Hello. Hello. Welcome back to Live Free Creative. I’m your host Miranda Anderson and you are listening to Episode 115 of the Live Free Creative podcast.
Today’s show is all about tuning into your internal GPS for direction. Finding yourself so that you can figure out where you want to go and how to get there.
I had the idea to share this on the podcast after I prepared it for a live event that I did last week. I was invited to come speak to a group of youth in the community. It was an outdoor event, a true fireside.
There was a fire pit and everyone was socially distanced with masks on and they were all in lawn chairs around the yard.
And I was able to share these ideas about the three principles that I come back to over and over again when I am looking for peace. When I’m looking for some sense of direction. And it turned into this fun little acronym:
Your internal GPS.
I hope that that will make it memorable for you.
As we jump into the episode, if you find yourself wondering: What’s going on? What is the next right step for you? What should you be doing with your life? What are you even doing right now?
I don’t know–these are all existential questions that I feel like have come up for me often in my life, especially over the last several months. And maybe some of you relate to that.
We all at some point, and we’ll get to that point where we’re like: what is even happening in my life. I think that your internal GPS can really come in handy in those times.
So we will hop into that in one moment. First, I want to just give you a quick update on Life Lately
The big, fun news that I am so thrilled to share is that our clubhouse is all the way done. Like done, done. And sometimes with remodeling renovation, redecorating projects, you get to done, and that actually means that there’s about 10 or 15% left to do…and that might actually be…I was going to say we’re past that; we’re like all the way done…and then I remembered, “Oh, I actually did want to add a little caulk around some of the fixtures.”
And so here, my announcement now is that we are 95% done with the clubhouse enough of all the way done so that I was able to take some fun pictures of it. The art is up,, the wallpaper’s up, the storage is finished. The pillows are in there. There’s books and toys and games and the gaming system and everything is all put together.
It’s all cozy and lovely. And we have been enjoying it thoroughly. The mini fridge is stocked.
I shared a full blog post detailing the process, the products, the everything that we thought and did that went into what has been in our minds, a project we’ve been working on since we bought the house in 2017, although we only started really working on it in the spring, March, April is when you know, right when quarantine happened, I thought, well, the clubhouse might be a good project to work on.
And my initial goal was to have it finished by June. Well, we know that didn’t happen. Do you remember all the big goals that everyone had at the beginning of quarantine? Did you have those? I had some of those really big goals. Like maybe I should write another book like right now in the next three months. Like, no.
The clubhouse didn’t get finished in June, but I got enough out of my system with that initial push of motivation that I was able to be far enough along having built the side shed, moved everything out of the clubhouse area, hired someone for the sheet rock. We got it all done.
And the ball was rolling far enough that it was able to kind of roll itself into completion. And it’s perfect timing because it’s cool enough right now, my kids can hang out there and not be super hot, but also not be cold. We have a little space heater for if it does get colder. I mean, it will get colder over the next several months.
It should be comfortable though. It’s fully insulated. It’s got a great fan. It’s a very small space, so really easy to stay warm. And they’ve got some blankets and pillows out there. So we’re thrilled with it.
If you want to see more of that, if you haven’t yet seen it on Instagram or gone to the blog, I will link the full post about turning your shed into a kid’s clubhouse.
I have two really fun work-related Life Lately that I’m excited to share with you.
Live Free Creative Camp
The first one is the progress of Live Free Creative Camp. This is the deep work creative retreat that I dreamed up a couple years ago. I held one last year in 2019 and it was amazing. And so I went forward with scheduling, not one, but two incredible Live Free Creative camps for 2020.
Well, you can guess what happened to the first one that was scheduled for May in Texas. It was wiped off the slate as were so many of the events that we all were looking forward to this year.
My summer camp was also swiped off the calendar in July, and with things feeling a little bit safer, my events being very small and the ability to just move a tiny bit opened up, I’ve been able to move forward with the Live Free Creative Camp, Fall 2020 in Outer Banks, North Carolina, that’s coming up in three weeks.
It sold out. It is just a dozen incredible women in this beautiful giant beach house. Just spending four days focused clearly on bringing forth some beautiful creative work. I know we have someone working on a manuscript. We have someone working on an online course that she’s developing.
There’s so many ways to use this open time where we’re just taking care of everything, beautiful venue, beautiful food, incredible community, and you just get to work. Just really focus on work. I’m so excited. I haven’t had more than a couple hours of focused time for a long time. So I’m very much looking forward to that.
And as fall 2020 Camp approaches, I felt so motivated and excited and inspired to move forward with planning and scheduling for 2021.
So the venues and dates are already nailed down. The registrations are open and available.
Live Free Creative Camp, Spring 2021 is going to be held in Hurricane, Utah. That’s about an hour from Las Vegas, 20 minutes from S. George Utah. If you’re familiar with the area. That’s going to be an April, 2021.
Live Free Creative Camp, Fall 2021 is going to be held in Vermont in October. This is like the height of the foliage in New England. And I cannot wait. The beautiful Bed and Breakfast in Vermont.
