Would you be willing to devote twenty minutes of your day to conscious living if you knew this was the amount of time you needed to live a life that felt exciting and meaningful?
You might think, “Sure, everybody would sacrifice a few minutes a day to create a life that feels good and that's really worth living.” The truth is that very few people would, not even if their life felt like a slow death. It's so easy to find all kinds of excuses. However, the main reason for unconscious living is that we don't really believe in our own creative power.
We might not know where to go with our lives either, at least not how to get there, and we are often too scared or indifferent to find out. A few people, however, have a strong longing to create their dreams. It would be so much fun if you were one of them!
If you have the courage to change, let's start our one-year journey towards conscious living together.
My name is Nina Skarpsno Heide. I'm from Stavanger, Norway, however, I've lived close to twenty years of my life in Africa first working for the UN and later for NGOs with the mission of helping street children to dignity. I will begin this guide by giving you an understanding on why I personally decided to go on a journey towards conscious living and as a result ended up writing this book.
In January 2004, my children and I moved back to Norway eight months before my husband's contract was finished. Our house needed renovation and I believed it could take time to get a job and settle in. Moving back to Norway ended, however, up being much, much harder then I believed was even possible.
To get a job took me several months and finally, when I got a one year contract I soon collapsed at my overloaded office workplace and was taken to hospital in an ambulance. Shortly after, I was diagnosed with diabetes type 1 (Lada), my marriage was now on the verge of wreckage and I had to put my house-renovating project on hold. I soon developed a serious fatigue syndrome, as well as anxiety and depression. For many months I slept twenty hours a day and life felt like a nightmare.
Today, I'm extremely grateful for this rough experience as it forced me to make some important choices. Now life feels really good, and I believe I have the tools to handle whatever comes my way. In 2004 however, I did not know what to do or who to contact to get the help I needed and it took me more than ten years to get back into the driver’s seat of my life. Why it took me so long was that I first didn’t want to face my life and I used my diabetes, my fatigue syndrome and losing my job as excuses to keep myself depressed in bed.
For a long time, I preferred to lie in my bed and read and write. At least it felt better than working. I didn't like my office job: at that time I didn't like any office jobs. I liked to be free and I liked to do work that was meaningful and inspired me. During the following ten years, I went through several different psychologists and holistic therapists. Something good came out of it. However, I was not able to maintain the good feeling over time and stay strong. Finally, I accepted my diabetes and my total lack of energy. My depression, I thought, was just the result of my tough situation – who wouldn’t be depressed?
Gradually, after spending so much time in bed, I became withdrawn and didn’t like to be with other people. I couldn’t stand noises and large crowds, as they made me anxious, and I wasn’t good company for anybody. What kept me in bed with depression though, was the thought of never being able to do a job I could be proud of. Ever since I was very young, I have wanted to make a difference in this world. But how was it possible to make a difference when I got exhausted just from taking a shower and then needed to go back to bed?
I don’t remember exactly how and when I started to listen to Esther and Abraham Hicks, my spiritual guides, but I do remember it was from here that I began taking responsibility for my life. I realized that no other person could make me healthy but myself, and this, only through changing my own thoughts.
I started to believe that I had an inner power, and I chose to use this power to heal myself and get out there to live my life as close to my dream as possible. That’s what I’m doing every day now. I live the life I want to live, working with the issues that feel meaningful and things that inspire me. Finally, I decided that I didn’t want to be caged in an office as long as there were other options for work in other places.
Being my own boss, I can now monitor my energy level. Sometimes I need to put the brakes on, other times I give all I have. Still, I always try to check my thoughts and energy. And when I fail, I try again to slowly but surely, move my life forward in the direction that gives me a feeling of purpose. And the feeling of having a purpose is one of those many things that make me happy.
A long time ago, even before I became ill, I also had a claustrophobic feeling when in dark places such as tunnels and caves. I felt anxious and often struggled to breathe. After working with my own thoughts, a few months back I realized that this was no longer the case. I can now even crawl with my back scraping the roof of a pitch-black cave for quite a distance without a problem. And that discovery was the start of this journey, as I now know for sure that I’m back to a normal life.
