New Deal

by Joel L, Western Australia

These pages are filled with some amazing stories, all with a common theme: people talking about a new found sense of self that appears to have stemmed from taking a deeper level of responsibility for, and commitment to, themselves. The term given for this way of living has been called the ‘Way of the Livingness’.

I am also a student of the Way of the Livingness and can say that the ‘me’ I am re-discovering is, without a question, the real me. In fact, it is that part of me I have wanted to connect to for most of my life. The simplest part about the Way of the Livingness is that it didn’t ask me to follow a set diet or regime. All it asked was for me to pay attention to the choices I was making and the effect they had on me. Over time, I noticed it made a difference when I slept, what I ate and how I exercised; in fact there was very little that I did, that did not make a difference to how I felt.

In the past some of these choices became ‘needs’ or ‘demands’ – they became a regime I had to follow. As such, I was adding stress to try to improve well-being. With the ‘Way of the Livingness’, each choice I make connects me to a part of me that feels so amazing, so solid, so true, that making all those choices does not feel like a chore, a sacrifice or a drain. In fact, eight years on and I am more relaxed, I have more energy, time and productivity – yet I am more dedicated to the detail of my life than ever before.

However, I have noticed a limit in what I can ‘improve’ in my life through these lifestyle and diet choices, and that the intention I have with any given task is what makes a profound difference. This means at some point I needed to move the focus from what I am doing in each moment, to how I am in each moment. In fact, ‘how I am’ comes before anything I do, and the ‘how’ often determines the ‘what’.

Sit with that for a moment, as there is a huge difference – there is a real possibility that there has been a difference between ‘who I have been’ in all my actions and ‘who I really am’ in my essence.

The wonderful part is the possibility that I might be able to stop wasting energy with all those things I have chosen so that the world would see me a certain way. It has been huge for me to realise I made a contract with the world many, many years ago: the contract was that if I act in a certain way, the world would leave me alone. If I worked hard, was a good dad, a good husband and a nice guy, other people would accept me… in fact people might even praise me.

This is not to say that the ‘real me’ is not all those things, but that when I do them to hide or because I think I should do them, to gain the acceptance, or to fly ‘under the radar’, it feels very different to when I do them because I choose to. The reality is, the only reason the choice to show ‘me’ feels scary is because I have spent so much time living behind the ‘front’ that the world has come to expect.

What makes the contract I bought into ridiculous, is that it hasn’t been all roses and caviar. Some of the roles I agreed to play included giving my power away to others, feeling despondent at times, being the provider (for others, but not for myself), and putting a lot of effort into hiding behind Mr Nice.

In truth, the contract was a bum deal, yet I signed up to it and paid my dues every day with every action and every breath… my payoff was I got to keep hiding. So if I was out and people were drinking heavily and I felt tired, Mr Nice would match their drinking so as to not be left out or stand out – while the real me wanted to thank them for the evening and excuse myself. Hiding was also joining in when a group of guys started talking about sports, cars, or denigrating women – while the real me wanted to say ‘I’m not that into sports’, and offer another topic.

By being ‘the same’ I can hide, by being ‘me’ it sometimes feels like I am very visible in that moment. Even though being visible feels true, real and lovely, the temptation to blend in was, and to a degree still is, very strong.

So on one hand there is a love so true that it asks nothing but for me to be with it (be with me): on the other, a contract so draining that it hurts to feel the fatigue in my body from trying to live up to it.

You would think the choice to stand as me, with all the joy and vitality that brings, would be a no-brainer, but I still feel the tug of that contract niggling at me to not buck the system. At times others don’t like the fact that I am changing the rules I live by… but maybe it’s because they have been hiding too, and need me to not change. At times I don’t want to feel all the joy that is there to feel because it reminds me of the time I have wasted.

I am still finding ‘clauses’ in the contract that I didn’t realise I had signed up for, but regardless of this fact, the ‘Way of the Livingness’ is a new deal I am making with myself. 

188 thoughts on “New Deal

  1. “I am still finding ‘clauses’ in the contract that I didn’t realise I had signed up for, but regardless of this fact, ‘The Way of The Livingness’ is a new deal I am making with myself.” A beautiful conclusion showing that there is always more to explore and uncover about ourselves.

