It's time to take off your Yoga tinted glasses!

Over the last week or so, I have read a number of articles and spoken to a number of people on some different issues being brought up with regards to Yoga, the practice, the teaching, the 'industry' and in general our understanding of what it means to a person.

In all my reading and discussions, this is where I have to say before you formulate an ideal in your mind, before you find your definitive answers, try removing those Yoga tinted glasses.  Think outside the Yoga mat as such!

This is where I feel lucky to have a come through a range of learning paradigms physically and mentally, that I participate not only in a physical yoga practice daily but that I enjoy climbing, running, and in general moving.

The issues I notice being brought up online and in discussions are usually regarding best practice, safety for individuals bodies, alignment etc.  What needs to be understood here though is these discussions will continue to happen and they happen across the board in the 'fitness' industry and in any teaching/coaching profession as far as I can see.

I came across this one blog post last week 'Am I the problem with Crossfit?' , the author explores the idea that instead of finding fault with Crossfit practices or coaches or specific gyms or online promotion, question yourself and your approaches, question how you move, are you listening to advice, are you moving safely and without pain?

I loved this blog, I feel it accurately describes what a lot of us need to do in everything, and that is to take responsibility.  It also shows that a lot of us who question the specific activities that we are involved in can look to other activities and see that these questions are being raised in a range of different areas and between different communities.

Asking questions is a great way to learn, but can you reach an understanding of yourself without contradicting the viewpoint of someone else?  Can you establish how you learn, how you navigate through the movements in your body to find progression without feeling negative about someone else's practices or methods?  Can you see that how you move and learn is amazing and how they move and learn is amazing for them?  Can you learn to be so open that you can share your viewpoint and also listen to others?

Then......can you then let go of all the opinions and viewpoints and have a little fun and feel how moving is about connecting not disconnecting.  When we have so many thoughts swimming around we cannot just feel and be in the moment.  

An opinion is just an opinion it is not who you are and as your opinions will change over time as you learn try not to get attached to too many of them.

Yoga is great but it is one avenue, not the only avenue...if you feel stuck or feel you are not learning anymore, try another movement, try strengthening activities, try mobility, go dancing, get outside for a run!  With so many ways to enjoy your body and learn, all avenues can only help in bringing us closer to understanding of ourselves.  

There is no right or wrong, there is only learning, so with less thought and more action, respect the avenues and each other and forget about the rules and the definitions.

 

Choice

We find ourselves towards the end of January,  a great time, well it can only start getting better! Spring is on its way!

My last two blog posts to begin this year, have been on the concepts of Intention and Commitment.  Bringing yourself into 2015 and creating a strong vision, then creating actions and sticking to them to fulfil your vision.

I posted a video on Facebook about daring to dream last week which encompasses these ideas well. Considering how to really remind ourselves why we are doing what we are doing and what it is we would like to achieve.

Todays blog is then with regard to Choice…..

With all our intention and all our commitment, we are often faced with choices.  How do we choose???

Then, there are all those occasions where you think you have no choice…..I would go so far as to say You always have a choice.  If a family member is sick and you need to be there for them, you are still choosing, if you have a deadline in work that needs to be done, you are still choosing.  You are always making a choice!  There may be things you would rather do, or would find more enjoyable but in light of the factors taken into consideration and after weighing things up, you will have made a choice.

There is always a CHOICE.

Acknowledging this not only creates a sense of empowerment but more importantly I feel it creates Freedom.

Why is this sense of freedom important?  It is important because in the space of feeling freedom, you have space to choose what serves you best, you have space to be your best self, you have space to acknowledge the person you are and aspire to be.  In this space, you can find that even when you think there is no choice or there are only two opposites, that there may be an array of options, there may be choices you didn't even know existed or had not considered.

I recently watched the movie Wild, in this movie there is a constant referral to the theme of choice and self empowerment.  The lead character at a point is regretting many of the choices she has made and when she meets a man on her travels she asks if he would change things he has done or if he has regrets (video below at 1.29).  But to him, he didn’t have a choice. “Never been a time in my life when there’s been a fork in my road,” he says.  It seems to him that by feeling like he had no choice, he in reflecting can have no regrets.  However in this way, one would sort of live never knowing what could have been, never feeling their own strength, never feeling like the steps taken can be chosen and paved from your choices.

