Or, five ways to start living properly.
1. Drop the act.
Stop pretending it feels good when it doesn’t.
Inspect the dark crevices, turn the bright lamp on even when it hurts your eyes. Sit with discomfort and pain and allow them to reveal your true spirit underneath. What do you crave? Some honesty here with yourself and with your closest because without it, you are stuck right where you are.
What do you do that ultimately makes you sad? Drop it. If it doesn’t serve you, leave it behind you on the trail as you kick up the dust with your bare feet. Onwards. Feeling lighter and more certain.
2. Find your strength.
Stand with both feet on the cold, damp earth. Ground the four corners of each foot, squeeze the calves and inner thighs towards each other and lift the kneecaps up into firm quadriceps. Feel your lower back curve inwards then draw your tailbone towards the floor until your lower belly becomes taught. Press the ground away and feel the connection as energy rises up, pelvic floor lifts and spine grows tall, crown of the head floats skywards. Let the shoulder blades slide back and down and breathe up and in, letting your heart grow big and bright. Let everything and everyone you love shine out of your face as you open your throat, ready to speak your truth. Feel your power. This is alive. Own it.
3. Take action.
Action beats planning every time. This is not to say we shouldn’t plan but keep it a sketch with light strokes, malleable and easy to change. Some of the best things evolve from an original thought that was mutated by possibility and providence. When we intuit a rightness, a gut feeling, a knowing, run with it. Stop making lists, stop endlessly preparing, stop waiting for the perfect moment when you will be completely ready. Get up. Take a big breath, exhale and relax. Begin it.
4. Stay calm.
So you got rid of some baggage, found strength, started acting (up) and all of a sudden, it’s like you’re hanging onto the back end of a truck traversing through the rocky outback at 100mph, fearing death may come at any moment. People start testing this new found strengths, situations pop up from nowhere that take all you’ve got just to be in them. You’re exercising your voice and because you’ve been quiet for so long; sometimes it comes out squeaky, harshly or a little too loud and offense is taken.
Courage becomes makes you beautiful but it also it’s also scary as hell. Breathe into that frenetic fire in your belly, let the color warm your cheeks, soften your shoulders, concentrate on the spaces in between and breathe out. Steady your nerve with each exhalation and sit back into your power. The more you relax, the more freely the energy flows around you and through you.
You become formless, at one with the huge ebb and flow of life—no need to hold on, you’re being carried on an awesome wave. Feel it.
Don Juan talks of keeping death just over our shoulder (Carlos Castaneda, Journey to Ixtilan) in order to avoid the lulling and somewhat numbing feeling that we have all the time in the world. It is the soporific medicine that remedies any call to action, all longings and drives.
Let’s not mince words—whatever we believe, our physical body will one day give out and return to the ground on which we walk. When we imagine our departure (and this is a tonic, not a morose indulgence) and the obligatory flashing of images, sensations, faces and feelings, think what a spectacular reel this glorious technicolour show is! It stuns and overwhelms all senses, filling our final moments, a carnival of color, sound and experience—a final immersion in the wonder of life on this green globe.
Make moments happen. Go find them. Collate them lovingly into your treasured collection: “The Final Picture Show”, “The Grand Finale”. Don’t cheat yourself out of experience with limiting beliefs. You are good enough, you are ready, you are brave, wild and strong and you have limited time. Say it until you feel it: I have limited time.
Swim naked, roll in the snow, talk to strangers, express your feelings as they arise—don’t wait. Do less work, enjoy your body, relax more, play more and feel the exquisite and brief spark of life that flutters in that beating heart of yours. Remember what stirs you, what moves and thrills you—write it, sing it, think it.
Seek it, hunt it and let the journey envelop you.
Taste every emotion, let your palette be well-rounded, sophisticated. A morsel of fear, the overwhelming flavor of sadness that sticks in the back of the throat, the tingle of frustration, spice of exhilaration and the sweet, sweet, sticky warmth of love melting on the tongue.
It’s all for you—love life and let it love you right back.
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Assistant Editor: Jamie Khoo/Editor: Bryonie Wise