Identity is powerful. To lose sight of it is to disappear into the crevices of life’s events. To become a statistic.
The chatter of my keyboard is what brings me back to consciousness whenever I lose myself in my work. When I get into the zone, my eyes stay a tad squinted, my shoulders more hunched than I care for and my legs folded in some bizarre way that only a handful of us on earth find comfortable. In this place, everything is silent but my screaming thoughts that only find expression through fingertips jamming alphabets on the keyboard with urgency.
This is where I create magic, but this is not home. Typically, I find myself here for a few minutes at a stretch before the chatter of the keyboard calls me out. And then, I must build up to the sweet spot again. This is my life now. 9 to 5. Everyday. This is how I climax and anti-climax as I spin value from my soul – a deliverable, a poem, a presentation. All these, to create something bigger than myself for the betterment of the world.
Today, I broke focus just in time to notice that it was 2.40pm. I remembered that I had planned to go to the bank to carry out a transaction. I felt a tinge of happiness at the thought of a valid reason to take a break from the computer. As I stood on the queue, waiting for my turn, a few questions churned in my mind.
“When was the last time I posted on my blog?”
“Where did all my passion for content creation go?”
“Wasn’t I far more outgoing before than I am now?”
“How am I the person whose greatest pleasures are increasingly hinged to weekly doses of my favorite series?”
These questions didn’t bother me as much as “how did I get here?”
With my hands resting on the counter as I waited for the bank officer to process my transaction, I realized that I had changed a lot without keeping track of when and how. I had let routines cloud the reality of what was really happening – evolution.
For a person who has self-leadership as one of the pillars of her life’s work, I found it unsettling that it’d been a while since I deliberately took stock of how my values, emotions, inclinations, visions and worldview have been evolving. I used to end the day with an examination of my actions during the day, my motivations for them and the outcomes thereof. Right now, it feels like there’s a chasm with a huge chunk of my recollection of the process of my own change missing.
When I returned to my office, I decided this was worth sharing with you. In the Spirit of searching out the pathways that led me here and sharing my journey with others who may be experiencing similar stuff with change and identity, here’s something to think about. This think that feels like too much space and too little of you can be resolved.
Here are 5 ways to stay in tune with your evolution and memories of it.
- Have Meaningful Conversations with Yourself
Personally, I find that my peak state is more accessible when I am more reflective, introspective and deliberate about dialogue with myself concerning my current life and how it feeds my passion, vision and purpose.
It doesn’t take much to lose yourself in the flurry of activities, routines or whatever rat race seems like the way to fulfillment. Unfortunately, this is exactly how we stay out of touch with who we are. We utilize our faculties in clockwork mode, with no reservations for honest feedback from ourselves about our emotions, needs, challenges, wins and the impressions that al these things make on us.
- Do not Run from the Questions You Have No Answers To
If you’re anything like me and learning is how you lubricate the wheels of your life, you’d understand how important getting answers to my questions about anything is to me. In the last year, I found that I went encountered a lot of situations that left me with unanswered questions.
“Am I still interested in designing learning experiences?”
“How do I really know that I’m great at the things I believe I’m great at since I’ve been paralyzed with too much fear to actually get stuff done?”
I had all sorts of questions about everything I held true – spirituality, the construct of religion, identity, work etc. Each time I dug deeper, I realized that the answers I sought would require a lot of unlearning to be grasped fully. Even more scary was the looming thought that getting to the root of these questions would scramble my constructs that held my life together. I started to let the sleeping dogs lie, voluntarily or not.
Hard lesson: Not to interrogate your thoughts, actions and motivations is to ignore the essence of your existence – change. You will wake up one day and realize that not pursuing truth because you though it would be hard did not stop life from happening. It only made life happen without your awareness or deliberate contribution. This is too much of a risk to be at ease with.
- Hold Yourself Up to Set Standards
Standards are all about control and this is one of the main reasons you should have them. While you set standards to control the impact of external influences on you, it’s important to set standards for yourself across key areas that define your lifestyle. This way random changes do not go unnoticed. If I set a standard for the kind of energy that my relationships generate around me, it becomes easier to detect when something goes off and upsets that balance. These standards can apply with thought patterns, routines, character, relationships, goals etc.
I’m going to take this one to a new level. I think you should too.
- Practice Mindfulness
This is arguably one of the most important points in this piece, for obvious reasons…I hope. Practice being present enough to immerse yourself in the present and the beautiful aspects of it. Practice conscious silence. Learn to take deep breaths – literally! Capture salient thoughts as soon as they’re within your grasp. Freeze wonderful moments in photographs and recordings. Journal.
Memories are flightier than we think. A lot of times, we do a good job of convincing ourselves that we remember all we need to remember to go through life’s motions until it’s time to retrieve the memory and bam! It’s all a blur. Have you ever noticed how you’ve got the details of some of your favorite moments jumbled during a recount or can’t remember the face of someone you used to be close to with as much clarity?
Many times, we are unable to retain our impressions of our own selves – motivations, intents, thoughts, desires and emotions without losing bits from our consciousness. There’s the need to be intentional about creating references for ourselves about ourselves as we evolve.
- Seek Constructive Feedback from Credible Sources
Sometimes, the key to reconnecting with part of ourselves that we lost touch with lies in an encounter with perspectives that are different from ours. Constructive feedback is always a great guide to navigating change especially when we in turn, handle it constructively. Surround yourself with people who have honest intentions about you and are open to letting you in on their observations about your journey. Learn to listen to such people and examine their opinions objectively and in good fate. You may be surprised at what you find.