A long time ago, I realized that I should always go shopping by myself. This realization came to me after looking around my closet and noticing that it was full of clothes I did not even like.
“Why in the heck did I buy those ugly spandexy jeans?” I wondered.
“Oh yeah, it was because my ex-douchebag really liked them.”
: – /
Ever since, I’ve been saving dollars (and looking awesommmme) by shopping solo. I’ve discovered that shopping alone is the best way for me to truly figure out what I like– not what my stylish friend likes, not what my boyfriend likes, but what I like– what makes me feel most, well, me.
The same concept applies when making much bigger life decisions. Lemme tell you a secret, guys: you know so much more than you think you do– you’ve already got a built in inner compass that will never, ever, ever lead you astray.
But in order to truly hear it, you’ve got to get silent enough to listen. You’ve got to get away from the voices of the world and dive deeeeep down into the ocean of your heart (HA did I really just say that?!!).
Enter the supertastic Sarah Goshman of No Help Here with a guest post today about big hairy spiders, coyotes, and listening to yourself.
Sarah, Take it away.
What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do
By Sarah Goshman of No Help Here
“When you’re around too many other people, you forget to be you. You get confused. Sometimes you need to be alone to remember who you are.” – Grandma
Okay, so maybe it’s not a famous quote, but my grandma is a pretty wise woman.
Right now, I’m sitting on the couch, with no internet connection, in an adobe house in Taos, New Mexico. Population: 5,713.
I just killed the biggest, nastiest, hairiest spider I’ve ever seen in my life, and outside, the coyotes are howling in the arroyo. (An arroyo is a dried-up river bed… I didn’t know that before I came here either.)
The most in-depth conversation I’ve had in the past two weeks was with the guy who runs the coffee shop, and all I can manage to think…
(at least, when I can stop wondering for more than a few seconds whether the spider had a mate who is now totally pissed off and lurking nearby, ready to pounce..)
How the hell did I get here?
The (Short) Backstory
Just a few months ago, I was living in my own apartment in Stamford, CT and working full-time at an awesome-sauce nonprofit dedicated to curing a rare disease that affects kids. Sounds good, right?
And yet, it just wasn’t fulfilling. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted, but I knew that wasn’t it.
So, two months ago, I quit my job and moved from Connecticut to New Mexico for the remainder of the year to get away from it all and figure out what I did want.
I’ve lived alone for a few years now, so I didn’t realize how different this experience would be.
Living alone in an apartment building in a city of 125,000 people, with all your friends in a few mile radius and your family just an hour’s drive away is very different than living alone in… well… the middle of nowhere.
And yet I am reminded that, for some (possibly insane) reason, I chose this.
I Can See Clearly Now (The Rain Is Gone)
One of the reasons I came out here, and one of the qualities I have been consistently asking for is clarity.
I came out here because I knew that whatever the next step was going to be for me, I wasn’t going to be able to figure it out surrounded by a million distractions. And furthermore, I wasn’t going to be able to figure it out with dozens of other people’s thoughts, beliefs, ideas and priorities encroaching on my time.
Okay, wait, let me amend that. I wasn’t going to be able to figure it out that way.
This doesn’t mean you can’t or that everyone needs to go on a spiritual retreat in the desert to figure out what they want… bear with me.
I’m just not particularly adept at taking care of myself when there are other people around who need to be taken care of. And I wanted the fast track to self-awareness.
I had to be alone.
In Which We Get Around to Talking About You
Think about it – do you pay attention to how you feel all the time? Or are you good at squelching down that little voice inside you whenever it says something that doesn’t align with your plans?
We worry about not getting enough done. We worry about not living up to our potential. We worry about disappointing other people.
And somehow, through all the turmoil and the chaos, we forget to just be.
We learn to very effectively repress the little voice that tells us who we are and what we want. And when suddenly we find ourselves at sea without an anchor, we go looking for that voice, and it is silent. We know longer know how to hear it.
That’s when we feel truly and utterly lost.
It’s Just the Fear of Being Alone
Now in truth, being alone out here… is probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Not only was it completely counter-cultural to leave my job and come out here to live on savings in the first place, but being alone is, well, lonely. Many days I want to go home.
But I came out here to look for answers, and, well, I am getting them. They’re not necessarily the ones I expected to get, but they are coming through loud and clear.
For example, I figured out what kind of business I want to build. And you know what? It’s exactly the one my dad has been telling me I should do for… oh, probably at least a few years.
But I couldn’t hear it from him. I had to hear it from me.
And, Back To You
So, why am I telling you this, oh amazeballs Unlost readers?
Because I at the end of the day, finding your truest life path isn’t just about figuring out your perfect job or finding a perfect partner or even designing a dream lifestyle.
It’s about truly knowing yourself. Because more alignment you can find, and the better you become at listening to that little voice, the easier it will be to respond to the inevitable curveballs that life will throw at you.
So Now What?
You know what the
coolest amazeballest part is?
It doesn’t have to be hard.
You don’t have to move to the desert or climb to the top of a mountain or change your geographical location in any way.
All you have to do is start listening to yourself.
I’m absolutely the guiltiest of the guilty of surveying everyone I know, and even people I don’t know, when I need to make a decision, but the more I am practicing getting quiet and turning inward, the easier each one becomes.
So when you are not sure what you want, or you’re in a bad mood because you’re supposed to be doing something you don’t want to do, just find a place to be by yourself for a few minutes (even if it is has to be the bathroom) and say, “What do I need right now?”
You may find, like me, that you’ve got layers upon layers of others people’s stuff that you’ve collected over the years which prevent the voice from coming through loud and clear on the first try… but I promise, it’s there.
And it’s waiting for you.
“When you go looking for yourself, you will inevitably find what you’re searching for.” –Unknown
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If you like The Unlost, you’ll loooove Sarah’s blog, No Help Here. (<– visit it, b*tches!)
Sarah wrangles project, events, stages and the people involved with them. At the moment, she’s currently working on the amazeballs Unlost Guide launch! She would like to thank Therese for introducing her to the word amazeballs, which she enjoys using at every possible opportunity [Therese's note: U R welcome]. In her spare time, she writes about how to be more yourself and have fun doing it, at her blog, No Help Here.
[Therese's note: I am BEYOND excited that Sarah's making her way to the unofficial Unlost HQ (a lake cabin in the middle of Idaho, a.k.a. "Walden Pond") to manage the launch of The Unlost's new e-course. WE'RE GONNA HAVE SO MUCH FUN! If you need help managing a project or event, I'M PRETTY SURE YOU SHOULD EMAIL HER RIGHT NOW-- she is amazeballs.]