That’s my barometer for whether I’m living in alignment with the vision I have for how I want to feel every day.
That realization came to me yesterday as I dusted sand out of my black jogging shoes for the umpteenth time this month. I’ve been having to dust sand out of practically everything we have in our little seaside apartment. Shoes, towels, shorts, cushions, locs, sand, sand, sand—and I couldn’t be happier about that reality.
Sand, in this case, represents more than just tiny grains of rock and mineral particles. It also represents the manifestation of something I struggled for years to envision.
About four years ago, I decided that it would be great if Kris, the girls, and I lived close to the sea. I would let myself daydream about the four of us taking walks from our home to the beach in the middle of the week.
I wouldn’t daydream for too long though, because I wasn’t rich, I didn’t live anywhere near the sea, and I had real life stuff to get done.
Eventually, I learned that “real life stuff” can only be made up of of my focal points throughout the day. So, if I stopped giving all my attention to the things that made me feel busy, and more attention to the things that left me feeling fulfilled, engaged, and curious, then my “real life stuff” might actually feel less like shit to do, and more like me, living a fully-expressed life.
That realization has become the basis for my work in the exploration of Radical Self-Expression.
For me, Radical Self-Expression represents my personal proof that the more I release myself (and my thoughts) from my Should-Life, the more I make real the visions and joys of the life I choose to live.
I am in my lane, living in joy, managing my hurdles and my successes, and most importantly, feeling aligned with the vibrant, intelligent, expressive woman my Creator designed me to be.
If I had continued to accept that “real life stuff” meant I could only be happy on Fridays and on vacations, then I’d be less about my actual life, and more about my Should-Life.
Thankfully, this queen and I connected and decided to release every last bit of our Not-it Shit, and we got in the trenches of our mindsets and nurtured each other through to some heavy breakthroughs.
‘Bout Dat Should-Life (also known as Not-It Shitville)
You know about that Should-Life, don’t you?
It’s that stage in your life where you decide, whether consciously, or by default, to pursue the life that someone like you “should” probably have. It’s that “responsible adult” flow that chokes out dreams and visions of ultimate living, and replaces it with practical, logical, proven paths to that good job, that decent relationship, and those vacations that help you lick the wounds from your everyday life.
That Should-Life mindset started in high school for me, and it wasn’t until 2004—more than seven after high school—that I started being more deliberate about how I want to feel each day, and committing to the design and manifestation of that life.
Should-Life is devoid of faith, and steeped in supposition:
-suppose this shit doesn’t work?
-suppose I leave this relationship and there’s nothing better?
-suppose I lean all the way in, and no one supports my art?
That Should-Life cost me a sand-free existence, plenty of to-do items, loads of debt, and a lifestyle that found me longing for vacations and other forms of fleeting joy.
Are you living in Should-Life mode? Or are you collecting grains of proof that you are indeed designing the life you actually want?
I’m going to plant my voice into your head for a bit by asking you to consider these questions:
– Akilah knows that when she’s living near sand, she’s going the right way. What do I use to gauge whether I’m living in alignment with how I want to feel?
– When Akilah talks about Radical Self-Expression, she’s talking about a moment-by-moment decision to do less of the things that I feel I “should” do, and more of the things that are aligned with the life I say I want to live. Have I made that list of things I will do to walk toward that life? If so, where is the list? If not, why don’t I make it today?
Go ahead and make your Ideal Life list. Refine it. Recite it daily. And commit with everything you’ve got to walk yourself into that reality!