My wake up call came about four years ago. I was stuck in a cycle. Everyday I would get up around 5 a.m., get ready for work, and complete my shift at the hospital. I would come home and immediately find something for my dog Lady to chew, anything to keep her distracted. It was as if I had no energy to pull from. I melted into my couch and slept away the rest of my day, and eventually I would wake up hungry and groggy. Take out grub or some processed junk out of a box became dinner. After eating I would take poor Lady for a walk, come home, and numb out in front of the TV for a few hours before going to bed.
No reading. No cooking delicious whole foods. No writing. No art projects. No crafts. No volunteering. Nothing that made my heart or soul happy. Did I mention I was only 25 at the time? Why on earth was I so freaking exhausted? Why was I wasting these precious years of my life sleeping on the couch? I did what I knew how to do best and beat myself up over it. I should be thin. I should be in the best shape of my life. These were my glory years, and instead of feeling awesome, I was overweight, single and exhausted. Every few weeks or so I would commit myself to a new lifestyle and exercise regimen. I set myself up to fail every time, with such strict rules that even the most well-intentioned person would have failed, too.
Somewhere in the mix of it, the information I needed came across my brain. I now know why I was so lifeless. I was constantly fighting a war against myself in a twisted attempt at making myself into someone else. Trying to meet the societal standards of perfection, only worsened by the edited versions of life found social media sites like Pinterest, was draining all my physical energy. No amount of sleep could undo this damage.
I went to college and started a successful career like I was supposed to. I worked in a health care job largely based on "a pill for every ill," but my heart ached because I knew I wasn't doing the very best for my patients. I was constantly defending my choice to not get married and have children immediately out of school. I convinced myself I needed to buy a house to become more "adult," only to regret my decision just a year later. I was convinced if I relied on a boyfriend to help me out in any way I was weak, so I perpetually dated the wrong kind of men.
Once I started healing on a spiritual level, my energy came back. I changed jobs. I moved. I got back into the yoga studio. I allowed myself to be in a relationship with someone who loved and supported me.
It turns out constantly fighting a mental war with yourself robs you of every drop of energy you have. Negativity was slowly breaking my heart and my ability to live a vivacious life. I am so thankful for the realization I was the ringmaster in this crazy life, which also gave me the power to turn it all around. I make the choice to live my own life, which is challenging when you have been conditioned for years to do what other successful people have done. I thought going to college, getting a well-paying job, and buying everything my heart could desire was what was going to make me happy.
Now I know spiritual wholeness is what really makes me happy. The more possessions and responsibilities I shed, the lighter I felt. The less focus I spent on myself, and the more I spent trying to answer my calling in this universe, the more enlightened I became. I lost weight and felt better. Instead of relying on possessions, accomplishments, and letters after my name, I look inside to find the peace and stillness of Divinity within my heart.
The joy and gratitude I have found can be yours as well. The new tool of our generation needs to be editing. Simplify your schedule. Fill your time with your own goals and aspirations, not those of someone else. De-clutter your physical living space. Detoxify your kitchen. Lighten your thoughts and ignite positivity. Stop having a contest with your peers about whose job sucks more, who sleeps the least, and who deserves the most pity. Give up the drive to post pictures of fancy engagement rings, houses, children, or whatever on Facebook if that isn't your thing. Finding purpose and fulfillment in your life will bring more energy than you could ever imagine. So make a peace treaty with yourself right now, and start living the life of your own dreams.