If only I had…
written that book
dared to say yes
As we step into winter here in the Northern Hemisphere it’s a natural time to pause and reflect. To ask ourselves if we’ve been living our lives courageously the way we want to so that we won’t reach our deathbed saying, “If only I had…”
What if we slowed down enough to…
connect with ourselves
ask for help
allow ourselves to rest?
What might shift in our lives if we gave up the badge of busyness?
Because many of us have this underlying belief that we have to EARN our rest. That before we can receive we have to give, give, give and then give some more. It has led to people-pleasing and martyring ourselves for our families and careers. We’re taught that if our needs are anywhere remotely near the top of the list – we’re being selfish.
These stories are so ingrained it can be hard to identify where they come from or challenge them when we find ourselves taking on more than we know we can handle. I’m curious, who’s voice do you hear in your head that says you need to do more, give more, and earn your right to rest? If you’re not sure WHY you are living this way (or pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion), then read on. Because we all deserve to rest. We all deserve peace. And if, on our deathbed, we want to look back on a life well-lived, now is the time to change.
Rest and receive.
Do you struggle to receive?
Feminine energy is receptive, it’s powerful and it’s necessary to create a balance with masculine, action-oriented energy that we can get stuck in. Does it feel uncomfortable to receive genuine compliments? Money? Help? Gifts? Healthy love? It might be worth journaling about why that feels uncomfortable. Acknowledging the wounded stories and choosing to rewrite them.
In order to receive we also need to let go. You can’t receive with a closed fist. If you’re holding on to an old idea of who you are you can’t evolve into who you want to become. If you’re clinging to your current job you’ll struggle to make the leap to a new position or new company. If you’re holding on to the hope of an old relationship rekindling you won’t be open to a new one.
Start with a little perspective.
The Wheel of Life is a great tool for getting a bird’s-eye view of all the different aspects of our lives. It shows what’s working and where there’s room for change, where we might need to ask for help, and where there’s an opportunity to rest and receive. Try it for yourself.
Let it be easy.
Now that you’ve completed your Wheel of Life…don’t overcomplicate it. You DO NOT need to tackle all the areas that are low at the same time. Pick one. You DO NOT need a 95 point plan or unrealistic timeline. Choose ONE thing to do differently. Go slowly.
Start with the area that feels the easiest to improve. Maybe your family is at a 9 and with one small tweak, it would be 10. Maybe community is only a 2 but it feels like a Herculean amount of work to get it to a 3. So…work on your family first, let it be easy. Use this free worksheet to further reflect on your wheel and next step(s).
Ask for help.
Part of our over-giving, hustle-harder conditioning says – “You can have it all AND you can do it all by yourself.” It whispers that asking for help is a sign of weakness. That we should be ashamed to admit we need others. That’s toxic independence. It keeps us isolated and small and unable to articulate what we need or say aloud that we’re struggling.
What if you gave yourself permission to ask for help?
I know it’s scary and vulnerable and maybe people have let you down in the past or made you feel like your request was a burden. Please remember that humans are not solitary animals (not even introverts). We’re meant to work together. To come together in community. And we all love to feel needed. Asking for help isn’t weak – it’s courageous. Asking for help isn’t shameful – it’s an expression of our humanity.
What village do you need to surround yourself with so that you can reach your goals? Or make changes to your Wheel of Life?
We’ve learned during this pandemic that our relationships are vital to us. We’ve wrestled with loneliness and physically craved hugs. And we’ve learned that we all need help. Consider this your permission slip to ask for what you need.
Love notes from Death
There is so much we leave unsaid or undone because we’re afraid or anxious. Change is scary. And rewriting our conditioning is always a challenging, ongoing process.
Death lovingly reminds us that our time here is limited. That tomorrow is promised to no one. So, let these words serve as an invitation to:
Say what’s on your heart: Gratitude. Love. Encouragement. Clear the air. Ask for forgiveness. Offer forgiveness to others. Tap into your righteous rage and use it to advocate for those who don’t have a voice. Give voice to what your heart is dying to say (pun fully intended).
Do the thing you want to: Book the trip. Start the business. Write the book. Ask them out to dinner. Make the phone call. Apply for the promotion. Move out of the city. Get the dog. Buy the damn Dyson vacuum (yep, this one is mine ;).
Bronnie Ware is a former palliative care nurse and the author of The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying. She witnessed firsthand the anguish of patients who chose not to say what was on their hearts or do the things they felt called to do. It became the inspiration for her book and it can be an inspiration for us too, to live the most courageous, stunning, and adventurous lives we can imagine.
The top 5 regrets of the dying are:
1. I wish I‘d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
3. I wish I had stayed in touch with friends.
4. I wish I had the courage to express my feelings.
5. I wish I had let myself be happier.
This is your chance. Right now. This moment. To decide that whatever regrets you may have – it won’t be these. What small change can you make today? What heart-whispers have you been ignoring?
You’re the only one who can create the life you want. Everything that is currently in your life is the result of a choice you’ve made…choose wisely.
Be Still. Choose peace.
If busyness is a choice then maybe so is peace. Why do we only wish people to rest in peace when we can live in peace too? I think there’s a stillness that exists within all of us beneath the turbulence of our lives. It’s there when we’re navigating change, tiptoeing through chaos, or grieving a loss. All those things can make it harder to access our peace but it’s still there.
And when you figure out your favourite way to access it (maybe it’s breath, yoga, journaling, meditation, running, painting, etc) – and you make it a daily practice, it becomes easier to bring that peace, that stillness, into any moment.
That stillness allows us to pause and recognize the voice that says – “you don’t deserve rest” – is full of shit. Peace empowers us to make a different choice. It allows the quiet voice of our intuition to be heard.
The stillness allows us to step off the hamster wheel of busyness and assess our priorities, ask if we’re spending time on the things that make us happy or caught up in the idea of what our lives are “supposed” to be. Sometimes it helps to journal about your ideal weekday and weekend. It doesn’t mean you need to overhaul your entire life to make it come true or burn everything to the ground and start from scratch. But it WILL show you what’s most important right now. Where your heart is directing your focus. And what you need to make more space for (which, of course, means spending less time on other things).
Because here’s the thing, no one is coming to save you. Only YOU have the power to make these changes in your life.
Peace allows us to see that there are always more options instead of getting caught up in “all or nothing”, “my way or the highway” or defeatist thinking.
Peace gives us clarity because it allows us to hear the whispers of our hearts. And when you have peace and clarity together you have a deep-in-your-bones knowing that allows you to make courageous decisions for yourself.
If we choose busyness and busyness comes before burnout then we need to make new choices to avoid that place of overwhelm and exhaustion. We need to allow ourselves to receive, ask for help, and to take a step back and see the big picture of our lives. It’s a natural time of year to reflect and pause as we prepare for 2022. Maybe now is the perfect time to grab your journal and some hot chocolate and see what’s been on your heart lately.
We need to give ourselves permission to rest, to say what needs to be said, to do the things we’re aching to do so that we don’t find ourselves on our deathbeds one day saying, “If only I had….” And we need to carve time to connect with the stillness that exists within all of us and bring it into our everyday lives so that we can focus on what is most important and respond mindfully. I wonder what would shift in our lives if we became committed to choosing peace…
If you’re not sure where to start…begin here. What permission slip are you going to write for yourself today?
- Take a nap?
- Play with paints?
- Ask for help?
- Reconnect with a friend?
- Let it be easy?
Share your permission slip with me over on Instagram.