Sometimes we don't want to make choices because we are afraid of making the wrong ones.  Sometimes the fear of an unwanted result or outcome or the unknown prevents us from taking the lead in the choice making.  In wanting to stay safe as such, we avoid choices or acknowledging choices.

But…by taking a back seat, by being the passenger in choices as opposed to the driver, we risk never seeing or feeling our true potential.  We risk never truly knowing ourselves. Even our perceived ‘bad’ choices provide us with valuable lessons and maybe even more life learning than our perceived ‘good’ choices. 

Sometimes we have become so used to others making choices or being told which choice to make that we have forgotten how to decide for ourselves.

All choices are your own, OWN them, own yourself, learn from everything. 

As always, challenge yourself and grow…….

In moving forward into this year, create your vision, make your choices and Commit!

 

Intention

So how are you doing so far this January?  According to the media, yesterday was to have been our toughest Monday of the year-so you survived that!

In my last blog post I wrote about Commitment and the idea of staying true to your goals/intentions.

So today looking a bit more at Intention and what this means for you.

In my classes I speak a lot about creating the right intention but how do you know what the right intention is?

When you do take time to connect to yourself, to breathe, to sit, to let go of all the thoughts and distractions, you will find a space is created.  In that space and in those moments, there is an opportunity to feel, to be present rather than to think.

How often do we really feel? How often do we really connect to our hearts desire?  When you feel a fire light inside, an excitement, even a nervousness at the prospect of a new idea, a new challenge.

So often we wrap ourselves up in all the 'should's', the 'have to's', 'need to's', we see all the practicalities in our lives, the expectations of others, our image.  Pressure to excel in our careers, our sports, to perform or live in a certain way can create so many thoughts and cloud our sense of ourselves and connection to our true intention.

So when sitting in that space, in that time to yourself, pick an intention that excites you, that makes you want to get out of bed in the morning.  Sometimes the action of going for that run, or avoiding that piece of cake can feel like a chore BUT if each action is so infused with your intention, you begin to live everyday in such a way that you do not even think about it anymore, you feel natural, you complete all your actions in tune with yourself and what serves you best.

If we create pressure around intentions, if we feel we are forcing, there will be a breaking point.  If however, we take the time to feel our intention, to understand why it is we want to complete certain actions, then they will become your entire way of behaving and being.

Intention is about reshifting your entire understanding and connection to yourself, about knowing how certain habits to date may have been unconsciously carried out over long periods of time but that with your intention and attention to your actions, you have infinite potential to redesign the way you move through life.

Commitment

'Books are infinite in number, and time is short, therefore the secret of knowledge is to take what is essential.  Take that and try to live up to it.' - Swami Vivekananda

As we finally emerge out of the Christmas/New Years Haze, we can step into January, take time to reflect and emerge with clarity and purpose.  

In our lives there is a time for everything.  After a few weeks of perhaps a little less discipline, a lot more socialising etc., it is now a good time to take some time to yourself and take stock.

If you are looking at specific ideas or goals you have at this time of year, one thing that is key is Commitment!

In times of commitment, of dedication to a specific goal there may be sacrifices, there may be a lot of other things you have to say No to.  It may feel difficult, it may feel like its not really worth it, it may feel like you are the only one on your road when you look at friends/peers etc.......BUT with that sacrifice, with that focus, comes a sense of purpose.  With the direction of your focus and energy, you can through commitment open up spaces to learn a lot about yourself.

If we dip in and out of this or that, there may be short term enjoyment or pleasure but it is in the 'staying', it is in the moments of doubt and the moments that it feels tough that we can really learn.  Those moments are where the 'Gold' is!

'At some point it is recommended to get in one boat if you really want to get to the other shore.' - Cyndi Lee

Commitment does not have to just mean to a specific goal/target and aiming ourselves there blindly.  It does not have to mean rigidity and focusing solely on one outcome. Think of your commitment as choosing a path, a way to travel regardless of the destination.  A way to consistently tune in and listen to your body, your mind and to hear and connect to your needs and desires.

