For a long time I lived as though I was only ‘half-alive’, never quite feeling at ease in my own skin and trying really hard to earn love, recognition, and my worthiness, from the outside world.
Even though I knew in theory that ‘all answers come from within’, I found it difficult to access that wisdom from inside me. For a long time, I didn’t realise that we can’t simply read, think, or try to ‘will’ our way with affirmations to a higher version of ourselves.
We need to connect with our internal, ever-loving, all-knowing, inner being - the part of us which knows what brings us greatest joy and what our true purpose for being in this world really is.
Because, if we don’t give ourselves the time to be still and listen to the whispers within us, it becomes impossible to live authentically and therefore make the most of our lives.
It may seem paradoxical. We think we’re fully alive when what we’re actually doing is ‘over-functioning’ almost to the point of exhaustion. We think we’re living our lives to the max because we’re packing our schedules, working long hours, running around trying to please everybody, getting barely enough sleep, and dragging ourselves out of bed every morning to go back to work again.
Being under tremendous stress each day fools us into thinking that our lives are full.
It’s true, our lives are full of ‘stuff’ to do and people who need our time and attention and expect us to behave in certain ways. On top of that, we put demands on ourselves – we are our own worst taskmaster. We think we ‘should’ be busy, we think we 'should’ be stressed. It’s almost like a badge of honour to be burning the candle at both ends.
We might think this is ‘proof’ of a life fully lived. However, in many ways, the opposite is true.
To truly know what it means to be alive, we need to take time out from the busyness of the world, and away from the demands of other people, and spend more time just for us. We need to allow the space for our relationships with loved ones to flourish. We need to spend time outside with the sun on our faces, and the breeze caressing our skin.
This is how we find ourselves.
Tremendous contentment can come from not just realising, but actually embodying, the fact that we are part of Nature too. We are meant to live as Nature lives – in flow with the universe.
The Ancient Chinese wisdom of Qigong teaches that our natural state is actually a ‘light state of joy’. It doesn’t mean we’re supposed to be ecstatically happy all the time. We are meant to have highs and lows, and we will all go through times of sadness and deep pain at some point in our lives. But the key is to be our own best friend through all of these times, good and bad, and not to bury our feelings.
Many people avoid feeling their painful emotions by overworking, over-drinking, binge eating or starving themselves. They might become addicted to love, sex or exercise, or take prescription or non-prescription drugs to numb their feelings. Even zoning out in front of the TV or Netflix every night is a subtle way we turn the dimmer down on our “aliveness”, when a part of us knows that we could be doing so much more to fulfill ourselves.
The fact is, we’ve all been conditioned to live our lives in an almost ‘programmed’ way, and we don’t usually question this.
We are taught by our parents, teacher and society from a very young age that this is the way life is. We form our beliefs very early, and from there our life unfolds, for the most part, exactly as it is expected to. We are expected to finish school and go to university, then we are expected to get a job, working Monday to Friday, 9-5, for someone else.
We work our butts off to try to “prove” ourselves and make other people approve of us. We look for love, get married, expecting it to last forever. We start a family, we pay bills, we buy a house, we upgrade our possessions as often as we can afford.
We share the news about our accomplishments and acquisitions with anyone who’ll listen, or post about them on our social media sites, and we feel like we’re living a successful life. Or, perhaps we don’t.
There often comes a point when material and professional success doesn’t satisfy us in the way we had expected it to. Sometimes we feel empty, despite having what society says should have made us happy.
And other times, we really are happy…until disaster strikes. Our husband/wife leaves us for someone else; a friend or family member passes away; we get a diagnosis of a serious illness; we are made redundant, or our business crashes and burns.
So, what can we do when we are on our knees, or crying ourselves to sleep at night?
What can we do when we believe (consciously or unconsciously) we’re not loved, we’re not good enough, that we’re being punished for being bad, or that we’re a total failure?
What can we do to stop ourselves numbing our emotions by drinking or overeating in an attempt to satisfy the cravings of our soul?
What can we do when we find ourselves jumping from one relationship to another, repeating the same old painful patterns in love?
The answer is to stop looking outside of ourselves for validation of our worthiness, to stop putting the needs of others before our own needs, and to stop listening to what society dictates we “should” be doing or “should” be feeling.
Make time, as often as possible, to pause and tune into your inner being. Would you like to bring more meaning and purpose into your life? Would you like to experience more love and joy?
If your soul cries “yes”, then it’s time to take yourself on an inner journey to discover your true essence, your true power.
All you need to do is start from where you are. And the journey can begin right now.
About the writer: Kerrie Womersley is the owner of Find Yourself Qigong and Coaching. In addition to training with internationally-renowned Qigong expert, Lee Holden, Kerrie is a Master Practitioner of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) and a Conscious Uncoupling Certified Coach. www.findyourselfnow.com