I was once asked the question, What is your biggest fear?
My answer was…
‘My biggest fear is living a mundane life. A life in which I go to a job 5 days a week that I do not enjoy. To pay a mortgage for a house I did not want, in a place, I do not like.
Saving all I can for my annual holiday. Coming back to the house that I want to change, from a job that makes me miserable, to watch TV for hours to numb myself of the painful lifestyle I am living.’
This was my answer two years ago.
A few weeks ago, I had an emotional breakdown. I have only had one experience like this before and it was in fact, about two years ago.
I cried and cried, for days.
I was lost. I am lost.
All of the things I use to hold onto, to keep ‘my head above water’ as they say. All of the excuses and reasons I use all fell away from me and I was left sitting there staring into nothingness.
I didn’t know what to do.
Do I just stay in my bed forever, do I remove myself from the world, do I go and get mind-numbingly drunk, do I go and get high until I don’t think at all.
Do I just carry on, do I just ‘get on with it’?
For days I didn’t know how to be. So I just floated along.
I did carry on, I went to my job, I came home, I ate, I slept.
I stopped doing my work. Not my paid work, not my job, but ‘my work’.
The things that ignite my soul. I stopped.
I stopped writing, I stopped drawing, I stopped reading, I stopped studying, I stopped practicing yoga and meditation.
I stopped everything. I stopped trying,
I stopped trying to read and expand my knowledge in topics I am passionate about. I stopped practicing yoga and trying to improve my practice so I can be the best yoga teacher I can be. I stopped writing and trying to ‘figure me out’ and find the reasons for my behavior. I stopped drawing and channeling my energy.
I stopped using all of my techniques that ultimately ‘help’ me ignore the truth.
As I stopped everything, I realized something.
In my stillness, in my floating, I remembered that question.
‘What is your biggest fear?’
My answer was different but the same.
My biggest fear is unfulfilled potential.
My biggest fear is that I will not fulfill my potential.
For as long as I can remember I have had a thought.
‘THIS CANT BE IT!’
Previously, before my trip to the mindfulness project, I had no idea what else there was, I just hoped and felt within my soul that there must be something more than the life I was living.
Now, I know there is something else. I have seen and felt with all of me, the ‘something else’ I was searching for all my life. I have felt the peace and ease, the absolute blissful and fulfilling experience that life is.
I know how it feels to be completely fulfilled, to be completely happy.
So, since then, I have known that I don’t have to settle, that I can have a fulfilling life.
I know that and I will not settle for anything else!
Now, in my life, the pain I feel, the suffering I feel, is because I know that I can have peace and happiness, yet I do not.
I am settling!
I am still living life the way I always have, a slightly different version yes, but ultimately the same.
I struggled for so long, so many years, wondering what I was going to do, wondering what I liked, where I belonged.
Now, I know all of those things. Knowing made it easier for a while, then eventually it became a different kind of hard.
After two years of knowing and not doing, I have hit the tip of my Ice Berg.
I have been so sad for so long. I have buckled.
So came the breakdown…
I realized my pain came from suppression. I am suppressing myself. I am not doing what I want to do. I am putting myself into boxes I do not fit in, AGAIN!
I have strong faith in myself and I believe with all my heart I will do what I want to do. But in my life right now I am not. I just wonder to myself
How long will I do this for?!
How long will I make excuses, how long will I put obstacles in the way, how long will I convince my self that I am doing what I want?
Of course, I am doing a version of what I want, but not fully.
I want to travel, I live in New Zealand. I want to learn new things, I am gaining qualifications in my new job. I want to be with my partner, we have a great life.
I convince myself that because of these things, I am doing what I want.
I make the best of life and involve what I really want by doing ‘my work’. Every day I do my work, I learn about mindfulness and practice it every day, same with yoga and meditation.
But the truth of the matter is, this is not enough.
I use my work to help me from going insane in this lifestyle I am living.
In reality, I want more.
I want to live on a farm surrounded by animals and learn about sustainable living, I want to live off the land. I want to wake up to the sun to practice hours of meditation and yoga, I want to write and create all day. I want to learn from spiritual teachers, from wise yogi’s and experts in mindfulness.
The life I am living, in Queenstown, is much like the life I described as my biggest fear.
I have a job, it is a great job but it is not my passion. I am studying, how to become a swim teacher, not a yoga teacher. I live in a beautiful place as far from my hometown as I could be but it’s not travelling.
I am with a person I love with all of my heart. Yet my heart still aches.
I have not been taking care of my heart and soul. I am abandoning them even though they try to communicate with me every day. I feel the feeling, I sense the unease, I know something is not right, yet I have been ignoring it. Burying my head in my work. Trying to say it’s okay.
I have not been listening.
I have not been taking care of myself.
Over the past weeks, since this ‘breakdown’ I have made a decision to listen.
from now on, I am taking care of myself.
No more excuses, no more pretending, no more convincing myself.
I trust my path, I am grateful for my life, I am grateful for this experience.
I trust this lesson.
I will listen and I will act.
If not now, when?