The secret to living your most awesome, fulfilled and happy life comes down to one word: Alignment.
Small word, big impact.
I’m not talking ‘bout your tyres here, mate. I’m talking about your LIFE.
This word has been ticking through my brain allll week since hearing Peta Kelly speak at the Spirit Sisters Circle in Sydney.
Peta compares our alignment to a kinked hose. If we can get rid of the kinks one by one, all the motivation and inspiration will flow right to us.
So, what is alignment?
Alignment is being authentically you. It’s doing more of the things that make you say “F*** yes!”, and less of the things that make you wanna crawl back under the covers and hide.
And it applies to… Every. Single. Aspect. Of your life.
Your friends, your job, what you eat, whether or not you exercise, what time you go to bed and wake up, what type of exercise you do.
How do I know whether I’m in alignment or not?
First up, think of your values. What is most important to you, and the standards you set for yourself (in a non-judgey way, that is).
For me, they look a little something like this:
- Nourishing my body with real food
- Moving daily
- Having chill time daily
- Helping people
- Looking after the planet
- Going to bed early (lol, they don’t call me Franny the granny for nothing)
(…and, there’s plenty more where that came from but these will do for now!)
So, let’s start with food.
Maybe your values around food are something like this – “I value nourishing my body with healthy whole foods.”
But when the weekend comes around, you end up downing a few too many espresso martinis and happen to stroll by Maccas on the way home. And wake up in the morning feeling less than fresh and smash a bacon and egg roll (AKA bae roll). And then eat a whole block of chocolate on Sunday night because you feel miserable. And then you feel riddled with guilt about the whole ordeal and vow to do better next weekend. And the vicious cycle continues.
THAT is being out of alignment.
You really value nourishing yourself, and following that alignment makes you feel flipping awesome. But when you disregard your values, you just feel in your bones that something ain’t right.
Let’s move on to exercise.
Same thing applies here, folks. My values when it comes to movement look like this – “I value moving my body every day.” And when I disregard this, I just feel completely out of whack.
And another area of misalignment that I come across all the time. The J.O.B.
I was seriously out of alignment in my work for so long. I was seeking fulfilment from my work (you know, actually making a difference in this world), and I really wasn’t getting it in my government job.
And honestly, being off kilter with your work can cause you to be out of alignment in pretty much everything, since we spend around 45% of our waking hours either working or on our way to work (and thus thinking about work, whether good or bad).
(I dropped that stat in there so casually, but I actually busted the calculator out, and based it on the assumption that you work full time, and actually leave on time every day. If you’re slaving it out way past 5pm, you may be spending a whole lot more than 45% of your life stuck at your desk.)
So what do you really want out of this life? And are you getting it from work? Or is your job getting in the way of your alignment? Maybe you literally don’t have time to cook dinner or exercise before or after work. Maybe you don’t have time to play, or chill, and that’s leaving you feeling out of whack.
It doesn’t mean you have to quit and become a yoga teacher to get into alignment. Maybe you can set some ground rules about leaving on time, or go for a walk in your lunch break, or schedule in time for meal prep. Small steps.
Alignment vs restriction
I will say this – being in alignment is different to being punishingly strict. It’s meant to feel good, not forced or restrictive. It’s a fine balance, and it’s going to look very different for everyone.
My values around food and movement involve nourishing my body and moving daily. Now that I’m in tune about what feels good for me, I honour these values. But if I eat the odd gluten free pizza or skip a day or two of movement, I know I’m gonna be ok. I just relish in the flexibility and guide myself back into what feels good.
And if you believe your “alignment” around work or exercise is to hustle and push, I ask you to tune in. Is this causing you to let your other values slip? Like connection or chill time? Like I said, it’s meant to feel good. Tune into that.
How do I get back in alignment?
For starters, this is a lifelong process. And it ain’t easy, or we’d all be walking around aligned AF.
First, do a braindump of your values. And then step by step, figure out how you can move towards aligning with those values.
Let’s jump back to the hose metaphor for a minute. If you unkink the hose all at once, you’ll flood the joint. It’s too much.
I mean, what if I told you that from tomorrow onwards you will quit your job, only eat whole foods, meditate for 1 hour daily, run 10km daily and ditch any friends that aren’t serving you. Too much, right? It might be the end goal, but it doesn’t have to happen all at one.
Pick small, achievable moves towards alignment.
And as always, keep it real.