Tag Archives: life lessons

Leaning into Life

Listening to the Hay House World Summit at the weekend, I heard one of the speakers say: “Successful people do what they want to do, not what they feel like doing.” At the time, I didn’t really get it. The following day, it hit me.

For quite some time, I’ve been teaching myself to get quiet and listen to my body. I’ve learned how to say “No” and how to know what’s right for me at any given moment. I thought the best motto for life was to “go with the flow”.

Then, I came across an article by Noor Shawwa, who wrote about the three ways we approach life. He suggested that we can go with the flow (lean back), walk away (quit) or make the most of it (lean in). A couple of days later, I read another article, this one by Jack Canfield, telling us to “Build Momentum by Leaning into It.”

Going with the flow is a welcome relief after a lifetime of resistance and control. But upon reading these articles, I realise that there is something empowering about leaning into life. If I always sit back and do what I feel like doing, I’d skip the workout and eat lots of cake. Alternatively, if I were to do what I want to do, I’d do things that make me fit and healthy and full of energy. Yes, I might feel like watching the latest Ryan Gosling flick (and that’s okay too) but I might want to prepare an inspiring Positive Living class more.

So today, even though I don’t feel like it, I take myself out for a cycle. And boy am I tested on that, as yet, uncertain balance between going with the flow, leaning in and downright quitting!

The wind is strong. No matter which direction I go, it blows against me. I huff and puff in annoyance. I want it to stop. A plump bumblebee dives onto my head and bounces off my eyelid. As I pedal along, a dog chases me, barking incessantly. I reason with it in a sing-song voice, trying to appeal to its gentler nature. Eventually, it gives up. Just before I cycle right into a giant pothole. I am totally jarred but I remain upright. Minutes later, two tiny flies simultaneously suicide-bomb into one eye each. I pull over and rub my eyes vigorously, only burying them further into their watery graves.

I sit back on the saddle and laugh. Up until this point, I thought everything was against me. Now it feels more like nature is working with me in order to wake me up. There is nothing I can do about the weather. I have two legs that are working hard to bring me into the beautiful countryside. The wind is warm (and it’s not often you can say that in Ireland!) and it’s forcing me to get more out of my workout.

Just as I relax into it, it begins to drizzle, thus breaking the weeklong spell of glorious sunshine. I can’t change the weather, I mutter. But I can change my attitude. I understand that leaning into life still requires going with the flow. It’s just about adding momentum. So I lean into the rain and keep going. I’m like a human hearse carrying two tiny insects who have sacrificed themselves for the cause – my awareness.

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Heeding Your Own Advice

I was telling someone close to me what that woman had said to me last weekend. In a nutshell, it was about finding it hard to practice what I preach. How I know it all in theory but do I really feel it in my heart? That I should lead by example. And other inspiring yet hard-to-hear clichés.

My friend commented that, about a year ago, when I used to approach her with things I was struggling with, she was incredulous. “But you’ve got all the answers in your most recent blog post,” she’d exclaim. She observed that I have since put all of those things into practice and that I now have new challenges to contend with.

I remember someone informing me that, often, the problems your clients will present you with are the issues you need to look at most yourself. The Positive Living group I taught last night included many tips that would help me immensely. One activity I gave the class was to write a letter to your 15-year-old self. I got the idea from this blog post. Afterwards, one of my students remarked: “I just read over my letter and it’s all advice that would help me now.” I quickly scanned my own letter. She was right. Another class member mused: “I found it sort of sad. I wish I’d had someone to tell me this stuff when I actually was a teen.” “But you have someone now,” I replied. “Do I?” she wondered, confused. “Who wrote your letter?” I asked. “Oh yeah,” she smiled.

This morning, I contacted a friend in need. “Thanks Sharon, that’s the best advice I’ve heard in a while,” the person responded. I reread my text. Yet again, the message of my message could be directed right at me.

If you followed your own advice, you’d be doing well. Because you have all the answers within you. You don’t need to look outside yourself in order to know what to do. Only you can decide what’s best for you. Because you are you.

The classes I teach, the blogs I write and the advice I give helps me first and foremost. Luckily, it also benefits others. I teach what I need to learn. That’s probably why I’m drawn to the subject matter in the first place. At least I am learning. Sometimes slowly, usually surely. One life lesson at a time.

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