I used to give advice and guidance based on my intellect. I thought that knowing something meant you read it and understood it, but I have come to learn that true knowledge – at least in the context of personal growth – comes from the most basic life experience.
For years I tinkered on the brink of understanding the meaning of concepts like love, solitude, trust, fulfillment and happiness. I’ve read, studied, experienced and observed all of these and more in some form throughout my life, but I am still a novice at best.
This used to frustrate me because I truly believed that the only barrier between my ideal self, and the self I so desperately wanted to shed was how much I knew. But no matter how hard I tried I could never close the gap.
After years of submerging myself into the intoxicating (and commoditized) world of self-help, I have climbed up onto dry land to get a clearer picture of what it really means to live – I use this term with trepidation – authentically.
In the same way that life isn’t something to conquer, becoming the best version of yourself is an ongoing journey and practice in patience, humility and even failure.
I’m guilty of it myself. If I journal, meditate, hike, and maintain my daily gratitude list I should be good right? Not so easy it turns out. In my life those intentions (and they often stayed in the intention stage) found there way onto my to-do-list, and ultimately turned into additional cause for feeling unproductive.
I even took a three month class on Happiness hoping it would teach me how to find this slippery state of mind. I walked away feeling worse and more confused about what happiness is, and more importantly, why I couldn’t find it.
I lived in an interminable state of what’s wrong with me?
These things I was supposed to be an expert in, and doing myself had become chores that, if left undone, actually prevented me from being happy, mindful, confident and at peace.
As I sit in my home perched high up on a hill I can observe the process of growth more objectively. Severing myself from the noise in my head has allowed me to hear the truth along with the sounds of chimes and birds outside my window.
I am learning that being completely alone spawns creativity and enriches the soul. I don’t have to seek out my time alone, it’s a natural byproduct of how I live.
I am learning that my gratitude surfaces occasionally on it’s own when I feel the breeze on my face and crackling branches under my feet. I don’t search for gratitude, it finds me.
I’m learning that happiness is no longer something I need to define to understand. I feel it in my bones because I know in my heart that there isn’t somewhere else I should be.
I think the greatest battle is more often with keeping the things that make us unhappy and discontented at bay in order to make space for what we really want to experience.
There’s a pull to get away to discover what’s wrong, and I believe this isn’t far off from the reality of what needs to happen for any of us to get to the heart of the personal growth matter.
The feeling of being on vacation and not wanting to return to real life is a message not a given. We mistake vacation as being the dream and unrealistic even though it’s where where we’re happiest.
When you’re somewhere that feels good, whether it’s on a faraway island or in bed with your lover, don’t treat that positive experience as a commodity that can be bought and sold. You don’t have to trade that deliciousness for the sour tasting life you feel you’re stuck with.
Your life should align with your intentions.
You can seek forever, but you only live once so settle in to your wildest dreams, and let go of what you think you need to get where you already are.
Dr. Andra Brosh August 22nd, 2016