My journey so far has been amazingly remarkable at times, and even cataclysmic and filled with wonderful challenges, but I always felt restless and longed for something more. I found myself on a quest to find that one thing that felt perfect for me. You might say I was on a single-minded search of my Divine purpose, my raison d’être, my ultimate Destiny.
It dawned on me that while I’d thought of myself as STRUGGLING because I was constantly reshaping myself, morphing from one professional role to another in pursuit of financial stability and a life of meaning and fulfillment – I had actually been living my life on my own terms. Who knew? What a revelation and a simple notion but it made all the difference to how I perceived myself and how I valued my lifelong pursuits. Apparently, I had bought into a social prescription that insists “we must have stable jobs, we must have a single defined vocation and excel in it and we must acquire monuments of all sorts as testaments to our success.” Whether these monuments come in the form of spreadable wealth, partaking of an affluent lifestyle or leaving a legacy that bears our individual identity, we all aspire to be inducted into a hall of fame, the Guinness Book of World Records or to join and graduate from a Master Class. This prescription like many on the market had a negative side effect for me, I call it the self harassment syndrome (SHS). Here I was a freelance international consultant – technical writer – facilitator – writing coach – artist and entrepreneur and yet I thought something was profoundly wrong with me, because I had not found a clear mandate from above. As one of my cousins so aptly put it, “we’re not even asking for a burning bush just a tiny hint would do.”
I so wanted a one word answer to that proverbial question people ask me at gatherings of any kind “so what do you do?” After I went through many ups and downs and nearly drove myself to the brink of burnout from my quest, I finally gave myself permission to just relax and find out where God would lead me. I was determined to stare my fear in the face and step into the unknown having removed everything except one single focus, Love.
Over time, with prayer and mediation and a bit of humble pie, I had more clarity and with the stress of getting to the conclusion removed, I had even more insight. My Eureka moment came when I heard myself saying if I am so conscientious as to not waste anything how would God? I realized that my Creator and Heavenly Father would certainly do something to make sure that I’d get to use all of what He gave me. As one blessed with a privileged upbringing, a loving family, good genes, common sense, lots of talent, imagination and curiosity, I felt responsible to make a difference in this world. Previously I had reached a deep low point and felt lost but here is the hint I’d been waiting for a long time. It led me to recognize that I can choose to make all of my life’s circumstances – even the painful ones count for something. That’s where the meaning to my journey lies. The purpose for my life’s detours and downfalls suddenly became crystal clear. I felt the burden dissolve and my spirit got lifted up.
The conversation in my head changed – life is not meant to be an indefinite struggle. Life is a STRADDLE between cultural paradigms and a state of mind that keeps us vacillating from I’m doing great to I‘m drowning.
So here are some tips for when you think you’re struggling:
- Good things happen when we relax; remember to exhale, slow down, look about and take in the Majesty of the Divine around you.
- Deadlines imposed by external forces do not write the chapters in our lives; we have time to find whatever we set our minds to. Time does not make us – it’s the other way around. Consider rearranging your priorities: that’ll help you to make the time for what fulfills and brings you joy.
- Give yourself permission to go against the grain or to choose to opt out.
- Be humble: we are not really in charge; it’s a less bumpy ride when we let God drive. Otherwise fear leads the way to dead ends.
- Check in frequently to see if you are listening to yourself and not just reacting to people or external forces.
- Change the conversation in your head and with those around you to an optimistic one filled with lofty ideas, truth, and a healthy respect and compassion for all. Avoid negative and toxic thoughts/conversations that sap your energy and flag desperation.
- Find balance between work and family, play and duty, self and community, faith and facts so you can endure through times of not knowing. Be poised to discover.
- Don’t fight yourself or anything that comes your way – be flexible and receive everything with continually loving energy. Love conquers all!
- Trust the invisible and indomitable spirit of abundance and infinite love that always reigns within; it will guide you moment to moment.
- Connect the dots at all times because you are given clues and support every step of the way.
- Accept the generosity that God sends your way and give thanks.
- You may be broke but you are never poor because you always have love to give and when you recognize your Divine gifts and embrace your inner wealth, abundance will flow towards you.
So when life gets you down and you feel that things are not going your way, just remember you are not struggling only straddling.