Updated: Mar 7
Day 54/366 days Towards Self-Mastery. Mood: really tired.
It sounds simple, this idea of just being who you are, yet when it comes to taking the action of being, where does one begin.
Sarah has been pointing us in the direction of our preferences. Exploring and learning about our forgotten dreams, those simple things that bring us joy and memories of happier times.
Yet I always find myself interested in the motivating forces behind those preferences. What makes something a true preference, as opposed to something that we choose in order to leverage our way into a greater sense of belonging, for example.
Is it really my preference, or is it something I'm conditioned to accept, adopt, believe. Or perhaps it's an altogether unconscious expression of my inner world.
By entertaining this exercise, we are activating the full expression of you, your own imprint on life. We begin to show up in our preferences, our choices, our authentic self.
Today's inspiration is to imagine you have your choices all over again
The choices we make are an indication of our life in progress.
Imagine you have a new home that has yet to be furnished. You will be filling your wardrobe with clothes. What are they? What style do you choose?
Your new home with furniture. What pieces do you have that you want to keep in this new home? What pieces from your past would you choose, if any?
Your kitchen cupboards are bare. What patterns would you choose to eat off every day? Do you like fine glassware or chunky heavy crystal?
Do you like to use silver or stainless steel cutlery?
Outer reflections of an inner world
An elegant fresh look of loose fitting designer wear complete with cowl necklines curiously graced my wardrobe in the late seventies.
Black suits and vanilla silk blouses with elegant Italian stilettos confidently dominated that selection in the eighties.
Jeans and trackies for practical convenience in the early 21st century, and dreary black and flat heels by 2010.
It took a while to realise that the dreary black was a mask for me to hide behind. By the time I had been parenting solo for 20 years my confidence had fallen to an all time low and dreary black was all I could conjure to avoid unwanted attention, and to blend into the background.
Exercising my preferences was driven, not from a position of wholeness but an expression of a personality that had lost its zest. Is that an indication of a life in progress? It looked dreary and it felt dreary and it matched my dreary demeanour. And in the chronology of things, it seemed like a retrograde step.
Yet as I returned to wholeness, as I worked to unravel more of the deeply conditioned mysteries of my life, my outward expression began to light up at about the same time that my personality was resurrected and expanded.
As I began to connect more with the truth of me and my preferences not just in fashion, but in life generally, colour again began to grace my wardrobe. Life began to find its way into my home decor, and into my garden.
The vagaries of the various stages of my life had a way of stealing my zest for living life fully. Responsibility robbed me of my brilliance, and my personality took on a greyness that expressed itself inside and out.
By reconnecting with those earlier preferences, and rediscovering my enthusiasm for the new and novel, the world became more colourful. Well at least it's becoming more colourful. Definitely a life in progress as I look over at my beige-ish wardrobe with splashes of colour here and there.
Our choices always reflect our state of mind. There's no escaping the dance that expresses the tune we are playing internally. We are always a life in progress, even when that life is dreary grey. Even when we are attempting to mask our inner world, we cannot escape the telltale signs, the outer expression that does not lie.
The real work of connecting with my preferences is the work of exploring how many decisions and choices are made for reasons other that from the life force that expresses itself as uniquely me. In other words, the work of exploring my conditioned responses to life.
Anytime I find myself responding to outside influences, (marketing, magazine images, the fashion runways) that inform my choices, I'm not living my life. Instead, I'm living a prescription give to me by others.
Rediscovering my style is a work in progress. Crafting my environment is a journey into a deeper connection with my preference, many of which I am yet to discover.
366 days Towards Self-Mastery
When I considered my New Year's intentions for 2020 I had just one: To allow my heart to love what it loved...and let it lead me. (If not now, then when?)
I've spent months working on integrating my life. To live life more fully with my home life, my interests, my work, my responsibilities, all coming together, all connected. I want to give each the attention that they desire and need, and still have time and energy for the others. That means living and working from the heart.
As I was clearing out my bookshelf over the Christmas break I discovered Simple Abundance. I set it aside to explore it on New Year's Day as I lazed through another delicious day of nothingness. Sarah, the author, says this book is about living in grace. Living in grace I realised, is about Self-Mastery.
My thirst for understanding the human condition has driven me all my life, and hand-in-hand with self-mastery it has been a life-long goal. And seeing as I love to write, that living in grace is about self-mastery, and I love a bit of a challenge, then if I am truly going to let my heart lead, I really don't have any other choice. So scary as it feels, I'm starting out on a daily mission of leaning into the suggestions of this daybook and making a daily post to keep me accountable. If not now, then when?
I'm Josie. You can find out a little more about me here.
Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy: by Sarah Ban Breathnach.
This book is written for the Australian and NZ market because it refers to seasonal changes. It's available on Amazon here if you'd like to follow along.