Where do you find direction towards that place of contentment, peace of mind and connection? Your Middle Ground?
The first step is all about self discovery – really getting to know yourself.
Often we think of ourselves in terms of the roles we have in this life – in our families as parent, sister or spouse, or at work as an employee or professional, or in communities as a neighbor or volunteer etc. We’re so bound up with others that we miss getting to understand ourselves. We think we know ourselves, but we often only see ourselves in relation to other people.
Ask yourself, “Who am I … without my children, my grandchildren, my spouse, my career?”….
Take time to get to know yourself and become aware of who you really are – your natural talents, core beliefs, values, needs, passions, triggers and fears. Much of what you will discover has come from those around you … yet there is so much more that is uniquely you! So freeing!
When we start to explore who we are, and see all aspects of ourselves, we can become authentic in the world. No longer trying to live up to others’ expectations or playing a role. Our mask can be set aside and we become free to let our true nature shine through.
You become more grounded and confident, courageous and compassionate.
In my experience there are 2 ways to get to know yourself in this way:
The first way to self discovery can come from yoga and the practice of mindfulness. Noticing without judgment what is going on in your mind and your body, and acknowledging it is incredibly powerful. I recall times on my yoga mat, when my left hip flexor tightens for no apparent reason. In the beginning I wanted the discomfort to go away and so I worked to stretch it out even more. Taking it to its limits in order to bring it into my idea of what it should be. Of course, I came across more resistance and more contraction instead. When I realized it needed some tender loving care and I backed off, the pain dissipated. I swear that hip of mine hears my thoughts!
Once you see and feel more clearly, you can choose to respond more skillfully and appropriately. My biggest lesson about myself in yoga is letting go of needing to control and accepting the way my body is….. and not to trust my thinking as being the truth.
The second way to self discovery is by taking a coach approach and getting curious. Start to ask yourself and answer these questions:
What are the best moments of my week?
What brings me happiness and joy?
What do I do at an excellent level?
What am I afraid of?
What beliefs, values and needs are important to me?
(Tip – Notice what makes you angry, because it is usually a belief or value that has been transgressed or an unmet need)
What do I want that I don’t have?
…. What else comes to mind about who you are and what you want?
In this place of questions and discovery, you may find it hard to access this inner part of yourself, or lots of judgments come up……. and that’s okay. It shows that there is room to grow into your true self!
This is just the beginning.