This year is already shaking up my brain and soul in a slightly less chaotic but equally as cool way as last year. 2020 was about breaking down the past, tearing us away from the familiar, and preparing us to do things differently. 2021 feels like walking into the space that was created, ready to build on the fresh foundations and learn to live more fully.
In fact, I’ve never experienced such a tangible sense of possibility before. It’s like a new dimension is opening up and things that seemed set in stone; offices, the 9–5, mindless consumerism — those concepts just don’t exist anymore. It was how we lived in the Western world for so long and yet reflecting on it now, a lot of it didn’t check out.
Ditch The Pursuit of Happiness
As part of the human software upgrade that comes with massive change, I am officially ditching The Pursuit Of Happiness. Why? Because happiness is fleeting, and to be frank, after the emotional growth that came from eight months of introspection in lockdown, it now feels kind of…vanilla.
There is so much more to this Earth experiment than feeling happy. Feeling whatever’s actually happening in the moment, good or bad, is far more exciting. Happening versus happy.
We still live in a goal setting society though, so I need a new metric. And I know the feeling I’m chasing. It’s a combination of; being exactly where you’re meant to be. Working towards a bigger purpose. Trusting yourself. Having an open heart and mind. Being connected not attached; engaged and energised; present not distracted. Sometimes scared. Always growing.
So what’s the secret to reaching this new level? I think it’s actually a lot more simple than the ‘good vibes only’ ideal we were sold. It’s about aiming for alignment instead.
Aim for Alignment
To me, this is the difference between the search for happiness versus alignment;
The happiness myth focused on the destination in mind. It’s essentially like trying to force your way to calmer seas even when there’s a hurricane.
Alignment is a state of mind. It’s about riding the waves of life and loving the feeling of just being in the ocean in general.
It sounds simple, floating along, but it isn’t easy. Far from it actually. That’s the whole point. Anger or deep sadness, or epic confusion don’t feel good, but the full spectrum of emotions and experiences is just part of the human condition. And it’s transformative.
These are some of the things that have brought me closer to alignment:
- working out my own values and always living by them
- figuring out how my past is affecting me and taking responsibility for my healing
- minimising distractions (especially TV)
- choosing the uncomfortable option if it means growth
- not competing with anyone
- accepting that life is a constant ebb and flow - bad times are inevitable
- letting go gracefully (of people/ places/ things)
- replacing frustration about things not working out with curiosity about what’s coming instead
- sitting with negative emotions until they’ve been transmuted
- learning how to protect my energy and maintain my own power
- integrating the sides of myself that I would normally hide
- designing my lifestyle to maximise health and wellness and
- truly getting to know and like myself.
I’ve always felt that there’s an undercurrent to this world that is truer, deeper and more meaning-giving than any of the other surface level stuff we obsess over. And after last year, that undercurrent is feeling less like a secret and more and more like the norm. I think it’s because more people are tuning in, and more people are getting aligned.
Happiness is a point, a place, but it’s not sustainable. Alignment is living in the flow and moving effortlessly from point to point — joy to sadness and back again. When you’re feeling open and curious and energetic, the future feels expansive and you’re part of the bigger picture.
So my manifesto for 2021 is this: life is chaos and happiness is fickle. Aim for alignment instead.