I’ve been feeling a little (or a lot) adrift lately.
Do you ever feel like that? It’s a weird feeling. Life is pretty good. I don’t have much to complain about. I’ve got a good job that I enjoy, a strong side hustle, a great family, and some of the best friends I could ask for. I just got back from an incredible adventure in Nicaragua, and chances are pretty good I’ll be on a plane bound for somewhere else within a few months.
Yet it all feels off.
Does that make sense?
I hate to use a cliche, but I’ve felt a bit like a ship lost in the night.
I hoped Nicaragua would solve all my problems. I hoped I would come back with a clear head and the answer to all of life’s questions. Instead, I came back with a great tan, the ability to stand up on a surfboard, and a deep, deep desire to go back as soon as possible.
I recently read The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein. I’ve read several of her books now. In fact, her first book, Add More – Ing To Your Life, remains one of my favorites. I find I always read one of “those” books – a self-help type of book that falls into my lap – when I need it most. That happened with The Universe Has Your Back. It had been on my to read list for a while, but Amazon cut it to 99 cents for a week, so I snagged it, started to read, and couldn’t put it down.
By the time I finished the book, I had realized a few things about myself. I had fallen out of my routine of practicing gratitude and had allowed a lot of negativity to creep into my life. As my pal Gabby would put it, I wasn’t operating from a place of love.
I know. This might be a little too “new-age” for some of you. Hang in there with me.
Besides falling out of the habit of practicing gratitude and allowing negative factors to affect me, I had also stopped being still. Gabby emphasizes meditating daily, but I’ll be honest. I’m terrible at it. I try, but sitting completely still, breathing deep, and listening to my inner voice (which, for me, is the Holy Spirit, but for you, could be – anything) is just hard for me.
Every once in awhile though, the stars align and I’m able to go to that quiet place where I can sort through thoughts, feelings, questions, whatever I need to do. That happened for me one morning last week after taking some time to pray and sit quietly, just listening.
Despite my failure at being still on a daily basis, I do journal every single morning. I’ve written about my Morning Pages practice before. That morning, while sitting quietly on my bed, I felt pulled to open my notebook and start listing, in bullet point fashion, my hopes and dreams.
For a solid fifteen minutes, I just wrote. Bullet point after bullet point. I didn’t think about it. I just let whatever came to me fill the page. I wrote until my hand cramped and I couldn’t think of a single thing to add.
Then, I read over it.
I read it again the next morning, after filling a Morning Page.
I realized the second morning that the “things” I want in life – my hopes and dreams – are not the things I have been so focused on lately. They were rather personal, so I will keep them to myself, but it was eye-opening to realize what my heart has been trying to tell me. Eye-opening, and yet, I had known it all along.
There were a couple of surprising things, too. A couple of bullet points made me wide-eyed, but in hindsight, again, they were pretty obvious, if I would just take the time to stop being my own worst enemy. I’m sure I’m not alone in that – thinking harshly about myself, wondering what on earth I’m doing, why I’m making “such a mess” of it all.
I’m really good at getting in my own way.
If you find yourself feeling adrift or wondering “what if,” give this exercise a try. Take some time to quiet your mind, however you choose to do so. Pray, meditate, just sit quietly and breathe. Whatever you need to do. Then, pick up a pen and start making a list of your hopes and dreams, anything and everything you want from the universe and your place within it. Don’t think about it. Definitely don’t overthink it. Write things as they come, no matter how outlandish they may seem. Write until you run out of thoughts to write down.
When you’re done, read over them, but don’t do anything with them. Just read them through once, close the notebook, and put it aside. Sometime the next day, when you have a moment of quiet, open up the notebook and read your list again. Look for the commonalities.
What you do with those commonalities is up to you. If you’re like me, a lot of your commonalities may be a bit out of your hands right now. But you should walk away with a greater understanding of what makes you tick and a clearer vision for how to move forward.
Now if only I could get better at the sitting quietly and just listening thing…