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The Ants In Our Pants

Nov 112013

I’m the first to admit it. Sometimes I can be so fidgety and restless, it can drive my friends berserk. Anyone’s who’s ever been to a cafe with me will know how I often like to hop around different tables until I find the one that’s just right. Whoever’s with me will invariably humour me with great patience, dutifully collecting their things together and juggling their latte as they move with me to that quieter, more cosy-looking table in other corner, hopefully for the final time!

Restlessness – that feeling that the grass is always greener – is something we’re all guilty of at one time or another. I have friends who find it hard to sit still for too long, and I’m sure you do too. They’re the ones who can’t bear to be doing the same thing, day in, day out, and would much rather be filling life with new and varied experiences and flying by the seat of their pants than quietly dying a slow death in a mind-numbing office job.

Nothing wrong with that, of course. It’s part of what makes us human to seek out new experiences. But when we’re continually prodded by that unspoken fear that we’re missing out on something better around the corner, we can start to create problems for ourselves. One person I know has spent her entire life moving from city to town to country looking for the ideal partner. In every place, her dinner dates never evolved into relationships – not because of the lack of available men in all those places, but because she hadn’t figured out that the real problem lay in her inability to open up, be vulnerable and show who she really was.

It’s easy to imagine that the big decisions – like moving to a new city or country, beginning or ending a relationship or starting a new job – will make the biggest difference in our lives. Invariably, big moves end up distracting us from what’s really causing us distress – but inevitably, the same old stuff eventually just rears its head in a different form. And when we make big changes, we often find that we quickly recreate the same mess we were running away from.

So what’s the answer? Well, I’ve found that it’s actually the small decisions, the minor choices that make the biggest difference in my life. Every decision we make, in every single day changes us somehow. For me, life flows best when I make choices that are in line with my core values, instead of being ruled by my ever-changing feelings. So whether you’re deciding between that morning rollie or a run on the beach, or whether to watch TV or pick up a book, it’s about asking yourself ‘what would the person I’d like to become do in this situation?’ When we can tune in to our intuition, listen closely to our hearts, then we can act in ways that bring us real fulfillment. Sure, we may not always get it right – and sometimes we can be wilfully determined to act against our best interests! But even when we do, if we can be mindful that we’ve made a choice that’s not consistent with our values, it can free us to begin to change, and move in a more positive direction over time. Just noticing our own wilfulness can give us the awareness we need to change.

There’s no doubt about it. In every moment of every day, and with every breath you take, there’s an opportunity to choose a life of ease and contentment – and for all of us, it’s the smallest choices that often trigger the biggest shifts.

In love and light,


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