What direction is your compass?

Do you ever get that feeling that things aren’t quite aligned? When you look around you, everything seems to be in place but there’s this niggle that just won’t go away – a bit like a fly on a hot summers’ day! You wave it away and everything is fine yet invariably it keeps coming back!

I get this feeling all-the-time. I used to think I was ungrateful and hard to please but now I know that’s not the case. Instead, I know it’s a sign that I’m out of alignment with my values and what’s important to me. It’s my body telling me to stop and take stock of where I am at. To slow down, breathe and re-set as I’m in a place where what I am doing or saying is not aligned to my values. For me it starts with a feeling of restless and then grows into a state of discontent and then manifests into stress and overwhelm. What does it look like for you?

This is where I found myself this morning, with a long internal to do list. One of those that keeps circulating in my head and can’t seem to make its way on paper where I can make sense of it, schedule it and then feel on top of it. When my head spins like this I can’t focus, and I can’t sit still – the two things I need to do to get out of this downward spiral! Do you know what I mean? Fortunately for me I now recognise this for what it is and so I can stop, deal with it, recalibrate and move on. But for a long time, I couldn’t and the reason I couldn’t is because of the meaning and the story I had attached to this state.

So, let’s back up a bit. We’ve grown up in world that has told us, through varying means and tactics, what we should want, what we should strive for and what we should be grateful for. And yet when we achieve this, we still find ourselves in moments of discontent. The reason for this is because what we are supposed to value and what we actually value don’t always match. And so, we attach meanings and stories to things to help us bridge that gap.

For me this morning, that looks like my old story of how I work best under pressure. This idea that being busy makes me important and needed. I do perform well under pressure and so I have a tendency to manufacture it when I’m feeling invisible or rather ordinary. I grew up in a house of busyness. My mum was always doing something and if it wasn’t the housework, she was ironing while we all watched a movie or cleaning the pool while we were all swimming. You get the drift. My dad was very similar.

When we recognise the stories, even when they are as benign as the one I’ve just recalled, we get the opportunity to review the meaning we’ve attached to them. Being busy in my house got you positive attention. In fact, we had a set of rituals that started with being busy and then being rewarded – and this included Christmas Day! So, you can see how returning to this place of being busy to get the relief became a pattern for me.

The problem is I no longer value busyness or what it brings. Therefore, when I get into this state, I am not aligned with what I do value which is slow living and peace of mind. So, when I start to act this way it is no longer congruent with how I see myself and so I create this internal conflict. Can you see how this works?

Digging deep to find your origin stories and the meanings you attach are a powerful way to disrupt unhealthy patterns, particularly those that lead to feelings of restlessness and discontent – a clear indication that what you value, what you do and what you say are not congruent. These stories live deep within us and the meanings we have attached become the compass we use to direct our life. If you want to be in charge and design a life you love on your terms, then you have to do the work and rewrite the stories and their meanings.

I used to believe that personal growth was about accepting fate and learning how to respond, but now I understand that it’s about digging up the old compass that’s no longer pointing in the direction I want to go and replacing it with a new one that does!

So next time you start to feel restless. Stop what you are doing. Ask yourself if what you are doing aligns with your values and the way you see yourself. If the answer is no then find some quiet time, grab your journal, go for a run, take a hot bath or whatever you like to do, and come back to yourself and listen to hear what she has to say. That’s the magic that lives in all of us.

Email me and let me know if this resonates with you and what steps you take to realign and get back onto balance.

PS: this is what we are covering in Module 2 of Life. Done By Design. If it’s something that you might be interested in, then pop on the waitlist and I’ll let you know when we’re getting ready to open enrolments again.

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