By: Alex Sabbag
A simple question that landed in a profound way. My choices have never been guided by feeling. More so guided by what I should do, what is expected, lucrative. What I’m good at. But yet in the midst of a pivotal season of change I was experiencing in my life, the one central question asked by a beloved friend, mentor, and quite possibly the most interesting man in the world (really) was how do you want to feel?
The question was prompted after I shared that at that moment, just days away from being 34 and-a-half years-old, I have no life plan. I’ve recently developed a bit of discontent surrounding the work I’ve been doing for the past 9 years and in the process, found myself spending nearly all of my time exploring my passions and side-hustles. But in the moment, this uncertain season where change is clearly imminent and I have consciously unfolded myself from the very things that I have identified myself as, I lacked a sense of panic or worry. Calm and utterly clueless is exactly how I would describe it. Yet not naive. No. Not in the dark nor failing to recognize the very position I had landed in, but secure in the fact that I am a grown ass woman that has lived an incredibly monumental first third of life and had next to no idea how I was going to support myself in a few months. Cool, acceptance. Nice to meet you.
So the nature of the conversation was that. I left the moment with a simple answer. Good. I want to feel good. And then I thought, happy. I want to be good, maybe great, and happy. Simple and achievable. In fact, I think I identified with these very feelings at that very moment and took pride in how simple this assignment had been for me. This moment came and went, and in time, I realized I rushed my answer, not allowing it to be guided by feelings at all. The same type of rushing we do when we’re out to dinner with our significant other and the whole time is spent planning the next outing. Why? You’re out! Be there, in that moment! And wouldn’t you know, it’s the exact method I’ve approached everything. How should I feel, how should I be?
It was hours after the question was posed to me. I walked out of a 6pm Power Vinyasa class. 93 degrees. Mat to mat. I flowed through each posture feeling my way pose to pose. I can do it in yoga, you see. I had a cupping appointment prior to the class so I was mindful, modified, amplified and allowed my movements to be a reflection of feeling. My eyes were likely closed for 50% of the class. I didn’t need to see. I knew where to go, felt it, allowed my breath and body to gently be my guide.
When I walked out I noticed how I felt. Clear, calm, happy, light, full (despite feeling quite hungry), enough, strong, and myself. I felt how I always want to feel. That’s it. I have my answer. I know yoga is profound, but man, this night it showed up for me big time. I’m not only grateful for the question, my journey to find my answer and where I landed, but I’m also grateful it didn’t take anymore time to get there.
The conversation was more involved than simply asking how I wanted to feel. There was a nod to knowing yourself so I asked my lunch guest if he knew himself. To which he answered yes, and had for quite some time. I believed him, fully. No way this man is confused about who he is. Clear as it gets. I quietly thought to myself, do I know me? And while the rest of the day didn’t lead me to completely soul-dive this particular question, I think the answer not only falls in how I want to feel, but the truth that I do, in fact, know who I am. And for the first time, I like to be with me. So how did I end up here? On one hand, with all of the options at my fingertips and on the other, a completely failed career?
Fear is what stands in our way from giving ourselves permission to live freely. When we remove the fear, embrace the challenge and potentially the uncertainty, we are no longer prisoners in our own way. The choice isn’t what job am I going to do or what is my life plan… no, the question is – and my commitment is to always allow it to remain – how do you want to feel?
So, I challenge you. Ask yourself that very same question when you’re in your own season of change, faced with a large decision to make or fear to conquer. If you commit to listening, I know you’ll hear your answer. And it won’t be tactical. It will be far larger than a to-do list. If you truly get to the bottom of that question, you will have a far larger plan than you ever thought was possible.