It is no secret that life can sometimes feel like a limited paved road laid out before us that we feel the need to stick to. Look at how we are brought up. Most of the time we come into the world and develop our ideas and perceptions from those closest to us – our parents. As time goes on we find ourselves in school, around friends, extended family or even on the internet. These new sources of ‘life’ begin to model ‘what life is’ and so we often follow.
Through these early formative years, we are observing and creating an idea of how life should be; the ‘best way’ to play the game. We’re learning from people who learned from those before them and so on. Very small ideas evolve throughout history, but typically, most of the way life is stays the same. We don’t change a whole lot.
But what happens when it feels like a new future is calling? How does one wake up to the fact that life isn’t limited to this narrow path?
This of the concept of ‘the best decision.’ How many times have we heard “that’s not the best decision” or “that’s not the best decision for the whole family.” When you look at either statement you realize that ‘best’ is subjective. What the ‘best’ is to one person may not be the ‘best to another. Further, both perceptions of ‘the best’ are created from whatever belief systems each of us have been exposed to in our own lives. This is the key factor to realize when feeling the desire to free ourselves from old patterns.
We Get Trapped in Belief Systems
When our experiences lead our neuro-plastic minds create a belief system like this, we limit how we view things. We no longer feel what is ‘best,’ but instead we analyze and define ‘best’ based on a story; often a story from the past, based on entirely different times than the present moment. A story that we don’t check with our feelings, but that we justify with our minds only.
I don’t mean to vilify the mind here. It’s an incredible tool that is part of our experience, that said, can we connect it better with our bodies? Our nature? Can we have our systems work in better harmony? Or should we continue to operate on autopilot where our minds virtually run the show? This is what I want to explore in this piece further.
Let’s take the example of a child coming out of high school today. 9 times out of 10, that child will be told, and may even believe, that the ‘best’ decision they can make for their life is to continue their education at university or college. It does not matter that they do not know what they want to study, or that the education system will potentially cost them $100,000+, many will state that is best – and even have pride about it.
For someone wishing to become a doctor, continuing education is likely the ‘best’ path, but why, other than through fear and conditioning, do we force all other kids though the process? how does this affect them? Their desires? How they will treat their kids?
I want to be clear, a child often questions these things, but instead of exploring these questions deeply, culture and conditioning has them accept the idea that they are simply not seeing their future clearly enough. If they don’t follow along, they will ruin their future. Any inkling of their true desires and passions continue to be shoved down in favor of accepting ‘the path.’
Following post secondary, and I’m simplifying here, a young person is often told to get a job so they can buy a house, as owning and buying a house is a smart decision. If a person should choose not to buy a house or perhaps not go to post secondary, they are often felt to be ‘behind’ others. “I should go to university now, I don’t want to be behind.” How often do we hear this?
Since as young people we begin our lives following these beliefs and accepting them as ‘how it is,’ more often than not they will take this idea of what is ‘BEST’ with them for the rest of their life. They will judge their decisions by this, express emotions based on this, develop self-esteem based on this and so forth. After all, their mind has created literal pathways based on this reality, and their nervous system has aligned with that as well. We’ve built a physiological state about ‘what is best.’
Thus, moving forward, these young people will make every decision based on the belief systems handed down and taught to them.
And it can get even more narrow. What to study in school, what type of job to get, what type of car to buy, how to spend and save money, what type of house to buy and so on, all of these things are often taught. Through culture, family, media, society – not found necessarily within ourselves.
The Deep Truth
None of the stories we accept about life are true. It’s all a belief system. Perception, ideas! Because we often are invited into taking life VERY seriously, and I know cause I’ve been there, we shut our a sense of play, curiosity and flexibility that is essential to finding a sense of ease and peace throughout life.
With rigidity and seriousness, also comes stress and trauma. Then depression and anxiety follow – sometimes serious illness as well. This is because deep down we feel stuck. We are not expressing something deep within us and are pushing ourselves to conform to something that doesn’t feel natural to us in many ways. Perhaps in our minds, but not throughout our entire being.
Look at our world, how have we been convinced to all chase the same thing? The same stuff? Is it possible that we have been sold an idea called ‘the ideal life?’ Interestingly, most areas of the world has its own version of this ‘ideal life,’ it’s based on culture. But how many of us TRULY resonate with it vs it simply being something we’ve come to accept?
If we’re simply accepting it, who’s life are we really living? Whose dreams are we really chasing and carrying out?
We take this entirely expansive creative individual playing in an expansive playground called Earth and we confine them to this tiny little narrow path of what the “best” is. Instead of spending their life being able to make any choice they choose, they stay limited to what they have been sold as the “best” even if they don’t truly love it.
Then you have the even deeper part, we then look upon and judge others when they make ‘the wrong decisions.’ Look at how we view those who change their minds about what job they want, what house they want or where they want to live. What do we say about those people? “They need to make up their mind and get their life on track.” What track? There is a track? Says who? “They didn’t make a smart decision with their money or their house so they are going to pay for it later.” Who says some decisions are better than others? Is it not an experience either way?
Now to bring these concepts into a more day to day reality. I recognize that if someone has a clear goal that they wish to carry out, say making X amount of money off their house in 5 years, then a ‘track’ must be followed. But what I’m getting at is, not all view life that way, and sometimes we only follow that track because we’ve been told it’s smart but we’re not actually fulfilled by it. Something deeper is calling, but we are not answering. Instead, we continue on with what is ‘best’ or ‘smart.’
For those of us feeling that deep calling for a new future, I hear you. I feel it too. On one hand, this is a journey of freeing our minds from the conditioning of the past, and it isn’t entirely easy, but it can be done with the right focus and support.
From a practical solution side, the path forward or the answer is not clear as in many ways it has not yet been written or done by someone else. But with each step forward that we take, the path becomes clearer. Imagining new ways of creating community, career, connection, economy and being in harmony with nature. As we delve into exploring and discussing these ideas, and taking steps to play with them on small scales, we gain the necessary insight into what may work and what may not.
If you’re looking to gain further clarity within yourself about what path you want to take, remember to ask yourself: the life you are chasing, the goals you have set, who’s goals are they really? Where did you first hear of them? Are they from your heart? Or are they what you have been sold?
Look inside yourself at what YOU TRULY want and how you wish to express yourself and create. Start there, and create from that space. You will see very quickly that you can create anything you choose.
To get there, set time aside for yourself to do this. We can’t explore simply by thinking for a few moments while waiting for our food to finish cooking or something. Take 30 mins each day for 7 days, dedicated no phone or computer time, and just journal out how you feel about some of the questions posed in this piece.
Remember, there is no right or wrong path here. It’s about looking back on what we choose, where we are at and saying “Is this where I want to be? Am I feeling peace? Expressing my deepest self? Am I inspired about where I am at?” and if you aren’t, you create a new path and see how that feels. Follow how you FEEL, not what you seek as right or wrong. Our life reflects our state of consciousness.