Thinking that my story might be of help to others who are struggling, as I was, to find the way out of the dark or being able to face their challenges is another thought that makes me feel happy.
My wish is to share some of the tools I picked up on my way so you can take a shortcut on your journey from fear to love, from sickness to health, from boredom to excitement, or whatever your starting and ending points might be. These tools are multipurpose: they make you confident and grateful, and take you wherever you want to go…
What to Expect
The way this journey works is that I’ll help you discover your dream life and make you conscious of what beliefs and values are preventing you from living that dream. You’ll soon find out that the difficulties in reaching your dream are hidden within your thoughts, and how you choose to think about yourself and the world around you.
You might not always agree with the way I have interpreted my life. However, the purpose of this journey is that you find your own answers to the big questions in your life and use your conscious beliefs to move yourself forward.
This journey of self-discovery is meant to be exciting, playful and fun and you’ll learn to accept, respect and love yourself, others and your life. How much you’ll get out of it though, depends on how open you are to change and how much focus you’re willing to put into this life-changing experience.
You will need a journal for this work. I’ll give you three assignments at the beginning of every month and you’ll log the assignments in your journal to keep track of your growth.
This journey requires you to take responsibility for your own life. By using time and working yourself through your own challenges, you can make sure you are moving yourself forward to a life that feels good.
If you find it hard to make this journey on your own, set up a group or use this program together with a coach or a mentor. (You might find a mentor under Forum for Change.) By allowing a whole year for this process you’ll give yourself a chance to change gradually but surely.
By giving yourself time you will develop good routines that will help you to continue your growth long after you’ve finished reading this guide. It’s possible to do the journey in a shorter time, of course, but I recommend you use at least three months if you want lasting benefit from the journey.
I’ll start out by doing the assignments, using my own life experience as an example. My story is there only as an inspiration as the goal must be that you create your own dream. However, I’m also taking this opportunity to continue my own journey of self-discovery, using this chance to move myself forward.
It’s a good idea to read the entire guide first so that you get an overview before you answer the questions in writing. At first reading, nevertheless, start thinking about your answers for each question.
*If you wish to purchase the workbook specifically made for The Guide, you can make your order at this website www.a-life-worth-living.org (on the market in 2019). The workbook breaks down each assignment into several short questions and will thus help you to work in a more focused and structured way with the tasks. It will also include some practical exercises that can be fun to do with others. In addition, 50 pages of free journal entry are made available.
Should you choose only to read the guide and decide that you do not want to spend time on the assignments, you'll still be able to get a new and hopefully better insight into your life. However, if you want to make a real change, I'm afraid you'll not be able to achieve this without being willing to do the exercises.
In order to change and learn new skills, theoretical knowledge is not enough. We must also be willing to practice. It's through the practical exercises and assignments that you'll really learn to grasp life and bring lasting changes. However, there is nothing wrong with using your own workbook and the not fully focused questions from the guide if you feel this is good enough.
First month of our journey together
The Starting Point
During this first month, you’ll just get to know yourself to find a base from which to make your leap. In the next ten journeys, you’ll look into what you believe and how you can believe differently, as it’s not what happens to us in our life but how we react to it that matters. By the final month, you will be ready to work on your specific dream by using all the tools you have discovered while going on this journey.
By understanding how you can respond differently to things that happen to you, you can change your life from being painful or dull to exciting, fun and meaningful. However, this requires you to be truthful to yourself by being willing to look at your own life to reveal what is not working and how you can make it function. It also requires you to be willing to evaluate your beliefs to choose the ones that build your self-worth and make you believe in your own power.
To become the creators of your own life, you will start out this journey by learning more about who you are, why you are here, and what you want to make out of this life.
Why are we here?
To be honest with yourselves, asking questions and being willing to search for what makes you happy, not just adapting to what others tells you to believe and do, is required to live a conscious life.
Respecting others’ opinions and beliefs, understanding that we don’t have to fit into the same square box, will set your soul free...