2014 for me did not exactly go according to my original plan!  Following a niggling shoulder issue, I made the decision to take a break from my climbing training and to postpone an end of year climbing trip.  A break from training can seem daunting at first, can seem inconceivable to one's routine and sense of being.  A break can seem like a 'weakness' or drop in commitment or effort, however, by taking breaks, by letting go in the name of overall progression, longevity and sustainability of a pursuit, an ultimate commitment is made.  Committing to a lifetime of an activity/pursuit, rather than short term gains or enjoyment.

This bigger picture perspective can show its head in many aspects of our lives.  If we enable ourselves to see the overall aim/goal, we enable ourselves to have much greater freedom in our paths, rather than restriction.  Commitment to these alterations/adaptations/surprises in your plans will allow you to create much more flexibility in your mind to potential, to possibilities and open up to an array of opportunities you may not have originally perceived.

In this New Year, it can feel like there are so many ideas, special offers, information being thrown at you.  A lot of these short term goals, of chopping and changing can just create more distraction to distance you from yourself.  It is important to connect to yourself, decide what you and you alone wish to commit to.  Make a decision to truly commit, regardless of all the reasons not to, of all the reasons it may feel difficult.  It is when we commit we can really see all the ways we hide from ourselves, we can get sneaky and be dishonest!  When you truly see this and open up to it, you have the power to let those habits go and embrace a more positive and open way of being.

Commitment creates mental strength.  In your challenge you will grow, you will open up and in those moments of truth, any doubt, any fears will disappear and you will find Bliss.

Happy New Year and in 2015 I wish you every health and happiness, to find your path and commit., Naomi***

Training, your body and taking a step back

Approaching the end of the year I find myself at that sort of reflective ‘How has my year gone’ phase and ‘How am I moving forward?’

As I have been climbing for the last 10 years, everything usually revolves around that!  Training, planning and going on trips, thinking of the next adventure or goal.

However, when I sat down a couple of weeks ago thinking about training and climbing, I knew something had been niggling at me for a while.  I knew deep down that I needed a break, that my constant training and planning needed to be put aside for a while.  I’ve had a little shoulder issue for a couple of months now and it is time to get on the path to mending it.  After slightly ignoring it and hoping it would get better with some attention and all of my regular training, I've finally realised that it will take dedicated attention and that means time off climbing and off training.

But it’s not always easy to know when to back off from training and what we are used to.

For everyone there can be a lot of pressure out there to TRAIN HARD! To work out, to look good, to perform better.

It is hard to take a step back out of this pressure to BEING BETTER.

Golden Rule!

Its important to know when training, or participating in your sports/hobbies that sometimes things are not very linear.  We all want to believe that the answer is train, get strong, train, get better, train and then bingo! your goals are achieved, success and move on!

But what starts to happen when the next goal doesn't seem to be within your grasp, when it seems like you are not getting stronger, when it seems like there is no progression.

Mostly there are a number for reasons for this happening but what we tend to do is answer this problem with ‘oh I should probably just train harder, or more often, or just keep doing what Im doing and hope I still get better’!

It may seem obvious but the above approach will not help and you probably don't even know when you are the one doing that.

Progression can be stinted as I said for a number of reasons and the only way to really figure out what it is for you, is to take a step back, to review your goals, what it is you actually would like to be doing and formulate an idea of how to go about it and the potential factors that need to be worked on to get you there.

When I took my recent step back, I realised I've been wanting to figure out some things about my shoulders for a while now.  I want to build on some obvious weaknesses, I want to increase mobility and improve my overall core strength.  I want to do all this not only to benefit activities like climbing or my practice in Yoga but so that I can enjoy moving in my body better, pain free and confidently.  Taking a long term perspective on your body, your health and your overall goals can really hep to take the immediate pressure off of needing to ‘perform’!

These revelations can only come through taking that step back and asking yourself what are you trying to achieve.

