Happiness By Mercedes Aspland / June 16, 2015 The concept of finding myself is something that often goes through my head but not in the way you would normally think. When most people talk about finding themselves they often mean a big life changing experience where they need to make a lot of changes. That is not the kind of finding myself that I am talking about. It is more the sense that I was there all along but daily life has got on top of me and caused the real me to get lost. I know what you are thinking, that this sounds like a lot of hippy mumbo jumbo and maybe it is but on my trip around France I am ridding myself of many of the normal things I have around me and it is giving me time to think. Having space to drop the rubbish and just be me allows me to properly assess who I am and where I am going. Recently I have felt a bit lost but this is not the first time and sticking with the real me can often be difficult. One of the best ways to describe it I read in a book by Paul McKenna when he described every person as an onion with more and more layers being peeled back all of the time. Well that is true in my eyes but it is not so much about letting others see the different layers of me but that I see them myself. One of the most noticeable times that I felt I lost myself was after my Dad died, but it was not immediate, it was 3 or 4 years later when I began to see how truly lost I was. The problem is when something traumatic happens you don’t realise you are covering yourself up you just do it, well I do and it is only when I start to be ready to shed the layers that it dawns on me how deeply I was buried. The problem was that at that particular time I had a long way to come and so it took a long time to get there. The reason this has been on my mind recently is because I am only just beginning to find myself again after a short time lost. When I look back over the last 6-8 months I can see that I stopped writing this blog, my yoga practice suffered and generally I had little or no enthusiasm for anything. What caused the change is me looking at my life and thinking that something needs to change. I am by no means completely back to me but I already feel freer for knowing where I need to go. So what does this mean for you? Well my advice to anyone who is not sure if they are really on contact with the real them is if you need to ask yourself the question then you probably are not. This means there is something that can be done. This tips are mine and they might not work for you, they work wonders for me and hopefully by sharing them I can help someone else find themselves too: 1. Take a Small Retreat – You don’t need to go away to do this or even take time off work but you do need time for you. So it could be the weekend on your own or just reducing the amount of things you are doing. Often we get lost when we are overburdened and can’t figure out what we want to do. This is not a permanent retreat but a short time that will give you space to analyse your life. 2. Assess Exercise Levels – This may not apply to everyone but as I get lost in the mess that is my life my exercise levels reduce and before I know it there is nothing happening at all and weight is starting to pile on. So my advice is to take a look at how exercise makes you feel and how you feel about it. If you would like to do more but never seem to have the time or energy, think about how you could adapt your life to fit it in. Remember this is about finding you so if you need to drop something from your life that does not sit comfortably with you then do it. 3. Assess Diet – Again this is another thing that suffers in my life when I am lost. I forget about taking care of my body and just pile in anything I can get my hands on and do not really eat in a way that fits with my body. This does not mean you need to go super healthy, I certainly don’t but it means eating foods that nourish you physically, mentally and spiritually. So if eating a particular food just because it is healthy makes you feel crap then don’t eat it and if you like a chocolate treat don’t avoid it just because you think you should be good (what does the word should mean anyway). 4. Decide Aspirations and Goals – This is where it starts to become a bit tricky but it is something I am always working on. Once you have cleared some time and are exercising and eating in a way that works for you then this is easier. Look at the things in your life that you enjoy and the things that you don’t. Assess how you can drop the things that don’t bring you joy and how can you make the pleasurable things more prominent. Sometimes just knowing what you want in life is enough to clear the fog and see what is so great about life. Don’t take my word for it give these steps a go and see how you feel. I would love to know how you get on, if you try these steps and what you discover about yourself. Also if you have anything that makes you assess your life I would love to hear it, new tricks and tips are always useful.