Relearning the lesson

A few years ago, my sisters and I were discussing Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. My sisters, both married with children at the time, commented that most people don’t get the opportunity to pack up their  life and head out on a quest to find themselves. My sisters thought Elizabeth’s actions were pretty selfish, seeing as she was leaving a husband behind and thinking only of herself. Elizabeth had chosen not to have children and knew that her marriage was over. She also knew people considered those choices to be selfish, but she was okay with that. They were conscious decisions for her. What was more important to Elizabeth was that she stopped repeating unhealthy patterns in her own life. For her, leaving on that trip was the only option.

Being single and childless at the time, I related to what Elizabeth was doing, especially because I was conscious of some negative patterns in my own life. But even then, I realized there was another way. You don’t have to abandon your life to gain clarity and break a cycle. You can reflect on your decisions right from the comfort of your own home, and change what isn’t working.

Fast forward a few years to when my boyfriend and his kids moved in. Even though I’m a coach and know what I should be doing for self-care, I started putting my own needs on the back burner. As a result, I found myself losing it over stupid things. The stress of people in my home, clutter crowding every corner and suddenly having to get dinner on the table every single night was overwhelming. There were moments where I would have been happy to just run away.

Thankfully, I didn’t run. Instead I got back to prioritizing my self-care. I realized that a major part of what was bothering me was all the clutter in the house. Luckily, that was something I had control over. When everybody moved in, the process had gone so quickly that some items never found a proper home and were just cluttering up the house (and my brain). We took the weekend to start clearing, arranging and organizing. Coincidentally, one of the things I found in my cleanup was my copy of Eat, Pray, Love.

It was important for me to get to the point of being so frustrated with the clutter that I needed to make a change. And it was through that change, that I rediscovered my copy of Eat, Pray, Love, and relearned some the lessons that went along with it.

We all know what we need to be happy. The thing is, we forget. So take the time to remind yourself of what you do have the power to change in your own life. And then figure out how to change it. It’s as complex and simple as that.