Recently, I’ve been listening to Awareness, by Anthony De Mello. Audio books and podcasts are my favourite passtimes, primarily because I’m able to move freely and if need be, I can also get on with other tasks. With that said, there’s certain audios that require my undivided attention and Awareness is definitely one of them!
If you were ever to walk past whilst I’m listening, you’ll often hear me say ‘yes’ or make some kind of sound whenever I rate what had just been said. I’m 4 hours in now and many bars have been dropped, but at Chapter 25 around the 15 minute mark I heard: You’re suffering because you are asleep.
There’s a few references about being asleep throughout the book but hearing that, at that moment in time really struck a chord with me.
I’ll repeat it for you: You’re suffering because you are asleep.
I remember pausing to add the sentence to my notes page which then inspired me to write.
How many of us are still sleeping? Living in the dark and suffering because that’s all we know and haven’t questioned what life would look like if we were to pay just a little more attention.
My life changed when I began asking myself questions, shifted my perspective and learned how to be more present.
The way you navigate through life depends on your awareness. Most importantly, it is how aware you are of yourself as it effects the world around you, your relationships with others and how you respond to the events that you’ll experience.
Without awareness you are essentially sleepwalking through life.
It’s up to you, you can stay sleeping or wake up.
Enjoy life in a new way, a lighter way, a way free from the burden that is: constant judgement, attempted mind reading, rumination about the past and thinking about a future that is yet to exist, as well as caring about things that do not matter.
Awareness really is the key.
At 23, I realised that the choice is mine and decided to prioritise my mental health and well-being. Before then, track and field took the top spot but it became my biggest source of stress and no longer made me happy (which I didn’t fully acknowledge for at least two years). If it wasn’t for the heels inflammation ultimately being the trigger for me to step away from the sport, I’d still be enduring unnecessary stress.
Everything happens for a reason. Although I was unable to make sense of it at the time, on reflection, the flare up turned out to be a good thing; my body was simply signalling rest.
Rest in every sense of the word, not only physically but I needed rest from the story I was wrapped up in for so long; that of an athlete whose life revolved around training, cycles and seasons. I wasn’t where I wanted to be and after a while it started taking its toll.
So I made the following changes which have helped me feel more at peace, they include:
- Stepping away from athletics because it caused me stress
- Moving to Madrid to explore life outside of my comfort zone
- Continuing to work part time, to ensure I have autonomy over my day
- Living well within my means, gives me a freedom to do what I want without significant financial pressure
- Carving out significant parts of my day, doing the things I like to do (meditation, Spanish, reading and listening to podcasts)
- Daily examination of my thoughts, feelings and behaviour
It’s been over three months since I moved away and each day confirms that I made the right choice. The people I’ve met so far and the stories we’ve shared, have only reinforced to me that the universe works in mysterious ways.
Our time is limited, life is fragile and I don’t want to spend any more moments in the dark. You can decide to wake up simply by asking yourself:
What is in front of me that I cannot see? (Kapil Gupta)
I like this from Kapil because it encourages me to think about situations I may be blindly looking at, to consider what I can do to gain more clarity on said situation and lastly, to question whether I am getting swayed in a particular direction outside of my control.
Madrid feels like a fresh start, I can be whoever I want to be.
I know the choice is always mine.
I’m here to remind you that the choice is always yours too.
Here’s to an awakened 2022. Ask questions, be honest and take charge.
Happy New Year 🙂