Our journey to a simpler & more joyful life – What’s important?

There are so many possible ways to simplify life, but how do we know we are making change in the right places? When time and energy is at a premium how can we move elegantly and gracefully, with focus and clarity?

How do you find out what is important?

If we let them there are a whole load of people telling us what should be important to us…there’s a whole industry dedicated to just that.

It can be really easy to lose sight of our own true values amidst the chatter of advertising, the latest parenting book, the latest trending twitter topic or hot issue not to mention our own conflicting inner voices  – which one do you listen to…the script of your ancestors (aka your mothers voice in your head), or your own?

How can we connect to our heart and soul, to our true wisdom? How do we put first those things that really should have pride of place in our lives if we are to really live with purpose and meaning?

I first started value hunting when I began my journey many years ago with behavioural psychology and NLP. I built my life and my business around my core values and it felt great, congruent, powerful and fulfilling.

Motherhood has brought with it a shift in those values and overall, I’m pleased with the shift. It’s softened my drive a little, made me more accepting of my vulnerability, more open and sometimes, necessarily, more closed and protective.

But it’s time to evaluate again to be more conscious with those things that get my time and attention, especially when time and attention are in such short supply at the moment.

If you want to join me in evaluating what’s most important to you here’s my offering of a process and it begins with answering some simple questions:

  • If you could wave a magic wand what would you have more of in your life right now?

For me, honestly, the first thing that comes to mind is sleep! I’m averaging about 3-4 hours a night in broken chunks so my desire for sleep is like my desire for chocolate, pretty all consuming. But when I look deeper and ask myself ‘what’s important about getting more sleep?’ that’s when I start to see more clearly the fractures that have appeared in my life in the last few months.

What lack of sleep steals from me is Patience and Perspective.

I can hear the reassuring voices of mothers everywhere – don’t worry it will get easier, this is just a phase, don’t be too hard on yourself, and I know it’s all true. My mantra when my daughter was this age was “this too shall pass”.

I also know that it took over 2 years for my daughter to sleep well and longer than that for me to get truly back to my center. My daughter deserves more than 2 years of impatience and disconnect and I deserve to enjoy this time while my son is so young.

Whilst I fully appreciate the value of acceptance of what is, I can also learn from the past and make the changes I need to now, instead of wishing it away or waiting for it to pass.

So patience and perspective are important to me in this moment. I wonder what comes up for you?

  • If you could let go of something in your life right now, what would it be?

For me I need to fully release the fear I have of reliving the patterns of my upbringing. Otherwise known as ‘turning into my mother’. Why is it that when our buttons are pushed, if we are not careful, the words that come out of our mouths are so often our mother’s? The knives thrown at me in childhood I use to wound my own children and then turn them on myself in guilt and shame.

This was my biggest fear, that I wouldn’t be able to break this cycle. It was one of the things that convinced me I should never have children. This is what haunts me as I see it playing out again and again when my composure lets me down, when my mind and my body are too weary and I take the short cuts. I fear for my beautiful and innocent daughter that she will suffer as I did. I fear that I will go mad and crumble with loneliness and isolation as my poor mother did.

I don’t want to let go of my knowledge of this pattern, I don’t want to ignore that it happens, I don’t want to kid myself that it’s ok that I raise my voice and resort to threats. I need to hold onto those things in a way that enables me to change them, but I do need to let go of the fear. The fear that paralyses me, that cuts me off from my compassion, that leads my mind to dark places, to unhappy memories, that limits my understanding and my resources. The fear that prevents forgiveness.

There are of course other things that could and should be released in time, but for now, in this moment, I need to let go of this fear. I wonder what comes up for you?

Just connecting with these realisations is enough for now, the rest of the process will unfold. So let’s just stay with these two questions, not seek to rush through to a nice neat completion, just be open to what else reveals itself as we hold these in heart and mind:

What do I want more of in my life right now?

What do I need to let go of right now?

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