Welcome to 2020 free.
Free can take on whatever feels meaningful to you! Free time, free will, feeling free, freedom, untethered … for me it means free from (no, not gluten or sugar) but from beliefs and stories that I no longer want to believe in.
I recently had the opposite of feeling free … I felt really weighed down by the story that everything needs to be perfect and that hard work is rewarded.
I have a personality type that resonates strongly with the archetype of the perfect achiever, I love getting stuff done, doing it perfectly and fast! Living like the Greek warrior Athena is helpful when you have a pressing deadline but it is also exhausting! I continue to work at being more wise sage and balanced rebel.
What archetype do you resonate with?
I started working in the UK, developing a network and friendships, more than a decade ago. Just over five years ago, I made the move to come live in the UK permanently.
I knew that after five years I could apply for my settled status and so for the past five years, this has been on my mind. I have saved many documents and spreadsheets with all the information that I thought I would need. I was told it was tedious, difficult, would take time and be costly.
I was excited and eager to apply in October. I submitted the documents and was excited to get a response before year end. I waited and waited. After three months, on 28th December, I realised that I had not done the application in the right place. This was very hard for me to accept. I had a sleepless night tossing and turning, my inner critic and perfectionist having a field day (night!).
One of my coaches, Angela Deutschmann, gave me this question that I try remember to use when I experience stress or any challenge, “What does the situation show me about what I truly desire?”
Have you got a conscious question you can use when feeling stressed or confused?
Well, in this case, it showed me that I truly desire to settle, to have security to be able to deepen my roots. It also showed me that I truly desire to live and make the UK my home. That I feel that I make a difference and that I feel more at home here than I have anywhere else.
Another conscious question that I got from another coach, Dr Frances Yahira, is, “What don't I like about this situation?”
And this is where you can really mine the gold!
I felt like my time had been wasted, that the system could have been more efficient, that I didn't get the right advice, that surely its got to be more difficult and who am I to have it so easy?
These were deeply held beliefs. Phew.
After getting the correct advice, I was told that all I had to do for my application was verify my identity on a government approved app and the internal system would have all it needed about me.
You mean I don't need a file with countless documents and spreadsheets? No interview? No payment? How could it possibly be this easy?
After doing the application correctly on the 28th of December and being told it would take a week, I resigned to the fact that I would never get a final response before the end of the year. Had I checked my emails I would have seen that within 24 hours I received notification that I had indefinite leave to remain in my settled status had been granted.
And so it was on the fifth of January at 5pm (I think five might become my new lucky number) that I found the letter that had waited patiently for a week in my inbox saying that my application had been successful and that I had unlimited leave to remain in the UK.
What has this experience taught me that may help you too?
Firstly, it is helpful to have at least one conscious question that you can use for contemplation when you are feeling stressed, confused or challenged in some way.
Go inward. Focus on your breath, reflect on the question. And if nothing comes up, that’s okay, let your gut brain think. Be patient.
Secondly, reach out to others. Don't do it alone. I had another strong belief that it's got to be done by me if it's going to get done. When I was feeling overwhelmed by the emotion of it all, I spoke to a friend who just listened. And another who gave me some interesting perspective to add to my own.
So as you go through 2020 free:
Where can you free yourself from old stories and beliefs that no longer serve you?
Where are you making things more difficult than they need to be?
What if life could be easier?
What if you really could solve challenges and get answers in less than 24 hours!
Remember Mary Oliver’s admonition to always, “Keep room in your heart for the unimaginable.”