Finding Your Purpose in Training/Sports etc

Try imagining this yourself:

Every time you train, you are working towards something bigger; think about what this is for you.

It might be that when you reach a certain age you still want to be able to perform a particular skill, for example, a cartwheel; or if you have children you want to have the energy to play with them. Whatever it is, use it as a way of putting your physical health and your training into perspective.

Be in the moment each time you train, remaining mindful of your reasons why and what you want for your future.

Mostly I would say that if you keep perspective you will stay true to your own values, for me I find that I am motivated most to enjoy myself, to enjoy my body, to feel freedom and any 'pressure' beyond that creates tension and restriction.  

Allowing Movement to Free You, Rather Than Restrict You

There is a much bigger picture, but only if we want to see it.  Movement should allow you to free yourself from fear, doubt, pain, allow you to feel strong, confident, energised…the list goes on.

Rather than getting stuck on the path of pushing to perform or restricted by our ego’s pushing us to the limits in this attempt to be better.

We can all get too caught up with how we think we should be and what we think we should want or what other expect of us.

Every time you train it’s not just about right now – it’s also an investment in your future and for your health. 

I know I don’t want to train excessively for the next ten years only to end up with an injury that forces me to slow down or worse, stop altogether. I also don’t want to close myself off to other opportunities I might come across in my life.

What it Means to Find Balance

To be balanced means relinquishing some of the “control” that we hold onto and think we have, but that actually controls us.

It means letting things go to make space for something else or someone else in your life.

It’s being given that permission, from either yourself or someone else, to expand your tunnel vision and see everything outside of the focus you have solely on your training. Look left, you see adventure, look right, there may be opportunities for fun, excitement, time with friends, family etc.  Stepping back from the training routine may open up a whole new way of looking at things for you.

I know for me now that I am changing my routine a little, at first this was a bit daunting and I felt pressure to still train and climb, but now I feel like I can enjoy a whole range of other things and get excited at being a beginner in activities again.  I know that in the long run when I return to climbing I will feel better for having taken an holistic long term approach.

Get What You Really Want Out of Life

Whatever age we are it’s so important to take care of our bodies. We want to be strong and healthy to be there for the people who need us, but we have to start with being there for ourselves.

 

It’s about finding balance and staying aware of what we are experiencing with our training and with life.

Sometimes we need that reminder from someone else to slow down, or think about how what we are doing will effect us in the long run.  It is better ultimately to make this choice and feel empowered rather than having an injury or burn out force us into decisions.

Movement makes our quality of life better if we respect and take care of our bodies.

When I climb or practice yoga, I’m constantly looking to find balance, and it’s the same with the rest of my life as well.

I’m looking for balance and trying to take things a little less seriously, so I can enjoy my life with the freedom I have to move in my body.

 

Your 3rd option.....

Have you ever noticed how certain reactions you have to situations never quite get the results you would like?

Often in life when we are faced with difficulties or problems we tend to react in two ways.  

The first being to ignore the problem or the challenge which of course leads to suppressed feelings and un dealt with emotions and issues.

The second way is, when the problem crops up, to face it head on to complete exhaustion which more than likely leads you back to approach one!

We tend to use these two approaches over and over, neither of which being entirely successful.

The good news is, there is a 3rd option.  

With any problems or issues that you are facing, take a couple of moments to sit with the exact issue at hand and bring it into a simple meditation practice.  Allow yourself to observe how you feel and what thoughts occur around the issue.  Without judgement or criticism or wanting things to be another way, just observation.

In this way you give yourself time to become aware of what exactly the issue is calling from you, what exactly the situation may be that you may be having trouble with.  In this way giving yourself some uninterrupted time to allow new ways of responding to develop.

This in time means that you are not a) avoiding the issue or b) banging your head against a wall with it.  You are now capable of using a new response to effectively move forward with awareness and clarity.

Your problems or challenges will not go away but your ability to deal with them can drastically change as you learn to take a step back.

Often in the company of others or when listening to others opinions and stories it can become extremely confusing at times to make choices and decide what the best thing to do in a situation is.  For me taking some time out really helps with aligning what I feel is truly the best decision to move forward with.

