Life is not a straight journey. It’s not a linear process, where the milestones present themselves in the same predictable order at the appropriate time, and sometimes you simply don’t know what the ‘right’ decision is. You rarely know what the outcome will be. And you never know what it might lead to next. This year, I came into the year with one mantra. It’s not a resolution, it’s not a cliché motto, and it wasn’t something I really shared openly until now. Why? Because quite frankly, it didn’t concern anyone but me. Trust the process. It was my inner guidance, it was about self-talk, it was about having faith in the person I am, the person I have become and the journey unfolding that is for me to experience. I had a very tumultuous year last year. A rollercoaster of extreme highs and some of my most extreme lows. Looking back on it now it’s hard to fathom for two reasons;
- The photos only really show the highs, so it’s hard to remember the depth of what I felt during some of these surface level images, luckily, I captured some of this in writing and drawing.
- I did not feel like I was justified in how I felt, it was uncomfortable, and I couldn’t quite understand why I was so impacted. Why my emotions and my ‘being’ was in such turmoil.
It had a profound impact on me. It was as I came out of the lows of last year, that I had a moment of realization. A moment of deep gratitude where I went beyond being thankful for the people, opportunities and environment around me but where I was grateful for me. For my experiences. For my pains. For my successes. I looked at the areas of my life that I could control – that I felt were a contributing factor to my happiness – as suggested to me by my brother. It was some trial and error. I tried different things. I cooked. I drew. I changed jobs. I started soccer again. I looked at how I spent my time – even deeper than I had previously – I looked at who, and how and in what fashion. I questioned how each of these things made me feel. But the number one thing I did – first and foremost? I gave myself a break. I didn’t try to force an answer, an outcome. I allowed myself to feel unapologetically rubbish, for a specific period of time, only focusing on feeling good. I didn’t need to make any decisions – in fact I didn’t let myself. I took two weeks off, I disconnected from work and media, and I reconnected with me. I fed myself what I craved (ie. Salmon sashimi on most occasions), I slept as much as I wanted. I stayed active. I stayed healthy. I spent time in the sun with my dog. I hosted a dinner party and I did not think about how life would pan out once.
When I got back from what I like to call, my inner retreat, I didn’t really realise the magnitude of what I achieved, or if I had achieved anything at all. I knew I felt better. I was afraid it was superficial and temporary in all honesty, but I slowly regained my strength, passion and self. It was here that I identified my mantra.
Now? I look back and I am so grateful. I wanted to share with you all how I actively live by my mantra so far this year, and the practical ways I really do, trust the process.
- Put it in perspective – I find putting things in perspective really helps me trust. The question I ask myself? “What is the absolute worst case scenario?” When I decided to leave my previous organisation, I had a profound conversation with one of my mentors which stuck with me, because it helped me cement my decision and trust my gut. He asked me; ‘What if everything they promised you is a lie, and none of it works out how it plans”. I remember pausing and looking at him.. I simply responded; ‘Well if that happens, I take the experience for what it is, because I would have no doubt learnt something, I pack my bags and I move on to the next thing’. I didn’t just say it, I felt it. I trusted that whatever the experience was, or how it turned out, I was going through it on purpose. This perspective makes every decision so much more exciting, and much less daunting because it can’t go wrong
- Use Hindsight – looking back in hindsight on what’s happened in the past and how the pieces all fall together can be a way to give you assurance and comfort in what the future holds. I often do this to bolster my trust. If I can look back at the way things have panned out in different parts of my life and realise why they worked out they way they did, and see the greater ‘plan’ for what it is, I can detach and recognise that one day I’ll look back on the present moment in the same vein.
- Diversify – the less I focus on just one part of my life, and the more variety in the things I am doing and achieving, the less pressure I put on it. I found that when I started to diversify and gain gratitude and joy from more, I focused less on what I felt wasn’t going right and more on what was. There was also more chance it would go right – just like an investment portfolio, diversify and minimize risk. Start to think about the what makes you happy, what slows down time, and how you can bring more of that into your life.
I hope this helps you realign and regroup. Just know, that talking it through and sharing an experience makes it far less overwhelming, so open up and expand through the experience. It’s in the darkness we learn to appreciate the light.