don’t tell me how to live, inspire me to listen (to myself)
perhaps it’s a life time of the good-girl-people-pleasing-be-nice-at-all-costs cocktail that has steadily reached stagnancy. maybe it’s because i’m the daughter of a police officer and i was bound to spend at least a small portion of my adult life rebelling. it might even be because i’ve recently realised the potency of my own voice and am currently swinging between extremes, testing out limits and questioning the unquestionable.
quite frankly, i’m incredibly sure it’s a dash of all of the above with a healthy sprinkle of shadows and blind spots. will i soften and change my mindset in a few months, a couple of years? who knows? i don’t. but what i do know is this:
i do not like being told what to do or how to live. at. all.
i am extremely reactive when confronted with a formula of how i’m supposed to live my life, even by my loved ones who have the best intentions (sorry not sorry guys).
i’m currently undertaking a philosophy-heavy yoga teacher training and let me tell me you it has been an internal shit-fight of rebellion, self-righteousness and acceptance. my inner brat yells: “i’m not bloody interested in this thing that sounds suspiciously like enlightenment (samadhi) or your outdated rules on how to get there - and if i was, i’d find my own way thanks”
headstrong or defiant with a sprinkle of resistance? i’ll let you decide.
the honest truth is i have to figure things out for myself. not because i’m closed minded or stubborn (ok maybe a little) - but because i have to feel it to believe it. i have to question what works for me, myself and i before i take on what someone else in another body with another lifestyle is suggesting. i am and will always be the four-year-old with their hand raised asking ‘why? why this way? what about this point of view?’
the phrase ‘my teacher/mentor/coach says’ makes me balk a little. don’t get me wrong, i most definitely have a healthy respect for the journey, training and wisdom that these people pass on – this is admirable and they are often incredible, living with knowledge that i could only dream of (most of my dearest friends are teachers, coaches, healers and leaders).
i simply believe that we are all having wildly different experiences on this planet, in these bodies at any given moment. we each hold beautiful and diverse stories, histories, joyful experiences, traumatic experiences, learned behaviours and entirely different perceptions of this adventure we call life. i don’t believe for a moment that there is a single diet, philosophy, lifestyle or mindset that fits all. what might have saved you may not save me – who might have saved you, is unlikely to save me.
what i do believe, though, is that it is up to us to discern what is right for ourselves, in any given moment, at any given time. this can remain the same for decades or it can change in an instant. most of us* are lucky that we have the right to question systems, processes and philosophies until we are blue in the face. we get to decide what fits us and what doesn’t. we get to choose: perhaps the most empowering thought of all.
it has taken me a lifetime to arrive here. my inner guide has yet to fail me, despite years of me squishing it down in favour of ‘but _____ said i should’. even if it looked like a short, sharp nose dive into mistake city: the lessons were abundant and unavoidable – they made me who i am today.
here is what i wish someone had challenged me with much, much earlier in life:
i don’t want to know what your teacher/family/boss/friend/doctor says – i want to know what you say. i’m dying to know how you feel, what you love and what you believe. what feels right and what doesn’t?
to close i will leave you with this:
empower me to choose my own path. encourage me to consider different philosophies, ponder over the vast buffet of belief we are presented with. challenge my questions. question my questions. share with me your adventure. remind me to connect with my own innate wisdom. inspire me to listen to my own inner guru and learn from my own mistakes - but please, please: don’t tell me how to live.
*i say most of us as i am aware that in parts of this world, questioning a system is unfortunately risky, dangerous and at times life threatening.