So it’s Saturday night and I’m sitting in my sister’s house, babysitting my nephew, while she helps doing front-of-house for a local amateur dramatics show (yes it runs in the family!) My two children and my nephew are quietly driving my nephew’s Amazon “Alexa” crazy as no sooner has one of them said “Alexa, play this track” when one of the others cuts in with “No, Alexa, play another track”. To her credit though, she dutifully obeys, without question, and is infinitely more patient than I am listening to between 3 and 5 seconds of each song!
When they do find a song they all like however, harmony is restored – the entire track is then played (usually up to 5 times) – and then we have dancing! And boy, is there dancing! Now I’m a dance teacher you understand, so I have to say that their style is somewhat ‘mixed‘ and their technique is ‘developing‘ but the enthusiasm and motivation is definitely there – along with a complete lack of self-consciousness that allows for a freedom of expression and total disregard for other people’s opinions, which I find priceless.
I’m reminded of that wonderful poem which goes something like:
“Sing like no one is listening.
Love like you’ve never been hurt.
Dance like nobody’s watching,
And live like heaven is on earth”.
I don’t know who wrote it but it’s something I like to remind myself of from time to time. Too many of us don’t follow through with the things we want to do because we are so afraid of what other people will think. We think they will judge us or criticise our choices so we “conform to the norm” and live our lives under the mantle of control from ‘other people’ rather then ourselves. We limit ourselves to doing what ‘other people’ think is acceptable and what ‘other people’ want us to do because we listen to their opinions too much and give more value to what they judge as ‘right’ or ‘proper’ than we do to our own judgment and in doing so we disregard our own connection to divine energy!
But does that get us the life we want? Or do we just then become pawns in other people’s games, trying desperately to live up to their expectations whilst denying our own values, hopes and dreams?
There can be no true happiness in life if we are trying to live at the behest of others or with values and ideals that are not our own – like choosing a career or a university course just to please our parents or teachers, or because everyone else said we should. This cannot end in our happiness as we will always be referring to someone else to see if we are ‘good enough’, ‘worthy enough’, ‘smart enough’ or ‘anything enough!’ This will never put is in control of our own life or our own bliss – since we have let our opinion of ourselves be determined by another. If we try to live by this mantra then we will give up all power in our life to this other person – one whose opinions we can never control. We become puppets whose self-esteem is at their whim not our own, however well-meaning they are and however much they love us! For the truth is, that these ‘other people’ are usually those closest too us whose opinions we value and who we know love us. But that does not always follow that they understand our true calling or our unique path.
Follow your heart
I teach in a school and my students often ask my advice about what subject to take for GCSE, A’ Level or even at university, and my answer is always the same – follow your heart. I truly believe that if we quieten our minds through meditation or other mindfulness practices, then we will be able to tune in to our true calling, broadcasting to us from source energy 24/7, 365 days a year, for eternity. It tells us who we are, it’s why we came to earth in the first place and it’s our only way to true happiness.
Trying to live your life on other people’s terms, by tuning in to their frequencies and values will only lead to dissatisfaction with ourselves and resentment of the people we are so desperately trying to please. There is no value in only seeing ourselves reflected in the eyes of others – we must look at ourselves squarely and honestly in the mirror, assessing our worth by our own values and beliefs in order to appreciate the wonderful and amazing creative creatures we truly are.
So how can we get back to our own path and how do we know if we are off track?
This is a simple one – if something does not bring you joy and uplift you emotionally, then somewhere or other, you are off track. Your emotions are your spiritual guidance system giving you feedback 24/7 on your progress towards the things you enjoy, the things you desire and the things you came down here to do. Good feelings show you that you are on track; ‘bad’ or negative emotions show you that somewhere you are either thinking about things in the wrong way, or you have given up your true power by listening too intently to what other people want for you instead of what you want for yourself. This is not the same and not listening to or seeking advice about a particular problem or situation – I often do that to ensure I have all the relevant options in front of me. But that doesn’t mean I have to follow that advice without question.
When I was at school I was what most people would call a good ‘all-rounder’. I was conscientious and in the top few percent at most subjects – except cooking which to this day, still eludes me! I chose double maths, physics and economics as A’ levels because my teachers said I was talented at them. I did enjoy those subjects even though all my outside activities and interests were in drama, dance and music. But when I came to choose a university course, I made the mistake of following their advice in the first instance, and applied initially for a handful of maths and physics B.Sc courses, even though I really wanted to work in theatre, film or TV. Luckily for me, I realised in time that this course of action was never going to make me happy. On a visit to one university, the lecturer showing us round explained that everyone on the course did a project over their 3 years, and introduced us to a student who was studying the viscosity of treacle. At that moment, my higher self screamed at me to rethink my motivations – it knew I would never be happy studying the viscosity of treacle for 3 years, and in that instant, I turned around, left the university and made my way home. I then took gap year and applied the following year to do drama and theatre studies, (to the disappointment of my maths teacher) but I have never looked back. I still have an interest in physics and actually tutor students privately in maths, but I have never once regretted my choice to follow my own path and dreams, instead of the aspirations others had for me.
I knew my initial choice was off track because it just felt wrong. I could make many lists about the pros and cons of the situation but deep down, my emotional reaction to it was my best mentor. And the moment I made a choice more in line with who I was, and what I wanted for me, the better I felt – the churning in my stomach stopped and was replaced with a calmness and clarity that left me feeling inspired and eager to begin. And I never looked back.
So next time you are concerned about the other people watching and commenting on your life, take a step back; shut the door and seek the answers you need internally. Ask for advice yes if it makes you feel more secure, but then quiet your mind and see how each outcome feels as you mull in over in your mind. Project yourself into the future in each scenario and I guarantee that one of them will feel better, more urgent and more inspired than the other. And that will be the one in line with your true nature and your true desires. Do not listen to the dissensions of others – they are not on your path and they will not understand. Dance and sing to your own tune for you are the creative being for your life. You cannot create a life for another and they cannot create one for you.
Watching my children and nephew in all their innocence is inspiring. They are holding true to the principles of the universe and going for the fun in every day without judgment or self-deprecation. They have not yet learned to listen to criticism and judgement of everyone else and they therefore do not allow others to curb their goals and dreams either. And long may that continue. True unconditional love would not impose those kinds of restrictions or conditions. If my children love dancing to their own tune, then who am I to dampen their enthusiasm with my own flawed prejudices and preconceptions?
For more information on how to know what you want in life, click here.