The next time something crops up for you, where you feel challenged or unsure and you have a feeling of wanting to rush in and run away at the same time, try the 3rd option and see what happens.........

Too much information can be Toxic

I heard this phrase recently and it got me thinking....

I would have to say I definitely agree.  With so much information available to us these days right at our finger tips, it can remove us from the joy of actually experiencing something.  Like anything in life when it goes beyond a certain point, over informing can be detrimental.

The surest way to remove yourself from opinion mode and into experiencing mode is to 'do' something.  In my case, be it with climbing or yoga, as soon as I feel Im getting a little too theoretical or overloading with information, the simplest cure is to get on my mat or go climbing!  When I 'do' what I love, everything else falls away, nothing else matters, I go into the moment.

I definitely think information helps, and education is the key to success in anything but its achieving that balance, allowing time for the mind and the body.

I hear from many people new to yoga about their confusion surrounding everything 'Yoga' and its understandable as to why there may be confusion.  With so many different mixed messages on the internet, pictures, articles, videos.  This can create a great sense of overwhelm and distract us from the heart of the matter.

I find personally as soon as I spend too much time reading, viewing and generally perusing the internet, I find my mind start to go a little foggy and I find I do start questioning. With so many opinions or options or ideas being thrown out there, it can distract from what you actually enjoy or believe yourself.

In Yoga, it is spoken about in many texts the concept of going beyond thoughts, controlling your awareness in a focused way to experience a greater connection to yourself and sense of enlightenment, applying that to our modern day life, with so much going on in the mind it is important to let it go every so often.

I also have had in recent times conversations with more experienced yogis and heard similar confusion and doubt expressed with regard to which training they should pursue next or where they should study.  There is SO much information out there and trying to decipher which will be beneficial or will be of value is not so clear.

In the cases of people new to Yoga or any activity for that matter or those more experienced I would say DO more.  Go to classes, get a feel for how you sit with the practice, observe how you feel afterwards and what effects the practice has on you.  The more and more you connect to yourself the better.  Let yourself experience your body and breath connection, practice and practice some more and listen.  Questions will emerge naturally and as they do you will know what kind of information you want to seek out and what you are looking for.

Then pick up a book or two, read direct from the source, read about why yoga started, read about its evolution.  Then and only then begin to read interpretations, philosophies and modern day 'takes' on everything yoga.  Once you have established a grounding in yourself and your understanding of yoga, you can read how others understand it and you can take or leave what resonates with you.

For those more experienced yogi's looking for the next training, I would almost say the same.  Often with all the types, styles and abundance of teachers and classes we can attend it can become a little blurry as to why we entered the practice in the first place.  If you find you are ever confused, go back to your mat, sit a little longer and with time, questions will emerge, you will begin to realise what you are looking for and where you would like to go next.  Finding the training then will fall into place as you have a greater understanding of your needs.

For everyone in anything in life, staying grounded admits the drama, the noise and all those around you, will help you stay true to yourself and release any need to worry about anything someone else is doing or what is being shown on the internet!  You know what you enjoy, you know what you love and you also know even beyond all that, who you are, so any other information is toxic and crowds the mind.


There is nothing wrong with being Strong!

Over the last two months I have taught some workshops on strengthening.  Developing strength both physically and mentally is amazingly empowering.  I have noticed however, that there is a lot of fear around strengthening, a lot of apprehension and doubt.

Having been involved in climbing now for a number of years, strengthening physically is something I am well used to.  It has taken me a number of years though to get my head around strengthening as such and whether it is good or bad and how it sits with me in all that I have learnt in yoga and in my yoga practice and life. 

When we think of strength, especially females I think, we conjure up images of bulky, muscle dripping figures, this creates a lot of fear immediately as with all that muscle, with all that strength, will I lose my femininity?  Going a little deeper, with a cultivation of more masculine characteristics, will my feminine characteristics of compassion and sensitivity be lost?

To this end people shy away from strengthening, for fear of losing themselves and that which they may value.

