I remember how when I was a 12-year-old, I used to feel this severe pain in the bones of my legs at night. I was thrusting my fingers in my thighs, scratching my skin, hugging my knees, crying quietly, choking on a sip of water, wishing to fall asleep and make it stop. Is my sweat saltier than my tears? The pillow was soaked with both fluids. The pain kept coming every night at the same time, like an annoying alarm clock I wish I could throw and break. But it was breaking me, my bones, or at least it felt like it. My parents were worried I might have a chronic disease and so they took me to the doctor. “There is nothing wrong with her legs, they are just growing too fast. You just have to handle it,” he told us. I lived with this for months, or maybe a year.
Many kids experience growing pains and these pains are stronger when the growth is faster. And thanks to going through this, we turn into beautifully shaped women and men. Now imagine that your soul is a child that needs to grow. Anxiety, panic attacks, breakdowns, depression, fear, suicidal thoughts. All the emotional pain we feel is linked to change and growth. Tough moments push us to rise above them, to expand our consciousness, to help others, to evolve. If you are seeking happiness you will find it in the contrast, like that moment when your shoes give you blisters but you have to walk in them all day, and then you finally arrive home and take them off. When you sit down to have a meal after climbing a mountain. When seeing your partner for the first time after you have been away for two months.
We always have a choice to take the easy road that leads to certainty or jump into the uncertainty roller coaster that plunges into a dark and unknown place. Here is a quick lifestyle test. When talking about your job, do you mumble, roll your eyes, sigh, try to convince the other person it’s only temporary even though you have been thinking of quitting for the past two years? Do you feel like you are adding value to the world? Are you impatient to get out of bed and start working? How much uncertainty and lack of comfort can you handle in your life?
Traveling as a solo female for the past nine years, I have met many strangers and friends who radiate passion when they explain what they do. I have also met the other type of people who feel miserable at their workplace but it is hard to quit as it gives them comfort and a false sense of security. It seems that there is an epidemic, a comfort culture that is disconnecting millions from their life purpose.
The problem with comfort
I am currently staying at co-living space in Javea, Spain, where I meet Derek. We decide to go to the Sunday market in the nearby town called Jesus Pobre (Poor Jesus) and walk back to Javea for about an hour. As we walk, Derek tells me about his house in London. I ask him a few questions and suddenly he opens up and tells me his story of how he used to have a 5-10 million real estate business and then lost all his properties and money. “I lost a shit ton of money. And now I am in a hostel,” he laughs. “But I am fundamentally quite optimistic. What I am actually finding now is that I am really excited about the new business and new ideas. This is the fun stage, creating something. When my old company got big it was becoming corporatized and you lose the essence of the fun and what the business is about. I am really enjoying this small kernel startup stage of the business now.”
Comfort not only numbs our growing pains but it also suppresses our growth. It makes us feel good and this is why it is so easy to confuse it with happiness and fulfillment. That thing we are so used to calling “a comfort zone” has now expanded into “comfort continents” and is stopping so many people from being like Derek – brave enough to take a risk, build something, lose it, let go, learn, and build it all over again. I look at him thinking, “Wow, this guy is tough!” I am sure he will succeed and even do things better, thanks to all the learning experience he has been through.
If you are looking for a sign to change, you will be looking at that empty horizon for a long time. I am not your friend, I am not your teacher, I will just be tough on you. Here is another honest question to ask yourself. Do you have status or does the status quo have you? It doesn’t matter if you are in a 9-5 job, or if you are working remotely. The format of your job is not important, for as long as you learn and start the day with a little dance rather than a grumpy face, changing the world one nano piece at a time. Your job should make you feel alive. Anything less than might pay the bills but it is wasting your life. And why would you waste your life? For money? Selling your time for money is an unfair deal because time is much more precious than any hourly rate you can put on it. A person I admire called Tai Lopez says that we have to love the grind because the grind is life. Indeed, we spend most of our lives at work.
If you feel disconnected from your purpose and passion just ask yourself what is stopping you. Is it your fear of the unknown? What is the worst thing that can happen if you have a lot and you lose it all? Maybe you will be like Derek, co-living in Javea, swimming and enjoying the beach in this cute serene town while his fellow Londoners are complaining about the bad weather during the fall season.
How to connect with your life purpose
I have never regretted quitting a job and I don’t know anyone who ever did. But after quitting comes another problem of figuring out what to do next. Rather than resisting this period in your life, let it pass through you. Open up to all the new experiences and people who are about to enter your universe. It is perfectly okay to not know what your purpose or passion is right now. You will discover it only if you seek for it and this is yet another exciting part of your journey, a learning curve that turns you into a richer human being.
Here is a simple but very effective meditation exercise that won’t take you there but it will show you the road:
- Make sure you will be alone and undisturbed in your room for the next hour.
- Play some meditation music.
- Start scanning your body with your mind. Tell each part to relax three times: right leg relax, left leg relax, right arm relax, left arm relax, shoulders relax, spine relax, back relax, belly, stomach, chest, neck, head, eyes, lips, chin, face, hair, nails relax.
- Imagine that you are wandering in a beautiful garden. Is it day or night? Are you alone or there are other people with you? Take your time to look around and notice the little details. What flowers can you recognize? Is there a pond or a sea near you? Is there a forest? Where do you want to go? Who do you want to follow? Go there or follow that person. It will take you deeper.
- Keep going deeper, and deeper, and deeper into that forest, sea, or path. As you do that, it gets darker around you.
- When it gets completely dark around you, allow your mind to take you to another place, three years from now. Notice if it is day or night and if you are inside or outside. Where are you? What do you do? Who is around you?
- Your consciousness is connected to the consciousness of all living beings in the universe. Your brilliant mind knows all the answers. Are you working on your own business or on multiple projects? How much are you traveling? How does your bank account look like? Do you have a partner? How does your body look like? What do you do to stay healthy and wealthy?
- Feel and embrace this moment with all your senses. Notice the scents, the tastes, the picture, the sounds around you.
I am always happy to help if you need further help or lifestyle advice. You can connect with me via anna[at]greatnomad.com.