Last week I wrote about taking practical steps to pursue the life you want. I’ve had many conversations via email, facebook, and over the phone about that particular post. The number one topic of conversation wasn’t about more details concerning the ‘how’, but was all about the ‘what’. It amazes me how many grown adults have no idea who they are, what they want to do or who they want to become. They are still uncertain about the kind of life they want to live. In the context of a road trip, the biggest question isn’t how to get to the destination as much as ‘what is the destination’ to begin with!
Why is it that trying to figure out who we truly want to be and what kind of life we want to live be so difficult and almost elusive? Well I believe it’s a matter of expectations. In my experience of working with people who are trying to figure this critical piece out, they have no idea what they truly want because they haven’t let go of the expectations of others. They are too busy pleasing others and trying to live a life approved by their parents, faith group, the opposite sex, etc. that they have no room to discover who they are and what they want.
David Deida, in The Way of the Superior Man, offers this insight to all men trying to live a fulfilled masculine life… “Live as if your father is already dead”. Now if you back up a minute and gain some perspective you will see how truly powerful this advice is. I have a wonderful father and I’m blessed to live near him and be able to connect with him on many levels. However, I can no longer live my life trying to please him. That would be ridiculous and unsustainable. I have to live my own life by my values and my principles, led by my heart and my relationship with the Divine… not his. And he wouldn’t want me living to please him. He’s too healthy for that.
Now this doesn’t apply to just the masculine. It applies to everyone, masculine and feminine. How many people do you know, or maybe you’re one of them, that went into their first career because it’s what their parents wanted them to do? Only to find themselves burnt out because they weren’t doing something that made them come alive. Because they weren’t giving the gift they were purposed in life to give. They married the person they were ‘supposed’ to marry. They bought the house and the life that they thought they were ‘supposed’ to. Never truly asking, is this what I really want? Is this the life I want to live?
How many people do you know that continue to make huge life decisions based on what the particular sub-society they are a part of values. I’ve seen it in high society, low society, faith society, and family structures. The only sustainable life you can live is the one you want to live. And even then, you have to fight and work hard for it.
Now I’m not saying you should walk out on your life long relationships, marriage, career, mortgage payments, etc. Certainly I’m not saying that you should wish your parents weren’t around anymore. The funny thing is, I work with people whose parents have long been dead, and they are still living a life that tries to please their dead parents, and not their living selves. I’m not talking about shirking the responsibilities that you have and the commitments you’ve made. But I am talking about shedding the expectations that aren’t your own. Discovering who you are and what you want. What makes you come alive? What brings you the greatest joy in your life? What makes you happy? What is your unique relationship with the Divine? And how can you pursue these things more in your life?
I choose today to live my life according to my expectations and no one else. I will do what it takes to discover who I am, what I want, and how I want to live my life. I am capable of listening to my heart, connecting to the Source, and discovering what I want in life and who I want to be.