The last three years have been some of the happiest of my life. I’m living in a gorgeous rural area near the oldest mountain range in the world, I’ve chosen a more creative work path that is deeply aligned with my passions, I’m stretching myself personally and professionally, I’ve simplified and streamlined my material possessions and every morning when I wake up I ask: what would make me feel more alive today? And I follow this creative impulse.
“What makes you come alive?” is the question I love to ask my clients, family and friends every time we meet for a walk or a front porch tea or glass of wine. It gets us right to the good stuff. I love watching their faces light up when they hear this question and ponder what is setting their hearts and bodies on fire right now.
The last three years has everyone re-assessing everything: where to live and how they want to work, what values they want to embrace, what values are most important to their families, how they want to educate their kids and what relationships and activities fuel them and which ones drain them.
These last few years have been called “the great disruptor.” This time has served as a huge catalyst and a wake-up call. I believe we’re finally starting to see some of the gifts that have come from this period of great challenge.
In 1999 I founded a boutique career coaching firm. For more than 18 years, I assisted thousands of clients in integrating who they are with what they do in the world. The ones who were most happy, engaged, energized and creatively fulfilled were those who had said, “YES!” to that which makes them come alive. They didn’t play it safe, worry about their 401k or take the well-trodden path. They followed their hearts and paid attention to that inner spark that was begging for attention. In his wonderful book Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life my colleague Gregg Levoy said, “Generally, people won’t pursue their callings until the fear of doing so is finally exceeded by the pain of not doing so. But it’s amazing how high their tolerance is for this type of pain.”
In my last book Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Find Peace in Everyday Life, chapter nine challenges us to examine how we’ve set up our lives and asks if we’re ready to make hard choices to create more inner and outer alignment. Part of coming into alignment has to do with simplifying, living from the inside out and embracing ways to do it differently. I believe this approach helps us create the inner space to connect with what makes us come alive.
Are you contemplating this question and having all kinds of excuses pop up for why this won’t work for you? Many of us tend to complicate things. I know I do. Yesterday I was talking to my husband and reflecting on the level of activity we used to manage a couple of years ago when we lived in Austin. We got exhausted just thinking about it! Now, I’m learning that living in a more rural area where there are fewer choices, things are less complex and I’m more connected to nature—has an enormous impact on my mood, stress-level and overall well-being.
This new year, get curious, stay open and play, “What if…?” I challenge you every day to keep asking and answering: What makes me come alive? And then go do that.
This week when you circle up at the dinner table with friends or family, ask, “What makes you come alive?” And prepare to see fireworks. I share the poem below from Dawna Markova. It was a favorite of my career change clients. Perhaps it may ignite something that is just waiting to be expressed through you.
I Will Not Die an Unlived Life
I will not die an unlived life
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance;
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit. ~ Dawna Markova
JOIN ME VIRTUALLY + IN-PERSON FOR AN UPCOMING SELF-RENEWAL EXPERIENCE:
- **Available for a limited time; download today.** Still, Dark & Quiet: A Deep Rest Winter Retreat (virtual). A delicious winter retreat to download and enjoy 24/7 from your home. Enjoy Yoga Nidra deep relaxation, poetry, song & stillness; only $49. Learn more/register.
- Jan. 27 – 29th ~ **Almost sold out!** Awakening Your Wild Soul: Women’s Self-Renewal Retreat at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, my fav retreat center (don’t delay; this deeply replenishing, meditative winter retreat always sells out). I’ll be back at Kripalu leading this retreat again April 14-16 and Oct. 13-15. Learn more.
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- Wild Souls Nature Adventures (based in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western NC): authentic movement classes, community song circles, full moon hikes, meditation workshops, women’s circles and more. New offerings are listed each week; have me design a custom experience for your team or friends. Learn more.
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by life balance coach/author/speaker and self-care evangelist Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women find balance through the art/science of self-care, Renee has been facilitating high-impact interactive workshops for Fortune 500 companies, national nonprofits/conferences and organizations worldwide for 25 years. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Fast Company, Good Housekeeping, US News & World Report, Yoga Journal, AARP Magazine, Spirituality & Health and more. She and her team have certified more than 450 facilitators in 10 countries around the globe to lead self-renewal groups based on her pioneering self-care curriculum. She’s the author of two books on life balance including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life. She and her husband live in Western North Carolina and Austin, Texas; her latest venture is Wild Souls Nature Adventures. More on Renee here.