There are other reasons that cause fear, such as the fear of not being good enough, not being able and not being enough. 

In my workshop yesterday I spoke about three ways I feel we can address these fears......

1) Knowledge is power- Whether it is gaining more knowledge to stay safe in your physical yoga practice, gaining the key instructions on how to develop physical strength and move into postures or if it is gaining knowledge about a new situation in your life, a new job you would like to apply for or skill you would like to develop-gaining knowledge, educating yourself will allow you to take the first steps towards alleviating fears.

2) Directed Efforts and time-Once you have the knowledge it is then important to direct your efforts and time, to be patient, to listen to your body and mind and how it responds.  To notice changes, to notice any resistance and to stay focused on that which you wish to achieve.  Whenever fear arises, keep your attention focused on the knowledge you have gained, the steps you need to take and with this focus, thoughts are taken away from being overwhelmed or afraid.

3) Your Intention-This point is absolutely paramount in any endeavour.  When you throughout any task or new stage in life become fearful, ask yourself, deep down, why am I here, why am I doing this?? If your answer is in line with your true values and the direction and path you wish to take in life, then this reassurance will help guide you away from fear and towards action.

Strength is not something we need to fear.  It does not mean over powering another or showing off.  It means being truly strong within, having courage to do what needs to be done, having the focus to follow through on goals.  Strength in balance with all aspects of our character means the ability to be compassionate, to be sensitive and to still stand our own ground, to feel empowered and confident in ourselves.

True strength means being yourself, embodying all that you truly value and releasing fears to grow and learn and love the life you live.

What are your priorities?

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog on my experience with Gratitude.  This practice has really shifted my perspective in a lot of ways and continues to surprise me.

I began to notice so many good things in my life and value and appreciate them.  This creates a general feeling of happiness which is great!  I recognise with greater clarity that which is important to me and what my priorities are.

Priorities

With the help of a friend recently I was asked what are my top priorities in life?  What do I place importance on, what do I value most, what do I need in my life as such?

What I have realised in looking at my life, is that there are a number of things I would call my top priorities (I've actually 5 to be precise!) It is not necessarily relevant what mine are but perhaps ask yourself the same question, what is most important to you in your life?

In looking at my 5 priorities, I became suddenly very clear that no one priority was more important than another.  I realised that to lead a happy, content and balanced life, each will take about 20% on a daily to weekly basis.  Throughout your life at any time one priority may take a greater percentage of your time and energy and the others will be sacrificed, but are you willing to make this sacrifice where it is needed and be content with that e.g. if you have an end of month work deadline which means you cannot socialise or if you have a family member or friend who needs your help which means you cannot go on your weekend away.

As long as we recognise that there will be some shifts from time to time but most of the time all our priorities are being taken care of and in harmony then your life will be a very full one.  That is also as long as we recognise the effort needed to maintain this balance in our priorities and we will then have greater equanimity and balance, e.g. call that friend you say you have been meaning to or take your sister/brother/mother out for lunch or clean the house-whatever your priorities are!

What I have noticed is that some problems arise when we place too much emphasis and importance on certain aspects of our life and fail to notice all that we have, hence how my gratitude practice here has helped me a lot!  

For a long time I was convinced that Climbing was my No.1 priority in life, I was thinking about it a lot, obsessing even! Thinking about trips, going climbing, what I would like to do and where I would like to go.  This constant thinking about climbing was not exactly making me happy, in fact it often made me sad.  I felt I was never where I wanted to be, that I wanted to be somewhere else, that I wanted to be doing something else, that if only I could have climbing more often, I would be happier.

In all of this spiral of thinking, I failed to appreciate all of the other priorities in my life that are equally important.  I failed to really be grateful for those and appreciate that climbing is not everything.

Climbing is definitely still important to me and I love it, when I go training, when Im in the outdoors, all of it.  I feel now that my perspective has shifted, I appreciate what it adds to my life without the constant 'wanting' more.  I still strive to improve and am enthusiastic and motivated but its without the chasing and missing out on everything else that is around me.

