Day 174/366 days Towards Self-Mastery.
Somewhere around mid-teens I came to the conclusion that I wanted to live life on my terms. Having been acculturated into a rigid Catholic upbringing I was ready to break free.
Further impetus for a life well-lived came from insights around the idea of accumulating regrets. The unimaginable image of lying on my death bed and counting my regrets. Then and there I decided that I would not leave anything undone, incomplete, unexperienced.
Periodically I do a mental check to see if I've clocked up any new regrets, and I attend to them. Currently that means I'm planning a road trip to see my parents.
Early on I realised that my life would be about experiences, and those experiences would be about exploring the world and exploring the human condition. Some of those experiences were scary and edgy. Others were exciting and revealing. Yet others were just a little bit boring. All of them were an exploration of life attempting to live itself.
The variety matters little if the body and mind cannot feel. My, and I'm pretty sure many, many others, acculturation /conditioning/indoctrination, whatever you want to call it, left me bereft of feeling. Desensitised to life. That's like being alive but not really able to experience it. I wonder if those dare devils that jump from high buildings or cliffs with a parachute, or a bungy around their ankle are actually also just trying to feel alive.
The realisation that my drive to have more exciting experiences was less about the experiences and more about trying to feel life hadn't dawned on me for some time. Glimpses shone through when I realised the frustration of travelling to magnificent countries and seeing it through the eyes of a camera lens, instead of actually experiencing it. Many countries I've visited twice. Once to taste the food and swill the wine and feel my feet in the earth, my body in the sea, and a second time to capture my experiences on camera.
A prerequisite for savouring your experiences, really living into the fullness of life, is a trust in life itself. My trust in life is returning. It's taken a while and a lot of inner exploration, and from time to time I need a reminder.
With the support of my awesome psychotherapist, Margarete, I've been able to slow the desensitisation process down, feel the sensations drain out of my body and then feel them being restored. Desensitisation is a coping mechanism that our magnificent nervous system resorts to when life is unbearable. Practiced often enough it will trigger very easily.
If you're a keen explorer, don't neglect to explore your inner terrain with as much enthusiasm as you explore your outer terrain.
Becoming re-sensitised to life is enabling me to really LIVE life. To feel the joy and exhilaration of each moment. To know my breath and feel it filling my lungs. To feel the pulse of the earth beneath my feet. To feel laughter deep in my belly, and the wetness of tears as they stain my face. To soak up the warmth of the sun and allow the crisp cool winter breezes to chill my skin.
Living life is not just about going through the motions. It's more than having a great income and a magazine lifestyle. Make life a masterpiece!
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.