“When the compass of your life shifts, find and follow the breadcrumbs of desire, for they will lead you to fulfillment.”

Three years ago….

old dreams no longer inspire. How will I serve, who will I be? As I linger over coffee at my new “Cheers” I wonder; will I ever find my compass? I spent the last 25 years building a life and a dream with both my husband and my son as the focal point. Both are now gone, one to the afterlife and the other on to college. I no longer have the drive and focus that has characterized my life, and the anticipation and excitement that used to drive me out of bed each morning has all but dissipated. Maybe these fuels are buried so deeply below the apathy and confusion that they are just whispers of my soul. As I drift between lives, I notice the restlessness of my heart. Will it ever be filled again? Even my home, always my sanctuary, now feels more like a prison. The contentment that it provided has become unrest. Each morning I shake myself off and delve into my work looking for inspiration. Each morning I find nuggets of hope, morsels of desire. They entice me to move forward like so many breadcrumbs along the path. Finding bursts of happiness and fissures of excitement, I trust that the joy and pleasure will begin again. What that final picture looks like is still covered by a veil of wonder. But I trust my intuition, my heart and follow each nugget.

 As once before, I will build a new life. This one with a new centerpiece:   Me.

Last week I wrote about Being True to Yourself which is a process we can do at any time. But when life throws us a significant change that creates the need to build a new life, it becomes more important. There are so many people today who are finding themselves at that Turning Point in life. The life they knew is fading and the new one has not yet revealed itself. Being lost between lives is confusing at best but can be quite scary to those who need to know where they are going at all times.

Having experienced a planned, an expected and an unexpected Turning Point, I can tell you quite definitively that this place between lives can be the most powerful time of your life. If you slow down, pull back and use this empty pocket to really think through what you want out of life, you can enjoy this time of incubation. For that is what it is – incubation; a time when the seeds of your new life can germinate. When all the chaos of life has come to a standstill, when the job is gone, the relationship is over or the kids are off to college, you have a huge opportunity to create the next chapter of your life with a focus on….. you.

First and foremost, honor yourself and this time as a gift. The natural inclination is to fill this time with hobbies, distractions, busyness and just about anything so we don’t have to think or God forbid – feel. But feel we must. Our emotions – those “bursts of happiness” and “fissures of desire” are the very breadcrumbs that will not only lead you out of the wasteland of your former life but they will also lead you to your new life. Listening to your emotions and the response of your body will always tell you when something is working for you, stopping you dead in your tracks or showing you where your joy and passion reside.  We are never taught to use our emotions as a guidance tool. We are always taught to “think”. But thinking generally leads us to do the things that are right, the obligations, the best thing to do or quite frankly the “expected”. (Remember those expectations we talked about?) All of these put others squarely in the driver’s seat of our lives. We live for them and their happiness instead of looking inside and asking ourselves “what do I want to do each day?” “How do I want to live my life?” When we begin to pay attention to our feelings and our body’s response to things we will have a clearer idea of what is in alignment with our passions and dreams, our joys and pleasures.

Feelings we understand and will talk about in more depth next week, but understanding our body’s response is a tool that most do not use. If you take the time to start paying attention to your body it will give you clear indicators of the things you want to do, absolutely do not want to do and my favorite …the things you are excited about. While we each need to create our own dictionary of body responses, here are a few things to watch for.

Tiredness or lethargy. This body feeling usually indicates that we don’t want to do something or fear we can’t. If you are feeling tired, cancel an engagement and find your energy coming back then you really didn’t want to follow through on this commitment.

Sickness or physical pain. When we aren’t able to say no to someone, physical pain and sickness will become more pronounced. Again, watch to see if you cancel or say no, do the symptoms reduce? This is not to say that if your schedule is crazy and you’re not sleeping that you aren’t truly tired or that you are genuinely sick. I am saying that these symptoms, without an actual cause are our emotional body’s way of saying “I don’t wanna!”

Dread. Definitely an “I don’t wanna!”

Bursts of energy. These always come when we are excited about something and looking forward to doing it.

Excitement. This driving energy will pop you out of bed or on the road anytime you have found something that fills your heart with joy.

While you may be thinking “I know how my body feels.” The question is “Are you aware of when your energy changes?” By paying attention to the activities, obligations and commitments that trigger a change in your body’s energy you will begin to hear your inner desires. Following those inner desires and avoiding the “I don’t wanna’s!” will guide you out apathy and into a new life full of fun and excitement.

When you’ve lost your compass, which body responses will lead you to your new life?