Read, watched, listened, learned

Please feel free to comment below with any self-discovery resources that you’ve found useful. I hope that this list will also help others on their journeys to self-discovery!

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Watched: Love, love, loved this!  “Solve for Happy”, a lecture by Mo Gawdat, based on his book of the same title. A few months ago, I watched a brief viral video on Facebook where Gawdat outlines the distinctions between having fun and attaining happiness. It was an aha moment for me, before even hitting play. In the short video, he explains that if you attempt to fill your schedule with “escape” activities, such as excessive tv, video games, music, social media, social activities/partying, etc., then you are using “fun” as a substitute for true happiness. Yup. That had resonated with me, so as I started this “finding me” project, I looked for his work first. I was so happy with what I found! His lecture, which is free on YouTube, uses science and logic to explain how to “Solve for Happy”.  I found it to be relatable and insightful. Gawdat is engaging, with understated charisma, and his personal accounts are both moving and inspiring.

To summarize, he starts by challenging your current mindset that hard work leads to success which provides happiness, and suggests that by determining what brings you happiness first, you can find enjoyable work, and that is what will bring you success.  He then defines stages of happiness, including “escape” as explained above, which he believes is the most common in the modern world. He points out illusions that you believe about the world, the warped ways you perceive your experiences, and truths about life that you must accept in order to be happy. It may sound cheesy here, but it is all very eye-opening, and made so much sense to me. Actually, not true, there was one point that made zero sense to me. He started talking about Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, and that went way over my head. If any one watches the lecture and wants to explain that part, I’d be thrilled! Anyhow, check it out!

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Read: The Universe has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein.  Thank you to a dear friend who, at the very start of my journey, took the time to sit with me, listened to the chaos of my brain, and provided compassion and gentle guidance – which included the recommendation of Bernstein’s teachings.

I must be honest, I initially struggled with this book. It just goes against my grain, I guess, as it explores a whole lot of spirituality, and I have never been drawn to that. However, I reminded myself that you can’t grow if you’re not willing to change, so I gave it a shot. In fact, I was so determined to really internalize the philosophies, that in addition to reading it twice, I also listened to the audiobook… and took 30 pages of notes, lol.

My takeaway is the message that if you surrender your attempts to control your life, release your fears, and let love lead your way, the universe will guide and support you.  I love that ideology, but TBH, at this point, my logical mind still isn’t 100% sold on it. Woven into the text are meditations, mantras, prayers, and steps to reconnect with the universe when you’re in challenging situations. The book also includes lessons on self-fulfilling prophecies, being present, focussing on the positive, and celebrating what you have. All great messages!

I’m going put my reservations aside, give an earnest effort to embrace this entire school of thought, and let the universe lead the way. We’ll see what happens!

Learned: How to meditate!  I’ve never tried, and only knew what I saw in cartoons 🙂 I’ll post separately about what I’ve just begun to learn, thanks to a friend who’s on a wonderful and exciting journey of her own! Also, I appreciate any guided meditation recommendations…or any sort of meditation guidance in general!

Watched: “The Crossroads of Should and Must”, a Google Talk by Elle Luna. I pay forward the recommendation of this light, yet enlightening lesson on being cognizant and deliberate when choosing between our “shoulds” – the expectations that others put on us, and our “musts” – our most authentic desires and passions. Luna explains that we are faced with this “crossroad” with every decision posed to us, and we often choose the path of “should”. Chronically complying with “shoulds” causes us to veer off our own path, and live our lives for something or someone other than our true self. She provides exercises to help discriminate between the two forces, and strategies to help discover our “musts”. Luna states that this self-awareness will feel like a clenched hand slowly releasing its grip of us, and honoring our “musts” is the “greatest thing that we can do with our lives.” She goes further by affirming that once we find happiness by prioritizing our “musts”, our passion will spill over and inspire other areas of our lives. Ooh, la!

 

Next on my list:

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

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What the pluck.

 

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Tweezers by Sara Stasi

I just removed a whisker from my chin that would have impressed Rapunzel, it was so long. C’mon, body. I need to deal with your unyielding period and a beard within the same day?!? You’re sending me mixed messages.

This is 40?

QOTD: Make a Decision

il_570xn.1389996872_4cenI don’t recall ever seeing this quote before, but now that I’ve been researching self-discovery, I see it everywhere!  And I’ve already found it to be true.

I wanted, needed actually, some guidance as to where to begin with this whole “finding me” project. And voila, several really amazing people with incredible, invaluable wisdom have made themselves available to me! I’ve been treated to accounts of spiritual journeys that began with situations very similar to mine.  It’s reassuring to see the parallels, but the real gift is to see where they are now.  It is so very inspiring!

