Your life is yours alone. And yet, we so often feel as though we have no control over what happens to us, and maybe that's true, maybe life just happens to us.
But I prefer to think otherwise.
I like taking responsibility for how my life unfolds. I like thinking that when the shit hits the fan it's for a damn good reason so I better get clear, hone my focus, and figure it out. What part of my subconscious is creeping up and sabotaging my best–laid plans?
I've had the rug pulled out from under me more times than I can count. I've experienced crushing failures, debilitating heartache, shocking sudden deaths, my life has derailed plenty. But I never once blamed anyone but myself (well, except maybe my mother but I've worked through that). Taking responsibility allowed me to move forward with integrity, strengthening my character, deepening my self-awareness and providing me with the tools to prevent the same catastrophes from happening again.
That said, every one of those catastrophes ended up serving me in the long run, had I been more self–aware they could have been navigated with a little more ease and grace – which I am now equipped to do, thanks to the practice. After all isn't life just one big training ground, an endless practice.
Not much derails me anymore.
I feel empowered holding the reins of my life. As William Ernest Henley said so beautifully in his poem Invictus, "I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul." This line speaks right to the essence of my being, it ignites me!
Reversely, it is totally disempowering to hand over the outcome of my life to anyone else, especially to chance. Fuck that!
I came here with a mission – to live an exceptional life! My life, on my own terms and in my own way ('exceptional' being subjective). It has taken me years to figure out how to do that – to not be swayed by everyone else's needs and desires.
I was a total people pleaser, afraid of being rejected, abandoned, or unloved if I didn't accommodate everyone else. Which by the way, is bullshit, and a total waste of time. If doing what is best for you causes someone to reject you then you are better off without them. And if you are busy accommodating everyone else I guarantee you will look back on your life wishing you had considered yourself more. Check out Bronnie Ware's book, The Top 5 Regrets of The Dying, the most common regret being, "I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me."
Unless of course, your life's purpose is to be selfless, in which case, carry on! But direct that energy towards causes and issues that really need it, go big, change the world one selfless service at a time!
If you've got other dreams, hopes, and desires, I encourage you to take stock of the people in your life. Do they encourage and support your journey? Do they bring out your gifts and allow you to express your deepest truths? Do they trust that you know what is best for you and give you the freedom to navigate your life in your own way? Do you do the same for them?
We get to choose our friends, lovers, and partners. Are you making healthy choices? Cultivating healthy, nourishing relationships requires effort. Why not conserve your energy for the relationships that bring out your best self, that empower you and light you up?
Taking responsibility for the dynamics and drama that show up in your life (not blaming 'the other') is the first step to transforming negative patterns and perhaps eliminating them from reoccurring.
But wait, that's an entirely different blog post. Back to empowering your life with Intention.
The first step to living an empowered, joyful life is intending to.
Intentions have the power to set the tone of your life and bring you into alignment with your dreams. Mindful intentions are heartfelt, guiding principles for how you want to be and live. Not the same as goals, which are tangible, practical desires you want to achieve.
Setting intentions brings your mind and heart into alignment, a powerful way to embody that which you desire.
If you don't already practice Mindful Intention, I encourage you to try it out for a week.
Start by setting your Intention for the day, as soon as you wake up. Decide what you want your day to feel like, how you would like it to unfold (within reason, it's gotta be believable for you to really embody it), stay in the positive, for example, "to stay open-hearted... to be compassionate towards myself and others... to feel balanced... to be calm... to stay strong..." spend a minute really feeling your intention while you repeat the words you've chosen.
Re–set your intention as many times throughout the day as you'd like, change it up if you feel inclined. Especially if you feel like your day's derailing. Take a moment to re–group and decide how you'd like things to unfold from that moment forward, choose the words that will line your mind up with your heart, feel it!
Do this every morning and throughout the day for an entire week. Be the master of your fate, the captain of your soul!
You can apply this daily practice to how you'd like your month to unfold or your year or an important meeting or a date that you're nervous about. It only takes a minute to set an intention and it can completely redirect your day, and ultimately, your life.
It's a powerful tool. But don't take my word for it, try it!
And tell me about it in the comments below, or email me. I'd love to hear how your week unfolds with some heartfelt intention setting.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul
~ by William Ernest Henley