How to Live Life on Your Own Terms
Writer. Surfer. Marketer. Philosophy Lover. Yoga Teacher. Over the next week, this multi-talented woman invites us into her process of discovering her core purpose. While she may not have all the answers yet, one piece of her story is clear: her journey is her own.
This is a concept that has taken me years to really understand.
I’ve always taken, let’s call it the ‘alternative’ route in life, choosing working remotely and traveling for the latter half of my twenties over marriage and a mortgage.
But even with these non-traditional choices, fear of judgement or disapproval from the external world lingered above every decision.
In the last couple of years, I spent some time with my shadow self. I got to know how deeply ingrained this need for approval and acceptance was when things got rough at work. I (unintentionally) explored what it really felt like when I let perceived disapproval affect me emotionally.
And then, the lesson came.
I realized that I didn't need approval from anyone but myself.
It wasn’t until I was introduced to the yogic concepts of aparigraha (non-attachment) and tapas (dedication) and dharma (purpose) that I think the wisdom of my journey being my own finally began to settle in.
I started to realize that the messages I’m meant to send to the world - the work I’m meant to be doing - has to happen regardless of what people think, how people judge, whether or not people understand what I’m doing.
It’s not about reactions, likes, or praise.
It’s about doing the work for the work’s sake.
It’s about fulfilling your purpose.
The sweet thing about that?
It relieves a bit of the pressure and insecurity of throwing yourself out there fully for everyone to see.
Believing deeply that my journey is my own helps me when things don’t go the way that I’ve planned.
It opens me up to pay attention to why things happen the way they do and invites me to see how all the dots are connected.
And most importantly, it helps me release that nagging fear of judgement that only holds me back.
As you hear Marta’s story, I encourage you to think about what resonates, what stands out, what has you thumbstop.
2018 has been a transformative year for me:
I quit my job as a director of an advertising agency to set up my own consultancy, I broke up with my partner of 10 years and decided to leave London after living there for 12 years.
Cutting all ties with my ‘old life’ and running away wasn’t the intention.
Finding my purpose was.
Everyone I spoke to asked if I’ve seen or read ‘Eat Pray Love’.
I have no desire to either.
My journey is my own and I don’t need to shape it the same way someone else shaped theirs.
I’ve also heard I was ‘brave’ and ‘lucky’ to be doing what I do.
I’ll tell you what friends: it’s not luck that got me to the co-working space in Sri Lanka where I write these words from.
It’s the hard work over the years which allowed me to decide I now have enough experience to run my own business and to run it remotely.
It’s the conviction that this is the right lifestyle for me right now and the fierce sense of independence that won’t allow me to settle for something that doesn’t feel right.
Is it brave?
Not really, I’m not actually risking that much by travelling the world.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my ‘purpose’ and what that word means to me.
I recently completed a yoga teacher training in Bali (you just wait dear reader; the clichés are piling up!) which made me dive deeper into my mind, even the darkest corners of it, and my feelings about myself.
I don’t normally like to be left alone with my thoughts.
I would rather throw myself into my workload and try to solve my team members’ issues or help my friends through tough times than face my own demons. Which is precisely why it was such a good exercise.
I guess we all, at some point in our lives, attempt to figure out why have we been put on this earth.
It’s a hard question as no one is going to give us a straight answer to it.
It’s also likely that the answer will change at different stages of our lives.
It’s an uncomfortable question too – requiring self-analysis and facing our fears and anxiety.
There are very few people I know who decided what their purpose is early on in their life and stuck to it. I admire those people, their drive and determination.
I feel like the vision I have of my purpose keeps changing. I get bored and restless when I’m no longer challenged so I make a decision to start another thing.
Only recently I started discovering that I tend to mistake career goals and more general life purpose. I think of my professional life as the determining factor of my purpose rather than consider my purpose first and then build a career around it.
So what’s next?
It’s time for me to do my homework.
I incorporated daily meditation into my life (what did I tell you about the clichés?!) to ensure that I check in with myself and maintain the balance.
I practice yoga as much as I can and aim for a daily practice.
I started writing again which is my creative outlet that I crave whenever things get a bit chaotic.
With Emily’s help, I was able to identify some key statements which are important to me and I use them as my daily mantra, whenever I feel stuck or during my meditation.
Discovering what my purpose is isn’t an easy task, but I know that without doing the internal work my external relationships will suffer.
Strong spine, open heart and balanced mind is what I’m aiming for at the moment. I trust my intuition more.
The rest will follow.
Marta’s just beginning her journey to find her purpose.
She’s made some pretty big life changes to create space for self-exploration and self-discovery.
She’s built new habits like meditation and yoga to connect more deeply to herself.
She’s starting to pay attention to what feels right to her - and what doesn’t.
There are so many ways for us to better understand ourselves and why we’re here on this earth. For some of us, it might require picking up and moving, quitting a job, ending a relationship, or leaving to travel.
For others, it might just require a morning run, a journaling practice or trying something new.
Growth doesn’t require massive change to be meaningful.
And usually, our purpose is right in front of us, but we just can’t see it yet.
So, what about you?
Where are you in your process?
What’s working for you?
Where are you stuck?