  2. We become masters of ‘fitting in’ to avoid reaction from others. Even though reactions don’t feel very nice, they are actually a confirmation that we are doing well and reflecting a point of difference that can make people feel uncomfortable about their own choices to not live and reflect their true quality also.

  3. I love what you are saying here Joel about The Way of The Livingness. It has also been my experience that it is not a set of rules or tenets that you have to follow in order to find yourself (as many self-help techniques claim to offer) but rather it says stop and connect to who you are and actually feel the quality of your essence and then apply that to your life and you will know the changes that need to be made to sustain that connection with yourself and everyone else. A very different philosophy for me and it makes all the difference.

  4. An honest and poignant sharing, thank-you Joel. I’m with you, with all that I have embraced today in living The Way of The Livingness, as my religious way… In this, there are no contracts, zilch. And as we deepen in our return to all that we truly are (the ‘real us’ as you say…), we meet those areas of life where we have signed ourselves over to a contract, however seemingly unconsciously so…
    What liberation it (truly) is to be able to break these things down – drop the role of ‘nice’, of ‘provider’, of ‘good daughter’, ‘looking after everyone else first’… or whatever we have donned, and realise that beneath all of this is a greatness of being that has never ever dimmed or gone anywhere, but simply been blanketed by the falsity we’ve wilfully chosen.

  5. Me too. How I see and experience myself and my life has completely changed since I encountered The Way of The Livingness. It’s not that I started giving myself a set of new rules to live by, but just one simple choice to come back and connect to my inner-most, that is all it takes, then other choices follow. If I wobble, whoops, I keep coming back soon or later.

  6. This is such a clever and cute expression, you have a way with words Joel, a way that touches me deeply. I am being tugged at the moment, I am struggling to hold myself and not just go into the blending pot that makes up most of what I see around me. Why you might ask am I struggling to remain me? One of the reasons is the fear of makings others uncomfortable but when I read inspiring blogs like this, it makes me remember that life is about reflecting truth.

    1. When I have felt the discomfort in another because I have not behaved in a way that was expected I have gone into feeling guilty for upsetting them. I would worry because of what I had created blaming myself but I am beginning to realise and become aware of what is important – putting them first and their needs or choosing love and being true to me?

  7. “By being ‘the same’ I can hide, by being ‘me’ it sometimes feels like I am very visible in that moment.” And with that visibility we can change the world as the other can feel that there is an other way to life – to fit in and be not visible is a role most of us like to play so that we do not rock the boat so to speak – it is more comfortable.

  8. It really does rock the boat when what the world expects of us we no longer do but the real me comes from me, comes from within me, my essence and not from any belief, ideal or picture of what I should do or how I should be.

  9. “the ‘how’ often determines the ‘what’” so true. When I am the real and amazing me in every move I make then I do not choose to do something that dulls that shine.

  10. ‘All it asked was for me to pay attention to the choices I was making and the effect they had on me.’ By taking an increasingly more honest look at ourselves and our behaviours we can see how we are keeping ourselves back from living at full capacity. We begin to feel our potential as we dare to let go of some of our former restrictive patterns. As we express more of ourselves, our new found selves, we find there is even more to us than we had imagined and we begin to feel the joy of these discoveries and begin to live with that joy instead of the highs and lows of the existence we had formerly been in.

  11. I too have ripped up the ‘old deal’ that I had made with life, one where I pretended to be someone that I was not, someone who ended up struggling through life, not really enjoying it for much of the time. The ‘new deal’, that I have chosen to live these days is also The Way of The Livingness, a way of living which asks nothing of me but to be all that I am; no pretending, no struggling, just a very joy-filled and truth-filled way of being.

  12. I love your playfulness, Joel, around this very seriously damaging contract that you, me and many others have signed up to. What on earth were we thinking? It took The Way of The Livingness to show me there is a different way to live . . . a way where there is no need to sign our self away . . . a way the in fact does the polar opposite and signs us in to committing to be all that ‘we are’ instead of all that ‘we are not’.

  13. The truth is the contracts we make keep us small, exhausted and always searching for more, making a new deal with The Way of The Livingness is a powerful choice that feels expansive, more loving and supports us every step of the way… and this new deal is the reflection humanity needs to pull them towards this truth and this grandness of love that everyone is deeply craving.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s