What do you do when no-one’s watching? It’s ok, no one’s listening, so you can be honest with yourself…If no-one else was watching and no-one else minded, how would you spend your day?… your ‘ideal day’?
Someone asked me these kind of questions many years ago and I stayed silent for some days afterwards, wrestling with my answers, because they were sooo naughty!… or so they seemed to me. The truth was, no-one else actually cared about my answers except me but I was completely floored by them, embarrassed to the head-hanging, red-faced extreme. The most painful part was that I knew the answers were the key to my living with purpose, in alignment with my truth and yet I was unable to live with them.
At the time, I secretly thought my ideal day would involve rooting out all of the books I kept hidden from my friends and family, all the material that I didn’t let anyone else know that I read and to disappear off into the countryside, with a picnic, to read them in peace and quiet. The books were about… simple living and spiritual growth. Arggh! The secret was out. I hardly dare speak it. But as soon as I had, there was no going back. I realised that what I had once thought was ‘naughty’, what I’d judged in myself as point-less was actually the main point-er to the reason for my existence.
Having now worked with many others through this process, I’ve noticed that there seem to be 2 main categories of obstacle that present themselves as a way to prevent us getting in touch with our most fulfilling and meaningful personal path.
i) Hiding our deepest desires because we believe they’re ‘not allowed’ in some way.
ii) Fearing that our deepest desires might actually represent some kind of psychosis – an addiction, obsession, insane behaviour etc.
What these categories have in common, I believe, is a root that’s well and truly embedded in the belief in the need for compliance. This is one of those ideals that is perpetrated in the industrial growth model of society that abounds. In this model, uniformity is key. What is the point in any kind of sausage machine if it cannot effectively reproduce the same, size, taste, texture and colour of sausages time and time again, better and better and faster and faster? Where do we working humans fit in this model if, rather than conforming to the requirements of machines, we seek to innovate, create, contemplate, inspire, slow down? And yet it is the latter that is crucially important to our wellbeing, each and every one of us, not just the ‘leaders’ in society. We are each designed and destined to be a unique, crucial, conscious and novel part of the whole.
In a more conscious society than the industrial growth model that is currently in decline, we’re being called to pull on our pioneering boots and be willing to own our individual ‘naughtiness’ – the part of us that hardly dares to express our true purpose here on earth for fear of being condemned.
What can we do about those obstacles that scare us? Here are some suggestions:
- Be open to accepting that your beliefs and assumptions about how the world works might be wrong.
- Express (e.g. journal) those assumptions and beliefs and question them. Are there other possibilities that might be equally, or even more, true?
- Examine how those beliefs and assumptions do or don’t serve you. How do you feel when you tell yourself those things? E.g. ‘It’s all been done before’, ‘I don’t have anything new to offer the world’, ‘No-one would pay me for doing that, so I can’t create a livelihood from it.’ (Beliefs and assumptions that don’t serve you will feel painful and contracting in some way. Those that do serve you will feel liberating, expansive and peaceful.)
- Turn them around and replace them with beliefs that do serve you. E.g. ‘It’s possible for me to offer something new or a new expression or form of something familiar.’ ‘Possibilities exist for creating a livelihood from this. I’m open to being shown what would work for me and those I’m here to serve.’ (Notice how those feel.)
Whatever you’re keeping hidden, or regarding as ‘naughty’, simply attend to your growth. Then, ‘coming out’ with your true identity and purpose will feel less painful, more natural and, ultimately, unavoidably wonderful!(Image by m’gallery on Flikr Creative Commons)