5 Lessons on Living Life Fully

At the start of 2013, I set out with 1 intention: Live Life Fully.

Life was pretty great when I set this intention, but something in my soul was calling out for More- more adventure, more authenticity, and more freedom. It was a similar feeling to the one I had in 2008 when I was working in corporate finance and began wondering what the next steps in my personal and professional evolution were. For those of you who have been with me for a while here, you know that 2013 brought A LOT of change. Change that quite frankly I never expected and wasn’t necessarily prepared for, but change that ultimately allowed me to step up my game and step more fully into how I serve you and the world.

When I chose Live Life Fully as my Intention, I-perhaps naively- thought that it would be all fun and games and adventure that came my way. What I forgot was this *little* rule in the spiritual process that in order to fully access the light, we need to spend some time in the dark to let go of the shadows holding us back from the light we seek. This one piece turned out to be my greatest teacher, and ultimately, was the secret key to unlocking my version of a life lived fully.

So as I reflect today on what I learned, what I saw SO many of you experience in you own journey’s as well, and what living life fully really means, I offer 5 lessons from 2013 that apply to each and every one of us here having a human experience:

1. The power of ‘Going All In’– This was a BIG one for so many people this year, including myself. I noticed this trend starting in about February of 2013- people making the choice to fully step into the choices they made, up their game, and/or not look back. A lot of us *think* we do this, but yet have some sort of escape route or Plan B ‘just in case’ which ultimately means not being fully committed to the choice or change. But this started to shift on a meta-level. Maybe it was the energy of the year of the Snake– shedding the old skin and fully owning the new- or maybe it was just a growing tired of things not fully working out. Whatever it was, the power was fierce and felt by so many of you. How it manifested for me was that I got tired of doing things half-assed. Instead of working with coaches or healers on a one-off basis, I chose one and committed for the full year. And I SHOWED UP to do the work that was required of me. I made decisions and went for it, no Plan B to fall back on. I took note of where I wasn’t showing up in my life, and I either started to, or else I ended the friendship/ relationship/ partnership/ contract/ whatever it was in question. And trusted my choice implicitly. My life simplified a lot, but my commitment to the things I chose deepened to levels I had never experienced before. And the results were breath-taking. Did you Go ‘All In’ on something this year, and what were the results?

2. It’s ok- and sometimes necessary- to take a ‘Time Out’– This was a big trend I saw this year. When you think about it, a lot of us are raised to think we need to be perfect and do everything we are told to do. This mentality has seeped into every facet of our lives- we must eat right, meditate every day, work out, do yoga, do our spiritual work, what the doctors tell us to do, what our boss/ family/ partner/ friends…. I think you get the picture. We all live under some intense pressure- self-imposed or not. But here’s the thing- doing everything we are ‘supposed to’ do all the time leaves our bodies sick, tired, hurt, and wanting to escape. What if, just for a while, you took a time out from all the ‘shoulds’? For example, what if you took a month off of work, stopped meditating for a few weeks, asked your partner for some time apart to discover your desires, or added in a few cheat days to your eating plan? I saw a lot of you do this, as I did as well, and what I found? Taking time off from various structures in my life added a richness to life, a greater appreciation for what I was doing, and deeper love for the flexibility to just be myself by listening to what my body needed over what I *thought* it ‘should’ need. Like they say “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”- I’d love to hear from you- what areas do you feel like a ‘Time Out’ might be necessary, and what do you need to create to give yourself that gift? 

3. Celebration is one of the most powerful healing tools around- I wrote a piece on this earlier in the year that you can find HERE. I’ve kept up my celebrating the past 6 months, and have brought many of my 1-1 clients along for the ride. The results- increased energy, a LOT of fun, and deep gratitude for everything that happens- even the hard stuff. Did you add celebration to your healing tools this year? What shifted for you?

4. Strength in numbers– One of the areas that I went ‘all in’ this year was joining a Mastermind for the first time in my life. I’ll be frank, I didn’t even know what one was when I signed up, my heart just told me that the one I found was something I needed in my life. While the coaching was amazing, the TRUE value I found was in the sisterhood that was created between myself and 16 other women as we journeyed through our hearts, souls and businesses together. And I learned a life changing phrase “Never be sad alone” and I added soon after “Never keep your happiness to yourself”- these 2 concepts changed my life (and I don’t use that phrase lightly). I saw the power of sharing our stories and how by supporting others to rise, you have no choice but to rise as well. More on this lesson and how I’ll be infusing it into The Unbridled Life will be coming in 2014. Where can you begin to find support from others, or do you already have an amazing community that lifts you up? If not, where can you start looking to join one?

5. Ultimately, it’s all about the Surrender– This is, by far, the biggest lesson of 2013 for pretty much everyone I know. We hear this word thrown around a lot in spiritual teachings and circles. I even had it tattooed on my wrist a few years ago in Bali. I had no idea what it meant back then, and the meaning keeps revealing deeper layers the more I explore it. But how’s this for a definition? 1. Cease resistance to an enemy or opponent and submit to their authority. 2. Abandon oneself entirely to. When I look at these 2 versions of the word Surrender, I notice this: Most of us live a life where there is a perceived enemy- we blame all sorts of situations, circumstances, people for where we are in life. But really, the perceived enemy is ultimately yourself. We spend our lives ‘surrendering’ to this inner enemy by giving control to our circumstances and trying to control the outcome of everything that we say and do. And that control comes in many forms, including fear, self-sabotage, creating illness or pain in the body, neurosis and other tricks to our soul.

But what if the real lesson is actually in our total abandonment of attachment to the result, the letting go of the tight reins of control? Could you let go? Could you be ok if things don’t turn out as you planned? What if the act of surrender is the greatest gift you could ever give yourself, as it opens the doors to magic and mayhem beyond your wildest dreams. In a spiritual sense, control is restricting, while surrender is the ultimate freedom- an Unbridled Life.

And for the record, The Unbridled Life was born exactly from ultimate surrender. As some of you may know, over the summer I made the decision that it was time to move to LA. I needed a change, and this felt like the answer at the time. I prepared, looked for places, and had the (sometimes tear-inducing) conversations with my 1-1 clients that in-person work would no longer be available in San Francisco. These talks and in some cases emails were the hardest thing I ever had to do. But then something magical happened- all of the confusion over what to do with my business disappeared. As I sent each email, the fog began to lift. As I let go of the reality of working with some people, my attachment disappeared. As I surrendered to a new way of working that I couldn’t see yet, I became more comfortable with the prospect of something entirely new. And then, 24 hours after the last individual email was sent- a final letting go- the idea for The Unbridled Life was born in a moment of inspiration. And I realized, it wasn’t that I had to physically move to start my next chapter, I just had to open up the possibility of working in a whole new way. But I had to prove to the Universe that I was serious before it revealed the treasure. Just like in the fairy tales. 

I had to let go of the life I had planned, in order to accept the one waiting for me. This concept by Joseph Campbell has sat framed on my desk for years, and here it was happening in actuality. The essence of surrender.

I could write a book on this one alone, and one day I might. But I want to hear from you- what does the word surrender mean to you? And did you have any lessons in surrender this year?


Jennifer BlackstockComment