Soul Shift: The Weary Human’s Guide to Getting Unstuck and Reclaiming Your Path to Joy is a wonderful book, filled with wisdom and insight. Through the sharing of personal experience, vulnerability and little victories the author leads us on a journey towards finding our most authentic way of being, and how to show up for our lives. Showing up as our authentic self is not an easy thing in today’s world, however, Soul Shift guides us through the journey in small, easy steps and with inspirational mantras that we can use to return home to ourselves.
What struck me first and foremost was when I read “Just because you made mistakes doesn’t mean you are forever defined by them. Just because you took an unauthentic path doesn’t mean that you must stay the course.” So often we feel guilt and shame over our past mistakes, and we continue to beat ourselves up about them. Through the author’s insight, there is the dawning realisation that mistakes will be made, we will at times be unfaithful to our true self, we will make mistakes and choices that don’t accord with our deep self, but that these are learning points and not shameful events that we must punish ourselves over with again and again. What doesn’t work, the choices that we make that aren’t true to our nature and our own will: these can often tell us so much about how we should be in the world. What doesn’t work can be our greatest teacher.
The “Dreamer Girl”, that authentic part of the self that the author shares with us, resonated deeply with me. I have my own Dreamer Girl, a time before I was inundated with the world’s opinions on how I should be, where I should be, what I should be doing. I have been returning to my Dreamer Girl over these last few years, and a feeling of “coming home to myself” has been strong. Our true selves are always with us. My Dreamer Girl has always been there, and it’s through paying attention to ourselves that we can rediscover that part of our being. Take good care of your “Dreamer Girl”, for it is a part of you that can be your guiding light in the world. I know she is mine.
The author also touches upon a subject regarding how women are often pressured to give and give until there’s nothing left. We must be selfless in order to be worthy. But how she phrased it, by showing us that selfless means “less of self” we can begin to understand how this is not a sustainable way of being. We must learn to take care of ourselves, set clear boundaries that are in accord with our authentic selves, and listen to ourselves. “The practice of True Self-Worth is one of the most transformative practices I’ve cultivated on the journey. It has empowered me to make choices by heart, according to my core values and beliefs, rather than by societal standards or the expectations of others.” She talks about not throwing good energy at bad situations, and how to keep toxic elements out of our lives by protecting ourselves with our own inner guardians.
When we are portraying a false or fake image of ourselves, we are unable to make true, authentic connection. When we are being authentic and true, that’s when the real connection happens and you are able to see it spreading out into the wider world. Your own genuine connections will be stronger for it, for people will be connecting to the true you, not the person you are pretending to be on any given day. Those genuine connections are where love sits deeply and comfortably, both in yourself and with others. “Know these acts of acceptance will lead to more significant surrenders that will bring unexpected joy and peace to your life.” The ability to love and be loved is when we are being our most authentic selves.
Kindness creates peace, as the author so beautifully states. She also mentions how growth and healing are fluid processes, rather than being competitive in nature. “I promised right then and there to reserve ‘best ever’ status to recipes, not humans”. I also took away her words that “Someone else’s opinion is not my truth”. Words to live by. I was also blown by the realisation that other people’s disappointments in me need not shatter my own peace and my own life. I feel that this may be a very powerful way of moving forward in my own life. She states “There’s no peace worth keeping if it requires me to betray myself and what I hold most dear.” We have to be okay with other people’s disappointments in us. In fact, should this happen to me again, I will be using the quote “I am okay with your disappointment in me,” rather than betray a part of myself through sublimation.
Every day our stories are being written. Every day we have an opportunity to show up in our life. This book is not a book about how to be perfect, but rather how to be a perfectly imperfect human being filled with grace and peace, leaning from the stepping stones of our past in order to walk awake and aware into our future. This moment, right now, is what matters most; not yesterday, not tomorrow, but this present moment. It’s the only moment we can truly show up for, in all honesty.
We can all learn how to “walk differently in the world”. Taking steps that are right for us. Connecting with our deep sense of self, who we are, what we will and will not tolerate, what brings us peace and joy. We can make soul-deep connections that nurture and sustain us, rather than upset or drain us. By listening to our self, by being true to who we are, by coming into our own authenticity we can move forward as sovereign beings that make a real difference to the world, simply by showing up and being free.