in life can be more significant than the big flashy moments. We live in a culture that rushes you through each stage of life. We need to do well in school to go to college. Once we get to college we compete with ourselves to do the best so that we can land the best after school. We rush school because we want the credentials to buy our jobs. We work so hard to keep the job, so we can buy a nice graveyard to rest in. Slow down and enjoy where you're at in life. It will tick by so fast if you keep rushing through it.
Ditch The Extra Baggage: Let's face it. We carry a ton of baggage, both emotional and material baggage. Find ways to get rid of some of the clutter that holds you back. If it is material things -- throw some of it out. For emotional and spiritual baggage, here is a quick metaphor. You are walking down the path that you have chosen. You throw every experience in your backpack, and you continue on your journey. You will meet so many people along this path and some of the people you will end up traveling with. There will be many laughs as well as tears. Some people will make you carry their bags for a little. Some may return the favor when your bags become too heavy. Some will leave when you ask for help, and are only interested when you are willing to carry theirs. Let the one's who throw their baggage at you carry their own. If they become angry, let them be and keep walking. Take time to sit and explore the items in your backpack. Throw the things out that don't serve a purpose anymore. Your backpack will become too heavy to carry if you do not take the time to clean it out from time to time. And for those who keep throwing their bags your way -- wish them well on their journey and hope that they will find the time to clean their bags out too. We are all carrying so much weight on our shoulders all the time. It is important to help one another.
Ditch The Compass: Lastly, ditch the compass and the idea of finding your way. Life isn't perfect. You're going to get lost. You're going to fall down, and you're going to experience a lot of bumps in the road. The magic is to enjoy those moments. Life is made up of chaos. You believe you're on a specific path, following your truth north and your compass, and something is bound to come your way that will knock you off the path. Just stay with it, and trust your gut and intuition -- it is the best compass you have!