With perspective and gratitude we can really see how full our lives are, we can pursue good ends with good means but not get wrapped up in running after that which we believe will make us happier.  Its about being in the moment and being content with what that moment has to give, thats what brings peace of mind.

What is it you wish to do with your life?

What is it you wish to do with your life?.....Read on if you are interested in taking the time to really think about this!

Throughout our day we often think about many different things and for some it boils down to a gnawing desire to find their true lives purpose.  We often ask the same questions over and over and give ourselves the same answers.  We can often feel stuck in certain situations and not know how to break cycles or repeated patterns, or how to encourage and embrace a life that we truly love and enjoy that which we are truly passionate about.

To break these cycles, it is really important to go beyond the everyday questions, to go beyond the everyday drama of who said what and when.  To go beyond dislikes of certain people in work or how this or that person behaves.  When we dig a little deeper we come to the realisation that the only reason we get caught up with any of that is because we are unsatisfied or not answering the bigger questions.

It may seem time consuming or not worthwhile but for anyone who is consumed daily with repeated thought patterns or sequences of events, that certainly becomes all in all more time consuming!

Below are some interesting thoughts and questions if you wish to reflect and think about what your lives purpose may be.......

Our life’s purpose has a number of names – some call it a calling, others their dharma, some reference as their passion or niche, but in essence what all these labels have in common is that they are unique expression of something that only you can offer the world.

Your life’s purpose is deeply personal, and it’s so ingrained in us that sometimes we overlook it, or even take it for granted.

If you’re ready to illuminate your true calling; if you’re ready to tap into your most authentic self and discover the gifts, teachings, and messages that only you can bring to the world, I invite you to take some time for self-reflection and answer the questions below.

What do you feel called to do, teach, or share?

Is there something is your life that calls to you. Remember, this calling may have little to do with your vocation or even your hobbies. Perhaps you find yourself offering advice whenever you get the chance in order to help people overcome life’s obstacles, or maybe you love to share the teachings in the latest green living book you read. Notice what you innately are called to do – are you a teacher, an observer, a care giver, a healer? It will tell you a lot about what you were put here on this earth to do.

What do people ask your advice about?

When people come to you for advice, what do they ask you about? Parenting? Healthy living? Cars? Spirituality? Technology? Home repairs? There’s no right or wrong answer here. We all have a unique set of talents and gifts, none are more valuable than others, and they are all needed.


What do people compliment you about?

If you receive a compliment, do you really listen to it and appreciate it, or do you brush it off? If you’re anything like most people out there, you likely downplay it. Instead of discouraging compliments, view them as insights into your soul. When someone gives you genuine praise, listen to what they’re telling you. They’re likely valuing an innate talent or gift that you possess, and it might be one that you don’t even think about or notice. The thing is, oftentimes the elements of ourselves that are most valued are the ones we take for granted because they seem second nature to us. We think, “doesn’t everyone love organizing?” or “doesn’t everyone feel empathy for homeless pets?”, but the truth is not everyone does feel that way or possess that talent – it’s unique to you! And, it may just be the key to your life’s purpose.

What lights you up?

What could you spend hours doing without tiring? What could you talk about endless without hitting a wall of boredom? If you had a totally free day, how would you spend it? When you take inventory of what lights you up, you start to get clear on the special role that’s been carved out just for you. Though you may think that anyone would get pleasure from spending a day hiking in the woods, it’s simply not the case. Though you may assume anyone would love to curl up with a classic novel and a cup of tea, it’s not so. There are certain things that light you up, and they light you up for a reason. Explore it.

Who do you love spending your time with?

This is a really important question to consider as you investigate your life’s purpose. Sure, we’ll likely all say we love spending time with our family and friends, but let’s dive a little deeper. What kind of person brings out the best in you? Someone who’s high-energy and a total go-getter, or would that kind of person burn you out? Perhaps, you prefer the devil’s advocate who helps you weigh life’s many possibilities, or maybe you feel you’re at your best when surrounded by the youthful energy of children. When you come to realize who you’re at your best with, you’ll also begin to realize why you’re at your best with them. You’ll notice what they’re igniting in you, and it may just be your life’s purpose.