When I first started following motivational speakers, life coaches and other entrepreneurs I noticed they shared one thing: these people are disgustingly in love with their lives. I mean DISGUSTINGLY in love with their lives. They reminded me of the first few months of a new relationship.. “No, I love YOU more, no YOU. I LOVE US!<3 <3 <3.” Over the top, puke-inducing lovey doveyness. Yuck.
It drove me crazy! How could these people possibly be so hyped up on life? How is it possible to be so blissfully happy all the freakin’ time? (*ahem* word to the wise: they’re not, they just manage their negative better!) How did they get the PERFECT life, and where could I buy my slice? Seriously.
But today. Oh, God. Today I realized I’ve become of those people. Gag. But GOD am I happy! Not just HAPPY, but deeply fulfilled, fully alive, ON purpose, present, passionate, joyful… and every other positive adjective under the sun.
How the hell did I get here?
And I mean that in the most exploratory kind of way. I pawed over old journals to pinpoint when the shift happened.. and it led me to another question: How can I share my formula, so others can feel what I feel?
When I trace back my steps I realized my path had a few milestones. I’m definitely not saying your milestones will be the same as mine, but maybe they can act as markers of a conscious existence.
[ONE: I noticed my pattern and became aware of it]
When I look back at my life, I can honestly say I used to be predominantly negative. I would frown before I smiled, and I complained before I celebrated. I realized I was unhappy. Unhappy with how I looked, unhappy with my career trajectory, unhappy with my general outlook on life.
[TWO: I made a commitment to my happiness]
I needed to change something for me to be happy. I had no idea what, and at the time the most obvious thing was my career (boy, was I wrong!). I thought long and hard, and I agonized about “what should I do with my life”. You can read all about that in my “How I Found My Passion” post. I committed to finding something more meaningful for my life.
[THREE: I was patient]
Okay, I tried to be patient, but I did wait. I waited a long time because I didn’t know what to DO. I realized I was also afraid of making the “wrong choice”. But in my waiting period I was DOING something. I opened myself up to the idea that I was not okay with the status quo; that life as it looked now, was NOT enough. I was consciously acknowledging the need for a monumental shift and I welcomed it.
[FOUR: I prayed and meditated on my need for happiness]
I cannot 100% admit to know what God looks like, or that I have a routine/formula for a relationship with Him, but I cried out for answers. There were dark nights and lonely mornings, but slowly a shift started to occur. The more I verbalized my need, the more I listened, and the more answers filtered in.
[FIVE: I became wildly curious]
The more open I became, the more I sought out others in my position, and I turned to TED Talks. Listening to external ideas from people with far more experience opened my mind to an expansive curiousity. I was humbled and I gravitated towards talks about people – their courage, inspiration, vulnerability and humanity. I was moved. I was already volunteering at Distress Centre and I knew I was fulfilled by offering my time to my community — but I wanted MORE OF THAT. Slowly the tectonic plates of my life started to shift toward an awakening. How do I get more of this fulfilled feeling?
[SIX: I boldly stepped OUT and invested in myself]
I did something big. In 2014, I booked a trip to Nicaragua. I went outside of my comfort zone and invested a chunk of money in myself FOR myself; a concept that had previously been beyond me. I took a risk!
[SEVEN: I placed a higher value on self-care]
I started to layer in a more intentional regime of self-care. Many activities were centered around fitness, creative endeavours such as colouring and writing, and trying new things. In moving my body, I moved myself to a new natural state — working out because I love my body, not because I hated it. My tectonic plates started to shift more.
[EIGHT: I Immersed myself in personal development]
I stumbled across The Desire Map where concepts resonated so hard my tectonic plates jolted. The volcano was rumbling hard. As part of The Desire Map’s process, I defined my core desired feelings (my heart-centered values): the why behind all my actions, and BOOM. The volcano erupted. I started to understand why I was unhappy in my life.
I had no idea WHY I was living [it]
I didn’t know the meaning of my life — this is drastically different to the meaning of life.
I dug hard into Danielle LaPorte, Elizabeth Gilbert, Brené Brown, Marianne Williamson, Pema Chödrön, the Dalai Lama, Eckhart Tolle, etc. I immersed myself in a world of personal development to discover what brings me to life, so I could begin to build a life that aligned to my heart-centered goals.
Freedom. CURIOUSITY. Gratitude. CREATIVITY. Compassion.
My heart-centered values embody who I am, and where my uniqueness comes from. My heart-centered values act as a compass of what it right for me in my life.
My journey had magnitudes of change, lots of rumbles in my soul’s tectonic plates, but eventually they shifted and the volcano of my heart erupted. That’s how I came to overflow with joy and become one of those people. But don’t get it twisted. I still fail, shake in earthquakes, stumble with mistakes, fall into sadness, move to anger, the aftershocks are real… the difference is I now understand why I feel that way, how to recover quicker, and how to appreciate the beauty of the darkness of my struggles.
My relationships are more fruitful, my heart is more full, the universe is rewarding me in ways I could never have conceived and it’s all because I found and now live by my heart-centered values.
What will it take for your Heart’s volcano to erupt?