5 Steps to More Satisfaction
Running from yoga class to meetings, green juice in hand, regramming an inspirational Rumi quote whilst on the tube, looking forward to a wholesome vegan meal when you finally get home, still reluctantly single...is there a tiny piece of you shouting "I'M NOT SATISFIED"? Step away from the mala beads, relief is at hand
The scourge of the 21st century conscious woman (and maybe men, I wouldn't know) is the ability to fluently ascertain precisely what her needs are in any given moment, intellectualise them and then proceed to summon up all kinds of convoluted solutions that do nothing but sidestep the real issue - that being - we are not giving ourselves enough attention.
This sounds backwards, I know. You might think you take lots of time out for a healthy lifestyle, one that is balanced and should surely bring SOME karmic rewards (can we have them now please?) and satisfaction? All that time spent juicing, researching superfoods, meditating, yoga retreats and self-development books - isn't that paying attention to yourself? In a way, yes, but it's not what I'm talking about.
I am talking about quality space and time given to deep, full-body listening, the type of listening where the answers are felt not thought, the type of listening where the shy intuition is given full reign to creep out of hiding and speak, the kind of listening where you understand that everything you require is already here and there is no need for anymore striving, grasping or righteousness, just the straightforward, simple (but challenging) act of stepping up to receive what is already there.
The vexing cycle of epiphany-plateau-craving applies to practices, people and circumstances. We find something or someone that gets us super-high, we love it, do it to death then level out, then doggedly seek the next peak, becoming by turns fixated and frustrated. Why can't the itch be scratched?
My firm belief is that each of us holds the key to our own becoming, we have more wisdom inside of us than could ever be found in a million books. The best teachers are the ones who show us how to get to this wisdom, how to see it and know it. There exists health and energy within us that could not be achieved from an ocean full of green juice, the type of wellbeing that fills us up to overflowing, heart-swellingly and face shiningly full so we have no choice but to spill out creativity, vibrancy and love. The key is in accepting the direction provided by each drop, the places we feel weak, scared, let down or lacking give us vital clues as to where we can help ourselves.
How do we embody this state of being then, where we perceive no lack? How do we change the belief that we are each the guardian of a big, empty hole; our mission to fill it up with more learning, connection, sensation or experience in order to become full? How do we put down the shovel and start walking towards the place that is already full of everything we could ever wish for?
Today, these 5 concepts aligned themselves helpfully in my mind, I hope they help you to feel more easiness, flow and fullness. When we get really clear we invite interactions that complement our own sweet potency and move each one towards love and away from fear.
1. Physical Self-Care
I'm not about to start preaching to the choir about nutrition and exercise, that's important and most of us know all about it or can easily find out. Self-care is bigger than that. Human bodies have deep desire for touch, comfort, warmth, sexual excitement, sleep, rest, outside air, laughter and movement - these are just a few. Figuring out which of these will bring our bodies back into equilibrium at any given moment can only be done when we provide space and time to enquire within. Our job is to identify and provide for ourselves what we crave. (Use your imagination) If this happens less than once a day we start to veer off track, residue collects and turns into neediness, cravings and desperation which in turn can make our interactions with others loaded and fraught. Instead of light and effortless it becomes heavy and charged and everyone feels dissatisfied if not downright taken advantage of. Treat yourself like the princess you are and you don't need anyone else to do it for you.
2. Focus of Mind
The mind runs our being much of the time and that's ok, we need it, but occasionally there's a scratch on the neurological record and we get stuck, the same pattern on loop, irritating (to us and others), repetitive and useless. This can happen at any time and the reasons why are not important, we just need to know how to lift the needle and put it down somewhere else where the record can play on. A practical way to notice when this is happening is to journal. Write down every day for a set amount of time, it could be 3 minutes - just empty your head. Review your rantings, musings and words - read them back and notice without judgement what track your mind is on. If you're not enjoying the current one then ask yourself gently if you wouldn't mind turning your attention to something else in order that you might feel better? Stay kind and soft in your instruction always, like speaking to (someone else's) small child. Be sweetly persistent. Guide your mind by the hand down the most scenic yet direct route you know towards ease and satisfaction.
Much of the time, we think we know what we want and we think we know exactly how to get it. Sometimes, when we are open to the feeling of what we want without being locked onto how we will get there - the most extraordinary occurrences materialise. It's an amazing exercise to identify something you perceive as a block to your getting whatever it is you want, like lack of time, money or skill and ask yourself what would happen if you had the perfect amount of time/money/resources ? What would happen? What could happen? Use your imagination, be bold and creative and widen your parameters for what you are willing to invite into your life. Be curious.
Being grateful. Considering how miraculous our existence on this relatively tiny planet in space is, is the macro way to be grateful. I prefer the micro way - to be grateful for a warm bed or radiators or a tenner in my purse to do with as I please. It all works. I like to write it down because I like to write but a mental list could work just as well. Like the other steps on this list - a daily practice is most efficient and as you begin in earnest to note what you are thankful for there does seem to be a peculiar magnetising effect set into motion whereby more of this stuff comes your way in different forms. I don't know if it's magic, I think like attracts like on many levels. Either way, the state of being thankful feels lovely all on its own.
5. Action based on instinct (or Wu Wei)
After these 4 steps of giving yourself quality time, attention and love and deeply tuning in, there is a clarity that starts to appear, like a mist clearing in the morning sunshine - when you do the work to remove the residue of conditioning, patterns, physical holdings and tension, the truth of who you are and what you want is strikingly apparent (to paraphrase Lao Tzu) When we get in touch with this place the amount of decision making drastically reduces, the need to plan is minimised and the intuition is strengthened and concentrated like a laser beam. It seems that the clarity of intention enables a drawing towards us of exactly that which is perfect for us in any given moment. Wu Wei is the ancient Taoist term for effortless non-doing, that state of flow where we lose track of time because we are enjoying and engrossed in our activity, this state becomes familiar when we start from the centre with radical self-care and ensure we are full from the inside; we attract ease, love, abundance, pleasure and beauty. This is not to say that we are always in a permanent state of bliss (because for one, how would we know it was bliss if we had nothing to compare it to? And two, too much of anything is just boring and three, the Yin and the Yang always balance up eventually) but it is to say that we are much better equipped to access it and relish it in a relaxed way that guarantees the fullest capacity of experience, the biggest measure of life in intensity and sensation, in undeniable humanity but with full consciousness at the same time. Being able to perceive and receive this goodness is a skill and an art wherein lies the key to satisfaction.