Here are some of my favourite small, doable ways to reclaim my sense of alignment on the days I’m still wearing my pj’s at 5p.m., sucking back my fourth cup of tea, and yelling at my kids…
- Make a list of 10 things you’re grateful for. This is what is working for you right now, what is in alignment. Treasure it; build on it.
- Remember back to your childhood, and what you enjoyed doing the most. Maybe it was drawing, or reading comics, or swimming. Find a way to do that this week.
- Get outside. Feel your body, breathe the air. Creating space in your day will ignite your creativity and your intuition, two of the keys to finding more alignment.
- Make a list of What Is Possible for the area of your life in which you’re feeling least aligned. Dream big: could you quit your job? Travel the world? Run a marathon? Adopt a baby?
- Do something that feels just a little bit wild. The exhilaration you feel might inspire you to release your inhibitions a little more often.
- Have a dance party in your living room, and be sure to make up a few moves that no one has ever seen before. This is a way to quieten your inner good girl, who plays such a role in keeping us from being fully authentic.
- Hang out with a kid. They are so uninhibited, so themselves. Take this to heart: there is joy in being truly, authentically you.
- Write a wish for your life on a piece of paper and tuck it in your wallet. The first wish that comes to mind will do: our gut instincts show us our true desires before we have the chance to convince ourselves of their impossibility.
- Write a story or tell someone about what you were like as a kid. What has changed? What could you do today that makes you feel like that kid again?
- Reach your arms up over your head, draw your palms together, and slowly bring them down to rest in prayer position in front of your chest. Even from the time we are babies, centring movements like this help us to feel grounded, connected, and safe.
- Find photos of yourself as a teenager. Our teens are so often hallmarked by the intense desire to express ourselves and who we are to the world. What were you trying to say to the world back then, via your combat boots and blue hair (or was that just me?)? Do you find yourself wanting to express some of the same things in your life now?
- Recall a time when you did something truly courageous. Write it down. Immerse yourself in the experience of your own courage: what fears did you overcome? what strengths did you draw upon to overcome them? The process of finding more alignment, especially when it involves big life changes, can be scary. But you’ve got what it takes; you really do.
- Do exactly what your body is telling you…right now. Eat, get up and stretch, go hug someone. Following your intuition is one of the most important practices to bring you into greater alignment.
- Ask someone near and dear to you to tell you about, well…you. Ask them to describe you, or play interviewer and think of a few questions you would have if you were interviewing them about you as a person. What do you think about what you hear? Is it reflective of how you want to be showing up in the world?
- Write a list of your “loves.” What do you love to do? Hint: the Real Deal version of this list probably only contains a half dozen or fewer “loves,” and they’re probably things you’ve always prioritized or cherished in your life. How well are your “loves” incorporated into your day-to-day life?
- Think of something you’ve always said you’d do “someday.” Make a list of ten small things you can do today that will move you closer to your goal.
- Give yourself an “expectations holiday.” For an hour or three, see if you can carve out time to spend exactly as you wish, without the expectations of your family, your job, or even of yourself. This might take some practice, as our expectations are deeply engrained in the stories we have about who we are and what we “must” do to be helpful and valuable in the world. Keep working on it…
- Identify something about your life that just isn’t you anymore, and release it in a releasing ritual. Maybe you’re so done with the high heels that hurt your feet, or busting your butt to make homemade organic vegan treats for playgroup. Write down what you’re ready to let go of on a small piece of paper, and burn it! Watch it burn! Let it go, let it go, let it go.
- Recall an experience or time in your life when you felt totally yourself, totally at ease, fulfilled, happy, successful – whatever – it felt good. Damn good. Write it out, dream it up…feel it. Now think carefully: what was it about that time that felt so great? Was it that you were backpacking through Europe, or was it more about feeling free and having an adventure every day? How can you bring more of what jazzed you up about that time in your life into your days now?
- Comparison is a bitch, but we all do it. If there’s someone you feel is “living the life” (or at least their Instagram account makes it look that way) that you admire for their authenticity, courage, or wacky uniqueness, invite them to coffee. Ask them about what it’s like to be them. You might be surprised by what you discover.
- Spend ten minutes in meditation. You’ll be amazed at how much clarity a little bit of stillness allows.
- Write some paragraphs or a story about the life you’re not living. The one that got left behind as a result of one or more choices that led you to the life you are living. About how you thought you were going to be a doctor but you didn’t get into med school, about how you thought you were going to be a mother, but you weren’t able to conceive. Ask yourself: what are you ready to let go of? What is still lingering? What is still possible?
- Engage in some truly nourishing self-care. Hint: what feels best is usually also a nod toward your authentic self. Pedicures not your style? Go for a hike instead.
- While you’re nourishing yourself, nourish others too, in a way that is authentic and totally “you.” Love to cook? Bring some food to a new mama. Haven’t tinkled the ivories in years? See if a local nursing home has a piano you can delight people with for a few hours. Using your gifts in service of others is a quick route to more alignment.
- See if you can play hooky for a day and create your version of an “ideal day.” Forget the dishes, work, your email, and anything else like feels like an obligation, and do exactly what you wish you could do every day.
- Practice failing. Do something that is very likely to go horribly wrong, but that shouldn’t matter because the stakes are small. Sing terrible karaoke, strap on a pair of rollerskates, or try to sketch your dog. When you get good at failing – at trying something out in spite of your fears, swallowing your pride and high expectations of yourself and learning from your mistakes – suddenly failure seems a lot less scary. And when your fear of failure decreases, the possibilities for your life multiply.
- Make a bucket list, or if you have one already, revisit it. What can you do today to work toward accomplishing one of the things on your life list?
- Look through old journals. Who were you then? What really made you tick? You might be surprised at what you rediscover about yourself.
- Write a letter to your future self. (You can do this using the website www.futureme.org). Tell her about what your life is like now, and what you hope will have happened by the time your future self reads her letter.
- Read a book about an inspiring, totally aligned woman, or about someone else’s experience of finding alignment. I suggest “Tales of a Female Nomad” by Rita Golden Gelman, “Wild,” by Cheryl Strayed, or “Eat Pray Love,” by Elizabeth Gilbert.
- Have one really honest conversation about the way you’re feeling about your life right now. Sharing both your intentions for the future and your feelings of being lost or unsure will be amazingly cathartic.
- Take a deep breath.
- Know that you’re not alone.
- Believe that you’re on the path toward authenticity, living in accordance with who you are and what matters most to you.
- Take another deep breath.
- Do what it takes.
- Get into the mess of your process. Dive in, get mucky, and learn how to just be in it.
- Trust that eventually, you’ll come to understand and to feel what alignment means for you.
- Know that alignment is a practice, a commitment, a devotional act.
- Practice, Commit, Devote.
- Love yourself. Practice deep compassion. Find a community of women who are going through the same thing and allow yourself to be supported.
- You’ve got this.