The big life questions, in a nutshell

When I was revising for exams, I always tried to reduce the info to one eyeful. Here’s a squirrelsize snackshot of my challenges

Your challenges, in a nutshell

Some challenges in life feel hard as conkers. So it helps to sum them up in a nutshell. Laura Eades 2014

I’m here, a mother in Berlin, neither employed nor freelance nor unemployed, because I’m having time out to try to debug my life.

I’m bugged by two things:

  1. Unfulfilment around life purpose and vocation (Chasing success; but not really motivated by any real topics or cause; the ‘purpose’ was creativity for its own sake and notoriety/fame the goal; consequently making very self-referential theatre that was impossible to galvanise others into equal collaboration over; meanwhile choosing a ‘day job’ that afforded a certain prestige and feeling confused by the magnetism of climbing a hierarchy and seeking financial or other recognition). Every now and then I’d get tempted by doing a course, that would, I thought, fasttrack me to success, and squander a load of energy in MA applications before feeling overwhelmed, starved of time and focus, and return to theatre for another ride on the rollercoaster). In a nutshell.
  2. Eating concerns dominating my feelings about myself. Eating style veering towards excess. Distracted eating, overeating, breathless eating, guilt, shame, and solitude; battles with myself over procrastination and the herculean creative projects I’d set myself, and good habits getting sacrificed in the name of meeting self-imposed deadlines.

Could my biggest life challenges be related?

Things they have in common:

  1. Future-oriented (angled towards an ideal future, in which I’m thinner/happier, and also successful/famous) –>Way forward: Let go of fame and prestige yardstick. And change the eating ideal. Get present. Get a more spacious concept of self. Stop living ‘if only’.
  2. Disconnection as a key feature. Urge to stop life, hermit and self-improve/create because getting healed/creating something killer requires total dedication. Must do that before I’m worthy. Search for fulfilment turning inward. Purpose. Satisfaction. But alienating self from family/love relationships/social life in the process. –> Way forward: Live more for giving. Find out how to help and contribute. Create purpose around others needs. Be connected through this process, not in the future when it’s resolved. Be careful around habit change that I don’t adopt the idea that all ‘needs fixing’ and my life can be ‘perfected‘.

How much ‘time out’ do I need?

I’ve taken 3 years so far and don’t have the answer to what I should be putting my energy into or how I should be making a living. But:

  • I’ve drafted a novel – I’d like to get it to a ‘resolved’ (readable) level for what? For the sake of pride? Because I still desperately believe it could be an overnight, roaring success? Is it a pleasure or a self-sacrifice project? What will it cost me to finish it?
  • I’ve started/resumed mindfulness meditation and yoga. I’d like to continue it, my hunch is that it’s key, since the awareness and curiosity and self-acceptance it affords help counter the huge egotistical motives.
  • I’ve started this blog and have some ideas about it ‘becoming a business‘ (don’t worry, the blog is not gonna have a massive paywall or loads of adverts).
  • I’ve had two children, and love them, and want to be a good mum to them, which means not being lost up my own arse.

Take the problems together

  • Invite my vocational concerns into the daylight. Reframe my aims and my motives. Sit with these when I eat also.
  • Explore my eating with my quest for purpose held in awareness. Find out if this can influence my approach to eating.
  • Let go of ‘fixing’. My life has challenges but it’s not broken. It’s not a crumpled pillowcase that needs ironing. Teach myself that no self-development is necessary; that the present is already perfect; to trust that if I enjoy and learn to give in this moment, in this day, to enjoy each mouthful of life, that my vocation will just unfurl guided my enjoyment, and no masterplan be needed.

Also:

  • Keep doing the things that work: yoga and meditation. Pencil a date with my novel on the calendar in a year’s time but keep an eraser in my back pocket. Bring mindfulness to my family life. Get conscious and deliberate about friendships and social life.

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What’s your problem-solving technique? Expanding or shrinking the problems? Working on the whole or the detail? Comments welcome!

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