Living on Purpose

November 03, 2014

brussels

Today, I am thrilled to share my answers to an interview with Dr. Danielle Dowling about how I live on purpose!

How do you identify your spark? Do you have any rituals that help you return to your truest, most centered self?

I define my spark as that quick, quiet moment of noticing that something has peeked my interest. For years this moment was so slight, I barely realized that it was happening. Now, I notice it in the intake of breath when something catches my eye. Or the feeling of recognition in my heart. Or the goosebumps that creep up my neck.

When that spark shows itself, I work to not second guess it. I don’t ask myself why I have a sudden desire to start painting or taking an African dance class. I don’t tell myself that I shouldn’t want to do that thing just because I have never done it before. I don’t have to make my yearning mean anything or to qualify it in anyway. I honor it because I want to live a sparkly life and that following it helps me get there.

However, I’ve noticed that it is incredibly difficult to notice my own spark if I am exhausted or overwhelmed. When I find myself feeling particularly dismal or less-than-sparkly, I find my center by taking a peek at my self-care. Do I need sleep? Am I dehydrated? Have I been eating too much sugar?

I return to my center by keeping it incredibly simple and examining my self-care on a granular level. I am kind to myself in this moment. I don’t try to do it all at once. First step, a sip of water or a nap or a delicious meal. Then, I look for the spark.

How do you not get caught up in “doing it all?”

Ha! This is so tricky! Over the last couple of years, I have cultivated a peaceful coexistence with my to do list. I  have cultivated a bit of a ritual around it where I write down the things that I want to do for the week every Sunday evening on a beautiful piece of colored paper. Then, I look at the list and ask myself a few questions…

  • Could a human being reasonably accomplish the things on this list? (Because I’m not a magician.)
  • Can I do the things that I’ve written here while also taking really good care of myself? (Because I matter.)
  • Do I really WANT to do everything that I’ve written here? (Because, if the answer is no… I will drag my feet and hate it.)

By asking myself these questions I have been able to create more reasonable, good-feeling lists. Lists that are brimming with things that are inspiring and challenging, but things that I truly want to dedicate my time to.

Here’s the thing: We cannot do it all.

Something has got to give, always. And, I have made the decision for my life to prioritize the things that are really important to me – taking care of myself, showing up fully in my relationships, and bringing the brightest version of myself to my business. If I am unable to do those things, I have to find a couple of things on my list to remove or put off for another week.

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What are some things you’ve said ‘no’ to so you can focus on what’s most important to you? What are you currently saying ‘no’ to?

For much of my life, I prided myself on being the kind of woman who almost never said no. I would suck up my resentment and frustration, and choose the needs of others over my own needs. I would make myself small in my desires, easily palatable, because I believed for many years that my worth was defined by how much I gave to others.

However, I hated feeling frustrated and resentful. Ultimately I needed to learn a new way of showing up in my life and in my relationships, so that I could feel free to give with an open heart and not out of that enmeshed place of constant obligation.

These days, I say no to a lot of things. I try to keep my calendar as streamlined and open as possible, so that I can say yes to the book that I am writing, to my clients, and to my partner. These days, I try to say no to the things that I feel like I should do or to the things I would only be saying yes to in order to make someone else happy.

I say no whenever I need to – whenever I’m not fully on board with something.

And, I absolutely say no whenever I feel like I want to say yes so that someone would like me, because I want to be liked for who I am and not what I can do for them.

What do you always say “yes” to?

I always say yes to myself.

I say yes to resting more, playing on the beach, and going out of my way to make the most delicious food that I can imagine for myself – even if it’s only me that I’m cooking for. I say yes to the perfect cup of coffee and showers that are longer than they need to be. I say yes to the tug of my creativity, working to ply her with the resources that spark her interest. I say yes as a practice, because I have noticed that in saying yes – and granting myself permission to want what I want – I become a little bit happier and more fulfilled, everyday.

And I almost always say yes to my sweetheart.

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The Soul Sessions Blog Tour

Today I’m sharing how I live on purpose in support of my lovely friend Dr. Danielle Dowling and her new book The Soul Sessions, a 5-week guide to crafting greater joy and making big things happen. Skip on over here to check it out.

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