I walked away from a successful career...
In February 2009 I took voluntary redundancy from Channel Four Television and in so doing I walked away from a successful and enjoyable career in TV.
I adored (and still do) the people I worked with and I had had some amazing and fun experiences along the way.
So why did I go?
Unsurprisingly perhaps, my reason for leaving TV was not really anything to do with work. Despite all my success (and its accompanying rewards) for a very long time I was aware of a niggling sense that for me something was 'off'. I wasn't unhappy exactly but I was aware that I was experiencing (and had been for a very long time) some kind of low level dissatisfaction that no amount of money, or job promotion, or fancy holiday or in fact anything external could fix. Finally I realised that I needed to stop running and that instead I needed to take the time and space to look at the one place I had neglected for so long. I needed to look inwards.
As I was leaving Channel Four a yoga teacher who had had a similar life change advised me that very quickly I would learn that there is a difference between what I 'need' and what I 'want'. What he was referring to was material 'needs' and 'wants' and indeed he was right - I realised that I was lucky in that I had far more than I would ever need. The rest I had was just extra and in fact clutter that I had accumulated because I had mistaken 'wants' for 'needs'.
As I sit here in 2019 and reflect on my life experience of the past 10 years I have quite a different take on what I have learned about 'needs' and 'wants'. I have realised that for so much of my life I 'wanted' as much busyness and material possessions etc. in order to distract myself from that which frightened me and which manifested itself as 'anxiety'. I understand now too that this was the cause of my low level life dissatisfaction. In fact, what I 'needed' was to learn the skills to deal better with what life throws at me rather than constantly trying to push it away or to distract myself from it.
I needed to learn how to 'self soothe'
Essentially this is what my mindfulness practice has given me, namely the ability to respond consciously to life's waves rather than reacting automatically to them (and causing myself the same problems over and over and over again). This has not been easy - a lifetime of reactivity cannot be changed over night! But I have stuck with it and today I feel much more grounded and present with myself and others than I have ever done. Most importantly perhaps the low level life dissatisfaction and general anxiety that I had experienced for so long no longer exists.
Over the past 10 years mindfulness, and my work both as a massage therapist and as a mindfulness teacher, has enabled me to step into my life more fully and for that I am truly grateful.
What changes do you want to make?