Then, once I had an idea of what direction to move in, I knew I needed a good chunk of time to focus on it. I needed a good solid footing in order to get truly invested. To commit, get elbow deep, and get some momentum. I have a history of making plans, some that I am highly motivated to begin, and letting them slip away before ever putting them into motion. But I refuse to let this one go. (That’s actually the main reason I created the blog, as well. I need the accountability!) Anyhow, I wanted time, and bada bing, bada boom. I have a few days off from work, aaaalllll to myself!

I never ever would have said, or believed anything like this before, but I truly think the universe conspired to make that happen for me!

Currently Reading: The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein

Currently watching: Solve for Happy by Mo Gawdat

QOTD: Unapologetic

 

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From ‘The Universe Has Your Back’ by Gabrielle Bernstein

I am going to unapologetically leave this quote here with very little elaboration. It would tarnish its beauty. It has the appearance of simplicity, being just one brief sentence, but bears the weight of dark, deep-seeded emotions.

We’ve been taught not to prioritize our own desires, and feel guilty, shameful, and selfish when we do. In self-discovery, we learn that those desires are actually needs, and we must honor and have faith in them. What a profound message wrapped up in that one sweet little sentence. And so fitting when exploring self-discovery.

I am unapologetic about what I desire, and trust that what I focus on will grow.

Going forward, this is my 2019 tagline.

QOTD: Happiness is My Birthright.

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From “The Universe Has Your Back” by Gabrielle Bernstein

I’m not unhappy, per say, but I seek a sense of fulfillment that I neither possess, nor have tended to, for a very long time.

My sense of joy no longer comes from within myself. I find happiness in being a supermom, maintaining a clean and organized home, and providing my kids with an enriching childhood. I take delight in supporting my family, witnessing their successes, and encouraging them to pursue their dreams. That’s what moms do, right?

But why do we stop fueling who we are outside of our mommy roles? We are still unique individuals entitled to goals and desires, right? And I mean more than treating ourselves to an occasional girls night out, or splurging on a cut and color. Real dreams and aspirations as a full, whole person. Adult goals. Exploring our own interests and passions and finding our spark. Mommyhood is amazing, and adds incredible joy and fulfillment, yes, but letting it replace growth as an individual is a mistake.

I know because I did just that. And I need to do some serious work to undo it. For me, 2019 is about rediscovering what makes me happy, from within.  Finding my true purpose, fulfillment, and happiness. That is my birthright.

An Overlooked Sacrifice.

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Image: Day 48 Lost, by Robyn Jay

I’m 40. I’m a mom, and I’m a wife. Beyond that? Crickets. Seriously, though, I know that I like to dance, I know which foods I like and dislike, and I know what music, movies, books, and tv shows I enjoy. But my “self”, who I am outside of my roles of mother, wife, etc. is a complete mystery to me.  I have strong morals and values, and a fun personality. But goals, dreams, aspirations? They were abandoned along the side of the road as I journeyed into adulthood, many many miles ago. So long ago, that I forget when I saw them last, and no longer remember what they looked like. And the worst part is, I didn’t even realize this. For years! Decades!!  I sacrificed myself without even noticing! I’m so grateful for the beautiful life I’ve had, but for the better part of the last two decades, I was so focussed on being a supportive wife and super-mom, that I forgot – whoops – that I’m a person, too!!

It hit me just a few weeks ago. I got news of an unexpected day off from work. It was a very welcome surprise. I’d have the house to myself, and I could choose to do whatever I wanted with *zero* interruption. Beautiful!  Insert an angelic choir…”ahhhh!” Anyhow, the day came, and what did I do? Same thing I do with all of my free time: I made a to-do list of housework and maintenance that would take a month to accomplish. It’s what I do. I’m sure many moms do the same.  But as I set out to begin my list that morning, it hit me like a punch to the gut. No one was making me do these tasks. In fact, most of them were an absolute unnecessary waste of time.  And this is my pattern, my habit, my routine. Only worse, I realized. It is my defense mechanism. I stopped scrubbing, Magic Eraser in hand. I CHOOSE to fill my time with these pointless tasks. Why? It’s a strategic, albeit unconscious, distraction. If I fill my day with the golden stars of a tight production schedule, I can avoid thinking about what I might WANT to do. And I was avoiding that thought because I have NO FUCKING IDEA what I might want to do.  Thud. Ooof. Gut punch.  My to-do list served as shield from the futile question “what the hell do I want???” I don’t have to reflect on my loss of self-identity if I busy myself in menial tasks and find joy in the sense of accomplishment, right??? Ugh. Barf. How did I let this happen? And for so long?!? I have no freaking idea how to actually enjoy myself. How to be me. WTF?

Does this sound familiar? I can’t be the only one!!!