Updated: Oct 13
“Sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living”
-Jonathan Safran Foer
This excerpt is from the book, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer, which is a great book that was made into an equally exceptional movie, in my opinion. Prior to seeing this movie or reading this book, this excerpt crept into my subconscious mind and left me wondering, “What life am I not living?” and “Why am I not living it?”
It was then that I realized that I had fallen asleep. I had been lulled to sleep by the predictability of my life, by the comfort that came from monotony. And yet, there was a longing. A longing to be tempted, stirred, or swept away from the entanglements of this life I was now living.
As a Yogini, the process of awakening, of being fully present in each and every moment and waking up to new realities every day was a desired outcome of my Yoga practice. I never considered what would happen when and if those awakenings slowed, or even stopped, altogether. I began to grasp at meanings in the mundane, to seek out places and things that would wake me from my slumber, and while I still had the occasional “Oprah AHA” moment, I grew weary from trying to turn my “Ahhs” during exhalations into “AHA’s.”
There are many reasons why we don’t live the life we were meant to live. Perhaps it’s fear, or an unwillingness to step outside of our comfort zone, or maybe it was the bully in grade school that told you “you’re ugly” more than once. It could have been the well-intentioned adult that told you “you’re fat,” or “lazy.” Some studies have recently determined that it was the unpredictable outcome of your upbringing where your parents unwittingly settled for the life they thought they were meant to live, and that dreaming of a better life was just that- a dream. And, sadly, you believed them all.
The beauty is, we can choose to listen to our own voice and acknowledge our own unique and rare gifts.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
Am I happy?
This is a very simple question but it is the basis for life. Try to feel the answer in your body. Do you feel contraction or expansion when you do this simple inquiry? Your emotions are a good barometer for determining the quality of your life at a soul level.
2. Do I trust my own inner guidance?
At the heart of every soulful life is the ability to ask your own questions and get your own answers, free from others’ judgements. The only way to tune into your own guidance system is to cultivate a deeper relationship with yourself and understand your true essence, without the filters of fear, doubt and scarcity. If you are going to trust your instincts, you must also trust where your instincts come from.
3. Can I let the past go?
When we hold onto the past, we are not free to create a new life in the present. We place the experience of our past into the potential of our future, leading us to repeat the same patterns. There is incredible freedom in forgiving, and forgetting, or letting go of past experiences that no longer serve us. The mantra, “I use my memories, I do not allow my memories to use me” can be a powerful tool to help you make better choices for the life you want to create. Keep your focus on the things you do want in your life, and not on what you don’t want.
4. What great wounds have I healed?
Your most challenging moments in life offer you the greatest gifts when it comes to providing you with the clues to what you were meant to learn in this life, and how you can share the gifts of those lessons with others. However painful those memories can be, they are your strength and potential. Think about what you have learned from those experiences and how they helped you grow.
5. When in my life have I felt the most alive?
We have all had times when we felt alive, radiant, and happy. Where time seemingly stood still and we hadn’t a care in the world. What was it about the way you were being that made you feel that way? Was it a sense of adventure, of leadership, of freedom, or of being in service to others? Whatever that feeling was is a clue to where your innate gifts are. It’s what allows your soul to shine. Being fully awake is about pursuing the things that come easily and effortlessly to you. Your innate gifts are your natural talents that you can harness when you allow yourself the freedom to follow your heart’s desires.
6. Am I powerful enough to create my life as I dream it?
We’ve all heard about the power of positive thinking or manifesting that which we desire. But living soulfully and fully awake goes beyond thinking you are powerful. It is about truly knowing that you have the power to change your life and create the life you dream of. It requires that you come from a place of abundance, meaning that you believe that you have everything you need inside of you from the moment your head leaves your pillow in the morning. When you don’t believe you are powerful, you relinquish control of your life and happiness to others. It is important to know that no one is more powerful, more all-knowing and more wise about what you need than yourself.
When I examined my life and asked myself these questions, I discovered that deep down in my bones, nay, in my soul, there was a life I wasn’t living-perhaps even more than one! I knew that it was time to wipe the sleep from my eyes, to reinvest in myself, and to trust my inner voice again. I knew that it would demand an ability to truly be honest even when it was scary in order to live a life that was worth living.
If you can be brave enough to delve into the depths of your soul and ask yourself the above questions, you will truly step into the Divine being that you were meant to be; that you have been all your life, underneath those layers of doubt, fear, and shame. There is an inner-knowing, as old as time itself, that says “You are the answer,” that you can help heal others and this world with your infinite wisdom. Take a moment to find stillness in your life, ask yourself these questions, and most importantly, listen to your own answers. You are on this planet for a reason-don’t ever let anyone tell you differently.
Blog post #3