- Katie Hodge
Pages From My Journal: The Illusive Dream Life
Updated: Feb 20
It’s Thursday 16th February, my ‘home’ is a room on the beach, the ocean my front garden, I can hear the waves at night. Each day I wake up, read, meditate then practice yoga before ‘commuting’ along the beach to a co-working café to work on my business. In summary - my dream life. However, this past week I’ve felt home sick, I’ve craved connection and purpose, struggling to find self-worth in this slower paced life.
In his book Happy Mind, Happy Life, Dr Rangan Chatterjee states
“We’re told to follow our dreams. We devote our lives to chasing them, and make sacrifice after sacrifice in order to make them all come true. But what we’re never told is this: our dreams won’t make us happy”.
As I grow older and wiser (am I allowed to say this yet?) I’m learning that no location, achievement or material object can truly bring happiness. Here are 3 things I’m working on, that I feel will help bring me closer to the real dream life, one where I find happiness and contentment in myself, wherever and whatever I'm doing, and don't need validation or external circumstance to achieve it.
As human beings we all desire a purpose, a reason for being on this earth. However when we attach ourselves too firmly to a label we risk being unhappy when the label no longer fits. For example, if we see ourselves as a mother and solely a mother what happens when the children leave home; or if our label is a lawyer, doctor or teacher, what happens when we retire? I have definitely fallen into this trap with work – I was an event manager, then a yoga teacher, a small business owner; however I’m trying to distance my identity from work. I now like to think of myself as a health and wellbeing advocate, travel seeker, planner. I encourage you to do the same, think about your underlying features and interests, think about how your family and friends would describe you, and start associating yourself more in line with this purpose, not just the obvious labels society give us. When we learn to live in alignment with our core values instead of a given label happiness is easier to find.
“If we become too strongly attached to our labels, they can leave us feeling fragile and exposed” Dr Rangan Chatterjee
This is something I talk about a lot, because I whole heartedly believe that you cannot find lasting happiness without self-worth. It’s so important. Self-worth allows us to believe that happiness is ours for the taking and to stop self-sabotaging situations which bring us joy. Having self-worth is not something to be ashamed of or hide from, it’s being able to acknowledge that you’re just as worthy of joy and love as the next person. This is not to say we want to walk around with big egos - believing we deserve it all, that’s not the idea. There are some that need to believe in themselves a little more and treat themselves as an equal. Most of my 20’s I put other people and my work first – I assumed this was the way it should be, otherwise I was being selfish or a bad employee. However, what I have learnt in my 30’s is that I cannot possibly serve others to the best of my ability if I am functioning from a place of overwhelm and burnout. That I need to fill up my cup before I can fill the cup of others – you’ll hear me say this a lot in class.
The screen saver on my phone is a quote by Katie Reed:
“Self-care is giving the world the best of you, instead of what’s left of you”
Self-care can only happen once we acknowledge our self-worth, otherwise caring for our self will always make it to the bottom of the priority list – can anyone resonate with this? Yoga & mindfulness are key ways to re-fill your cup, to dedicate time to your body and mind, and in turn to yourself. Whilst in Bali I’ve embraced being a yoga student again – I have fallen back in love with practice and all its amazing benefits, this slipped last week, however I've made a commitment to myself that from now on, everyday will include some movement and mindfulness.
“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” Brené Brown
Human connection is written within our DNA, for our ancient predecessors it was necessary to live with others for survival, in order to have access to food, protection, shelter. If you happen to find yourself alone and an outsider, you won’t be supported by the tribe and much more vulnerable; this is still in our genetics today and therefore makes sense why we feel more anxious when alone and crave connection.
Think about a time when you had the most amazing experience - did you share that experience with someone else, was that part of the reason it was so incredible? Or did you partake in the experience alone, wishing that you had someone special there to share it with?
“Humans are social animals. Nature wants us to connect with others and rewards us with positive feelings when we do… One study at Harvard University that’s been tracking people for an incredible seventy-five years found that the number-one predictor of happiness and wellbeing over the course of our lives is the quality of our relationships. Nothing else came close”. Dr Rangan Chatterj
The past week I was feeling a little lonely, purely because I was making less of an effort to put myself out there and speak to people, naturally I am very introverted, so playing the extrovert role can be exhausting. However, I am now committing to making more effort to being brave and attempting to strike up conversations with people – very un-British of me! It’s amazing what you can learn from chatting to a stranger for 5 minutes! So I encourage you to do the same, if speaking to a stranger feels too much, just give them a smile as you get on the bus, or a nod of acknowledgement as you run past them in the park – every little bit of communication counts.
I hope that you can take some tips from my journal this week – just an insight into my mind. I only have one more week left in Bali and wondering whether to keep these blogs going – are you enjoying them? If you’ve read all the way to the end please click the heart or leave a comment so I can get an idea of whether to carry on.
Don’t forget you can join me on a Retreat this year, where we will work on all three of the elements discussed above: purpose, self-worth and connection. You can find the full details at www.katiejyoga.com/retreat.