We often complain that life is short, when in reality the problem is that we start living late. Only when we drop the masks, the burdens and the false relationships, we take the big step: we finally open the doors to that wonderful creature that, like a hungry wolf, emerges free in search of its territory.
Okot p’Bitek was a Ugandan poet and writer who devoted much of his career to spreading traditional African culture. According to him, people are never completely free. We all have a place in our society: we are children, brothers, mothers or doctors. However, these bonds are nothing more than a starting point, because we have the opportunity to create new horizons while maintaining common roots.
We all come into the world free. However, life, our family and the social context that surrounds us shape us little by little with their multiple hands and their lukewarm breaths. Far from sticking to every sign already written and every form, we are the artisans of our life, those who, in a given moment, will have to choose which of those values and teachings to accept, and which to reject.
Okot p’Bitek has left us some really wise reflections in books like “Lawino’s Song”. We will never stop being someone’s children or brothers, natives of a specific place… Nevertheless, even if we know our origins, we have every right to wake up and build the life we want.
And you, have you really started living?
It is possible that the concept of “really living” is baffling to some. Are we not all alive? Do we not enjoy the gift of life as we are born and breathe in this very moment?
The truth is that there is a distinct difference between existing and achieving that full life in which each individual genuinely enjoys what he is, what he does and what he has. Because from when we are born to when we die there is a precious time called life, which is worth living intensely.
Well, how to do it? How can I wake up? Erich Fromm, the famous German psychoanalyst, social psychologist and humanist, used to say that the human being spends most of his life getting used to what society labels as normal and thinking that this is “good and correct”. However, most of the time we end up anchoring ourselves to some bonds, behaviors, and activities that go against our true desires.
We swallow our bitter frustrations and hide our desires in the depths of our being, like sad relics that it is better not to look at, because everyday life drags us away. Because it is necessary to complete, adapt and be part of that great mechanism that shapes the single thought, in which, obviously, there is no freedom. Waking up from this sad dream takes courage. Because only those who are willing to start their own personal revolution will begin to live as they really want.
5 steps to wake up
It might seem ironic. However, there are many people who follow their life paths with their hearts turned off and their minds guided by an automatic pilot programmed to get carried away. It is a simpler existence but, undoubtedly, less happy, less authentic and satisfying.
The essential alchemy to promote awakening and transformation is based on five steps that we should reflect on for a moment. Are the following.
Key points to start living the life you want:
Let’s go back to what we talked about at the beginning of our article, quoting the writer Okot p’Bitek. Today there are several aspects that undoubtedly define us, whether we like it or not.
We are someone’s children, brothers or sisters and friends or colleagues. Furthermore, we hold a certain position within our company, marked by our work.
- All of this binds us to certain entities, but does not define our decision-making abilities. You control the type of connection you wish to maintain: close if it makes you happy, distant if it causes you suffering.
- Stop pretending. This aspect is fundamental, we must be able to stop pretending to be fine when what surrounds us burns inside us. Stop saying “it’s okay” when in reality it isn’t. Stop turning your face away when you don’t like something. Be authentic, make sure your thoughts are in accord with your actions and your voice resonates firmly.
- Learn to give up. You have to understand that in order to start living the existence you really want, you have to leave behind many things, many people.
- Live in the present, practice full attention, and remember that the best time for anything is now.
- Follow your intuition. Learn to listen, to give weight to that inner voice that tells you what is important and why, and what is not.
To conclude, remember that it is not a question of living a lot or a little, but of giving meaning to every moment and valuing one’s life for what it is: a gift that we cannot waste.
Images courtesy of Sophie Wilkins