WHY am I doing this to myself?
I imagine this is a question that goes through most people’s minds during a 10-day silent retreat.
My WHY was to change my life.
I learnt numerous life lessons from my experience and gained a multitude of insights.
But there was one in particular lesson that stood out…
It wasn’t until 6 months after the retreat when I was sitting in my meat delivery van that it finally dawned on me.
A Lesson in Effort
Waking up at 4am.
Doing 10 hours of meditation a day.
For 10 days.
A LOT of fucking effort.
I could easily have slept in or bunked off a few sessions.
I could easily have bailed on the retreat or thrown the towel in after a few days and walked out.
But I didn’t.
I had my WHY.
Effort and My Why
And my WHY was to change my life.
So I applied myself.
I applied EFFORT.
Effort to get myself out of bed at 4am every day.
Effort to sit and meditate for 10 hours a day.
For 10 days.
A Life Changing Moment
So as I sat there in my van wondering why the fuck I was delivering meat for a living, the lightbulb went off…
From 13 to 27 I had stopped applying effort in my life.
I had been coasting.
Coasting through school.
Coasting through work.
Coasting through life.
I was 5 years into forging a career in television, but I was now earning minimum wage delivering meat after being unemployed for 6 months.
Just to be clear, there’s nothing wrong with delivering meat for a living.
The truth is I loved that job and the people I worked with, but it wasn’t what I wanted to be doing with my life.
So that moment in the van was a turning point for me.
A life changing moment because I had an honest conversation with myself that delivered the hard truth.
Getting Hit With the Hard Truth
Sometimes the hard truth gets delivered when you’re meditating.
And sometimes it pops up when you’re sitting in a meat van.
So as I sat there reflecting why I was now delivering meat it dawned on me that I’d not been applying effort in my life, from the big stuff like work and relationships, to the day-to-day stuff like diet, exercise, life admin, household chores…
And because of my meditation practice I was able to sit and reflect objectively on why I was where I was at in my life.
It gave me the ability (and the strength) to have an honest conversation with myself that delivered the hard truth.
My life was the way it was because of ME.
Not because of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.
Not because I’d been unlucky.
Because of ME.
Because I’d been coasting.
Because I hadn’t been applying EFFORT.
So if I wanted to create the life I wanted, I needed to take 100% ownership of where I was at and I needed to start applying more effort to my life.
And with EVERYTHING.
It’s not about pointing the finger at yourself, shaking your head in disappointment or making yourself feel bad.
It’s about finding the space to objectively look at your life and question it.
Question if you’re happy.
Question if you’re where you would like to be in your life.
And if the answer is no then dive inward, investigate and find out why.
Maybe this resonates with you because you don’t put effort into every area of your life.
Because you aren’t where you want to be.
Because you’re not happy.
And if you’re not, perhaps you need to look in the mirror and question yourself.
Learning the Hard Truth Gave Me an Opportunity to Change
Maybe you’re unhappy because you have goals and ambitions with your health, with work, with relationships, but always seem to fall short.
If that’s you, then you have an opportunity to change it. To figure out why.
And when you know why, you can start to figure out what action you need to take to get you where you want to go.
And to be clear…
I’m not suggesting that we have to be go-go-go all the time.
Life is as much about being, as it is doing.
But if you want your life to be a certain way and it’s not, then it might be because you aren’t really putting in the effort to make it the way you want it to be.
Honest Conversations Lead to Power
Meditation can deliver the hard truth because it shines a light on the negative behaviours and self-destructive patterns we develop.
But when we practice meditation we create space for an honest conversation to unfold.
And when we’re honest with ourselves we open up the possibility to makes positive changes in our life.
And when we know what needs to change, we have the power to build a better life.
YOU have the power to build a better you.
If you’re willing to have some honest conversations and face some hard truths.