I am recently back from guiding a women’s retreat in the mountains. As we got close to the end, what seemed to be on each woman’s mind was, How do I take what I have discovered here and bring it back into my life? Even more importantly, How do I make it stick?
These questions have been on my mind ever since. Because really, what does it matter if when you go away, you can tap into what you really need and what’s most important to you, but can’t integrate it into your life on the daily? Who cares if you are up on all the latest and the greatest that the Internet and the apps have to offer, but find yourself cycling through endless experiences of trying the next thing out there that’s trending; with no real enduring change for the exchange of your precious time and energy.
Not to mention the disappointment, and maybe even self-loathing, when once again you can’t get the changes you want, to stick.
I can only say what has worked in my life. That being, getting very, very intentional about how you are living. Getting clear about what matters most to you, and then lining up everything, absolutely everything, to that. Through time, trial and error, and yes, effort, you begin to create a life that is holy. Why? Because it is based on what is most important in all the worlds. It is created by living through and above the ups and downs, the fads, the busyness, the mandates, the pressures, the marketing, the constant allure of the screens, and every other manner of distraction out there.
Living like this requires digging deeply over and over again to get to what you most want. This applies whether or not you are tired, feel like you have the time or are worth it. And it absolutely applies no matter who you are with. This is not easy to do. It’s like training for an ultramarathon that will take you through all kinds of terrain, some for which you will be prepared and some for which you will not. And oh by the way, it never ends.
Hearing this can feel overwhelming. As in how could a person possibly get to this? Well, there is no getting there. Only a kind of commitment that strengthens over time; ultimately giving way to greater and greater satisfaction such that the efforts pale in comparison to the return. That return is you, and a life well-lived.
Thinking about this all week has brought up a bunch of gems I’d like to share with you. To live intentionally…
- Is to want more and to go for it.
- Is to learn to stand for something. No matter what.
- Is to let go of old ideas and habits. Again and again.
- Is to learn to see every challenge to your intention as a chance to strengthen your resolve.
- Is to let the very best in you be called forward.
- Is to be stronger than the naysaying; both within and without.
- Is to let yourself be shaped and forged by a larger vision for your life.
- Is to give up trying to belong based on fitting in.
- Is to believe you are worth it.
So now we cycle back to the beginning question, How do I stick with it? I would say, figure out what you want more than anything else in the world and hold that as your enduring and unrelenting focus.