In spite of my best intentions, life often runs away with me. Grabbing hold of my arm, it drags me along at such a pace that, finally, all I can do with my last remaining breath is shout Enough! This is NOT what I had in mind. THIS IS NOT WHAT I WANT!
And then, like a break in the clouds, I realise how far I am from doing what I set out to do and being the person I really want to be – the balanced, calm, focused Me who has time to think and space to flow. And I stop, take a deep breath. And take control.
Then I can ask: If not this, what do I want instead? and think about what I need to do to get it.
Now far be it from me to hold myself up as paragon of virtue, a shining example of mind control and self awareness. I'm a life coach for goodness sake. A state of divine grace, perfect equilibrium and omniscience still elude me. This process of putting the brakes on can take five minutes, an hour, a week or perhaps longer, depending on the speed at which I'm travelling away from my intended destination.
But the knowledge that those brakes are there, that I can choose to make that emergency stop means I have an alternative to worry, stress, sleepless nights and feeling like crap.
There have been times in my life when feeling bad about myself, the people around me and the world I lived in was the normal state of being. It was a familiar default. Better the devil you know, eh?
By focusing on the people and situations around me that were 'making me feel' a certain way, I allowed myself to do nothing, seemingly the path of least resistance, the least challenging option. It was their responsibility to make me feel better. If they changed, I would change. Until then I'd sit in my pit.
However, I learnt how important it is to take responsibility for my own life – after all, nobody knows me better than me, no matter how much I may wish it to be different.
If I tune into it, only I have the minute-by-minute, blow-by-blow update on my mental, physical and emotional state. And consequently, only I really know what will help me feel better. I can make choices. I can decide how I respond to the world.
Even in the most dire of predicaments, there is always something, however small or seemingly insignificant, that can give just a little. And when even those tiniest of changes are made, the door opens a crack and you shed a little more light on the problem. And then what becomes possible?
Making life feel better isn't usually about taking one giant leap from A to Z. It's about the small incremental shifts that start the process of moving away from one situation and towards another – the one you want.
With every step towards your goal, a little more of that heaviness around your heart falls away, the grip of stress loosens its hold and you start to be in flow, moving not stagnant, taking control rather than waiting passively for something to change around you.
It's a good feeling, taking responsibility. Trust me. I know.