It was the middle of an afternoon and I'd sat down on my yoga mat to close my eyes for five minutes of stillness. No sooner had I closed my eyes than an image formed in my mind's eye. A weary looking little girl wandering by a stream, a heavy-looking backpack on her back.
2017 was the year my desire disappeared and came back different.
I was lying in bed, listening to a Rupert Spira recording before going to sleep, when something he said caused tears to bubble up through my eyes and seep in a warm, contented trickle down my cheeks.
There's so much I want to tell you about how I came to be listening to this song on repeat these past few weeks. It's a story about the sort of synchronicity that leaves you in wide-mouthed wonder at the way life works. But I think that's a story for another time. Today is really about one particular line of this song. A line that, if we all really took inside and nurtured and felt, would do a lot of good, I think.
A reader wrote to me last week:
"While I do want to be a leader, I definitely shy away from the spotlight so I look forward to seeing how different personalities can become leaders!"
I was so grateful to read this line because I know that what she's expressed here is a thought shared by many and it's something worth expanding on. It immediately got me thinking about leadership and what it looks like to be a leader.
From our expanded consciousness we're powerful change agents, peaceful warriors, messengers of love, and visionaries who have the courage and grounding to challenge the status quo, stand for something different and alter the conversation. We know that who we are today has nothing to do with who we can become.
We live in a society that's built almost entirely on external wanting and more often than not, our notions of success and what it means to live a good and happy life come from either people or messages 'out there'. We get confused, thinking that those things are actually what we want and we set off in a drive to get those things, live that sort of life or be that sort of person.
Everything's about changing the world these days, but how realistic is it to think we can actually do that? Can you, a single person in a world of 7 billion, do anything significant enough to make a real difference?
A colleague of mine was giving some talks at a local school. When he asked the seven year olds what they wanted to be when they grew up, they shouted out the whole range: I want to be a pilot. I want to be a doctor. I want to be a football player. I want to be a teacher. I want to be a scientist.
And when he asked them what might stop them from becoming or doing those things, a sea of blank faces stared back at him. Nothing to stop them. Nothing and no one.
To say I've been caught in my head a little more than usual lately would be one massive understatement. Mostly, I've been swimming around in my own brain juice questioning every little thing I could get my hands on. It happens sometimes.
We were standing in the kitchen of our holiday cottage on the Isle of Mull. My friend turned to me and asked:
"What would make your life even better?"
The tears that rose up were sudden and unexpected as I blubbed out in response, "Nothing. There isn't anything I want. Everything is perfect. Life is perfect. There isn't anything that could make this any better."
Do you ever feel that maybe sometimes you're just asking for too much? That maybe you've got it wrong? That maybe what you're actually supposed to do is let go of the life that calls to you and find contentment with what is?
It's up to you to take time out to (re)define what matters most to you. It's up to you to (re)define the life and lifestyle you want to live. And it's up to you to wake up every day and intentionally create your life and business in a way that makes you feel good.
It came about when I started my blog back in 2012 which, at the time, was called Where Is Life? I wanted images to go with my posts, but hated all the generic stuff I was finding online. One day, I drew a stick girl who looked a bit like me, with a bow in her hair. After that, I started drawing stick girl images for all my blog posts. I enjoyed it. It gave me another creative outlet. It was lighthearted and fun.
Being back in the North of England feels a bit like being in a new country. And although this is the town I grew up in and so feels very familiar in many ways, I also feel like a child at Christmas, discovering all sorts of new gifts.
Yesterday morning I ventured into town to run a few errands and popped into a vintage clothing shop I'd been meaning to take a look at. Lancaster isn't known for its quality clothes shopping and I was keen to find something - anything - that might stock the sort of thing I'd wear.
The tears fell from my client's eyes yesterday as she spoke out to me what she knew she was here to do. The power of her words was such that my own eyes grew hot and wet, too.
When you get to that place, when you touch on something so deep and real inside, there's just no doubt, no question: this is a part of that person's calling. It speaks so loudly in these moments there's no way of hiding from or ignoring it.
Today I'm done.
Done dancing around the truth. Done pretending I don't see what I see. Done with the worry that my words won't land or reach where I want them to reach.
There's something you have to know.
There's something you have to see.
You. Are. Infinite.
I woke up on Saturday morning and plucked a book from the shelf in my bedroom. Une autre idée du bonheur, by French novelist Marc Levy.
I started reading Marc Levy's books years ago, back when I was still studying French. I'd found his first book, Et si c'était vrai (the one that later became the film Just Like Heaven) the perfect level for my French language skills at the time. It was challenging, but readable.
Follow the crowd.
Keep the job you hate.
Satisfy yourself with mediocrity.
2012, back in my 9-5 job, there was an undeniable felt sense deep inside that this wasn't it. Something inside me knew I wasn't created to be caged up in this way. And I don't just mean in the physical sense of the day in and day out of being seated in an office environment I loathed; I mean also all the ways in which one is required to conform - timings, behaviour, fashion, opinions etc.
It's painful, isn't it? Not knowing what you really want to do with your life? I mean, you know you're not where you're supposed to be. You sense that there's something more to this whole thing we call life. There's something tugging at you telling you you're meant for something more. You're here to make a difference somehow. You want more freedom. You want to stop fitting into someone else's box.
Sometimes, entirely unexpectedly, someone new turns up in your life and you know during that first encounter that something important just shifted; that nothing is ever going to be quite the same.