Do you live intentionally, or haphazardly?
“A strong intention can make ‘two oceans wide’ be the size of a blanket or ‘seven hundred years’ the time it takes to walk to someone you love.” Rumi
Do you ever wonder how all the day-to-day choices you make, big and small, affect your family, career and how you live?
Do you feel like you’re in the driver’s seat — that you are the one creating and directing your life with purpose and intent? Or do you feel as if someone else is driving and you’re in the backseat, hanging on for dear life?! We often hear our coaching clients say they don’t have a choice. They’ve convinced themselves that they can’t change a bad situation. What they really mean is they’re unwilling or not ready to make a hard choice, whatever that means — downsizing to a more affordable home, leaving a financially cushy but unfulfilling job, ending an unhealthy relationship, moving to another part of the country, taking a much-needed sabbatical, changing their diet, living on a reduced salary, or changing their lifestyle so it support greater life balance, and so on.
It’s so easy to slip into a slumber, to give up control, and to think we’re at someone else’s mercy regarding how we’ve set up our lives. But the reality is every day we are making choices — big and small — that affect our day-to-day life on every level. Some choices are easy, and some are hard and uncomfortable. The key is to choose, and to do so deliberately and consciously, in ways that support our larger life goals — for more freedom, balance, simplicity, harmony, health, creative pursuits, and time to be alone and as a family.
Not all our choices will be perfect, nor will circumstances always cooperate. Several years back, one night, after my husband was unexpectedly laid off from his job, we sat up late talking about the unanticipated challenges that we were now facing. Instead of being depressed, though, we chose to feel gratitude for all the conscious choices we’d already made that supported our values — specifically regarding where and how to live and work — and that would continue to support us despite our circumstances.
• We live in a home that is beautiful but modest and needs only one salary to cover the mortgage instead of two.
• We live five minutes from my office, which improves my commute, life balance and my business’s productivity.
• We live close to things that are integral to our quality of life: a yoga and dance studio, hiking trails, a park and community playground, a farmer’s market, the Texas Hill Country, and several natural foods grocery stores.
• We live five minutes from our son’s school, which further limits commute time each day and expands the amount of time we spend together in the morning.
• And in general, we make day-to-day choices that foster our individual and family well-being: turning off the TV so we can spend more time together as a family and outdoors, eating good healthy food so we feel energetic, practicing mediation so we’re less re-active, taking nature-based vacations that leave us feeling rested/renewed and making music an integral part of our lives.
Years ago in my twenties when I worked as an international communications director, I couldn’t make it to a photography class early to create prints, and my photography teacher challenged me, stating it was my choice to be late or not. Exasperated, I rolled my eyes and shot back: “You just don’t understand. I had too much work — conference calls, media tours — I had no choice!” I really thought I didn’t. Now I know I do. We all do. (This excerpt is from Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life by Renee Trudeau.)
In transition, asking “What’s next?” and ready to live more intentionally and create the life you truly desire? I’d love to be your guide/mentor this fall. Launching this Thur., Sept. 11: Permission Granted: The Art of Extreme Self-Care, a 4-session telecourse for women. All classes recorded. Come as you are. Only a few spots left; reserve yours here (or give one as a gift).
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by life balance teacher/author and Career Strategists president, Renée Peterson Trudeau. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping and more. Thousands of women in ten countries are becoming RTA-Certified Facilitators and leading/joining life balance groups based on her award-winning curriculum. She is the author of The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal and Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 12 year-old son. More on her background here.
Photo: The spot where I meditate each morning. Whether it’s for 5 minutes or 25 minutes, the simple act of sitting, surrendering and beginning my day with stillness, has helped me to live intentionally more than anything else.