Tuesday, 24 May 2016

What happened when I said "yes" to LIVING (and not just to having a life)

Life is a funny thing. If you're reading this article then you have life. But it's not so certain that you are truly Living that life (at least not with a capital L!). It can be so easy to simply exist; to bob through life being swept along by a current that has been created by convention and expectation according to others. You're born, you're educated, you work a 9-to-5 or another conventional job, you get married, you have kids, you retire, you die. I'm not saying that these conventions are all bad (and some cannot be escaped, particularly the death part!), but it can be SO easy to follow this set-out life without even asking our true selves what we really want. But what if, WHAT IF, you did honestly ask yourself what you wanted from life? What would you say? What would you do?

I promise that this isn't about to become preachy, each and every person must live their life how they choose to, but this is a post for those of you out there who may have been thinking about actually Living life how you want to but haven't yet had that moment of "F*ck it. Let's do it". So to give you the extra little nudge I thought I'd share my experience with you...

Without going into too much detail for the sake of respect and what's fair, this time two years ago I was in a very different place to where I am now. For years I had allowed myself to stay in a situation that was making me deeply unhappy. I felt stuck, I wasn't seeing friends very often, I was unsure as to which career path to go down, I hated life, and most of all I was very hard on myself.

But almost two years ago exactly I went on a yoga retreat with my Mum. For at least four years previous to this yoga had already begun to weave it's way into my being - bit by bit I was peeling back the layers and coming closer to connecting with my true self - but on this yoga retreat I gained an even deeper understanding of the harsh reality that I was simply not Living life. I was alive in body but that was about it. My heart, mind and soul were simply existing. I had shut them down over years of disappointment, bitterness and self-hatred. Realising this was the first step to truly Living.

Yoga helped me to realise that I wasn't truly Living life...

A very abridged version of what followed is that I left my relationship, I moved back home with my family, I tried changing my job (to another conventional 9-to-5 city job), I left that job after 6-months, I went to India to do my yoga teacher training, I fell in love with the most incredible man, I worked on friendships, for the last 16-months I've been working on my very own business teaching yoga, and everything is finally in a place where I feel this whole thing might actually work out in reality as well as in my dreams! But it hasn't been easy. I've really had to embrace Living life in a way that is true to me and everything that comes with that - the ups and downs, the emotions, the challenges, the uncertainty, the euphoria...it's already been quite a ride.

Now there isn't a magic cure or formula for Living life, but I think there are a few categories that must be considered: relationships, work, attitude, health, and location.


Relationships is a biggie. I truly believe that the quality of your relationships can heavily impact the quality of your life. No man is an island (as the saying goes); as human beings we crave connection and intimacy, and the people we surround ourselves with can really affect our lives. The most important relationships we have are with ourselves, with our family, with our other half (if this is how we choose to live - monogamy is not for everyone), and with our friends. Surround yourself with people who make you happy, who support you, and who genuinely want the best for you. If you treat others well then this is how you should be treated. If you have a toxic friend or family member then either cut them loose or try to learn ways of disconnecting your quality of life from the way they behave.

Connect with people who elevate you


As I touched on earlier many of us get stuck in jobs that don't set us on fire. We tolerate them, and often do them because it's what is expected of us. I got straight As at school and a first class degree at Uni, it was expected that I'd do something related to my English skills. But this didn't make me happy. Teaching yoga made me happy, and the moment I began to teach I felt like my true self. I had found my satya (my truth). Don't just be a doctor because it's what your Mum wants. Don't just stay in an admin job because no one else believes you can be an interior designer. Don't just be a lawyer if you want to be an entrepreneur. Follow your heart and the rest will come. Starting a yoga teaching business from scratch at the age of 24 was not easy - I had to go back to working in the pub to make ends meet, I am still living in my parental home, I am 100% responsible for creating my own workload - BUT I feel as though I am really Living my life exactly as I want to. The money will come. Happiness will continue.


Living life to the full requires the right attitude. If you believe that you're stuck (like I once did) and you believe that nothing can be done to change your circumstances, then you will never live life like you want to. But if you take on the attitude that something can always be done, and that you CAN change your life, then you will. It sounds simple but this mental shift can be really tough, and unfortunately for me only came with time, but keep chipping away at things that make you feel alive and one day a path will become clear. (And if it doesn't take the leap of faith anyway - the universe has got your back!). Truly Living requires a lot of saying "yes" even when the outcome is unclear (but also knowing when to say "no" to protect your energy).


To me looking after my health is such an important part of truly Living life. If you have health you have life, and if you have life you can be alive. Eating healthy food and doing regular physical activity gives you energy (and most people even grow to love it!). I feel most alive when I'm running in the park, practicing yoga in the sun, being swallowed by a wave when surfing, walking in the forest with my boyfriend, whizzing down a ski slope...you get the picture! For me I love the combination of exercise and the outdoors. These examples aren't for everyone, but find what makes you happy and helps keep you healthy and make sure that you include it in your life as often as you can.


Some people are fascinated by cities, others need greenery, others need a daily boost of vitamin sea (sorry, terrible pun!), others need to see their family regularly, others prefer having no fixed abode. We are all different in where makes us feel most connected to life, but what's amazing is that your location never has to be permanent. It may feel that way, but if you truly want something then where there is a will there's a way. If you're a free spirit run with the wind, if you're a home-bird make your nest. Place yourself where you most feel happy. (I fully understand that this point is easier said than done, but hopefully it's food for thought...).

So I really hope I haven't offended with this article - I fully understand that for many people a conventional life may be truly what they want - but for those of us who feel there is another way, know that you CAN do it and the life you want can be achieved. It won't be easy. There will be blood, sweat, tears and more sweat - but boy will you feel alive along the way!

I know there are so many things I've missed out, so if you have any further comments or suggestions please do write them in the comments section below - I really love hearing your tips and feedback.

I'd like to finish this post with one of my favourite quotes:

"Don't worry about what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive" ~ Howard Thurman

Love & light, Lucy x