After such a weird year, it is thrilling to have some fun things to look forward to and plan on for next year. All of the information about the camps what’s included, what what’s involved, the locations and dates, all of that is on the website: livefreecreative.co/camp. If you’re interested, you can find out more there.
We would love to see you at one of these incredible deep work retreats.
Summer Camp 2021
And the other fun thing that I’m working on…Fingers crossed I will not only have the deep work retreats for entrepreneurs and authors and writers and creatives, I also am hoping to reschedule my Summer Camp that was planned for July, 2020. Hoping to hop that back into July, 2021.
That will be in maple Grove, Idaho, where women can come glamp or camp next to the river. We will have crafts. We will have creative exercises. We will have yoga and meditation and all of the food, all of the programming, will be provided.
It’s like a grown up summer camp for adult women, for moms. And I am just working away at lining all of the little ducks up so that that can happen and registration for Summer Camp can be open as well.
I’m thrilled with both of these ideas and events, and I hope that 2021 becomes the year that we can gather together in greater numbers with much more ease and comfort and build community in person once again.
Those things, my friends, are Life Lately.
Main Topic: Your Personal GPS
So friends, let’s move into talking about your personal GPS. Like I mentioned, I was given the opportunity to speak to a group of youth. These are 12 to 18 year olds and some adults as well. Some leaders.
When I asked what they would like me to speak about, they said, “Oh, just, you know, whatever, like whatever you want to talk about, your book, your stuff, just the things that you talk about minimalism and, you know, having enough and all of those things.
That is really fun. I love the idea of being able to talk about whatever I want. Hello, this is what I do every single week on the podcast: talk about whatever I want for an hour. And so happy to be able to develop some ideas and share them.
It is so interesting, however, that I am really accustomed to teaching and speaking to adults. And the idea of speaking to younger kids to youth felt different. I was not sure exactly how my stories would land or if they would relate.
And I had to keep reminding myself, first of all, of how adult I felt at 12, 13, 14 years old, that I felt grown up. I mean, I, inside myself, considered myself fairly adult. I also was reminded of how universal some of these important principles that I like to talk about. And that these are things I’ve been learning about since I was a kid. Learning about principles and values that transcend age, that transcends stage of life, those are foundational and important things.
So I decided rather than to try to figure out how to make it a kid-friendly talk, that I would speak to these youth as adults, that I would consider their understanding and consider their stages of life as valuable and important and worthy of treating with interest and respect the same way that I would any age or stage of person.
As soon as I kind of got over that hump of how do I talk to teenagers, it made it a lot easier and things flowed a lot better.
I decided to frame my talk around a question that felt urgent and universal. And that question is: What am I doing? Where am I in my life? And where do want to go? What should I be doing? Where should I be headed?
I feel like these are questions that I’ve asked myself over and over throughout my life. From the time I was little. I remember being in elementary school and people ask you what you want to do or what you want to be when you grow up.
I remember being in high school and feeling like, what should I be participating in? What should I be working on? What will move me in the direction of success and happiness as an adult? Those things I need to start working on now and having to make some decisions about what is right for me.
I very much have felt this as an adult. And it’s funny because you think that these things are going to go away, that some of these questions about what I’m doing with my life, that by the time I’m 37, have three kids, a dog and six chickens, I would know what I’m doing with my life.
And yet some days I look around and wonder, what am I doing with my life? Where am I headed? What is this pathway leading me to. Do I know where I’m going. Do I know what I want to be headed towards? All of those seemingly giant questions can easily spin me into feeling like I don’t know any of the answers. I don’t know anything.
This is me just showing all my cards, friends. Do you ever feel like this? I think this is a universal feeling. I think the idea that sometimes we were a little lost and we don’t know where we are or where we’re headed. I think that that is something that we all relate to in one way or another.
And as I was contemplating that question, I was digging within my own soul, my own experience, for what I use as the answer. When I’m wondering: What am I doing? Where am I going? What’s right for me? What’s right for my family?
I dig deep. And there were three things that came to mind as very clear answers of how I solve that question in the moment. And these principles that I use as guidelines for keeping me able to make small adjustments as I go along my path–day by day by day–headed in the direction of my dreams.
Gratitude, Patience, and Stillness
This, my friends is my personal GPS. The G-P-S stands for gratitude, patience, and stillness.
When I feel all of those big overwhelming feelings of what am I doing, where am I going? I don’t know what my purpose is. Does any of this even matter? I’m able to find where I am through gratitude, patience, and stillness.
I’m able to use all of those feelings and emotions that I can draw upon through these three principles. And I’m going to say that they’re also verbs. They’re also actions. They’re also understandings and perspectives.
As I clear my lens, I wipe away all of the I-don’t-know-what-I’m-doing, and I replace it with a lens of gratitude, patience, and stillness. It’s through that lens that I’m able to see clearly: Who I am, where I am, what matters most, and how do I move forward with that information with clarity and with purpose.
Obviously these three principles, these values perspectives, they’re not new. These are things that I talk about, I feel like, all the time. And yet, thinking of them in this way, as a compass or a guide for our lives, as figuring out where we are and where we’re going, that gives them a whole new depth and meaning that I hadn’t really explored before that I think is powerful.
And so I invite you, as I tell some stories and share about these three specific values, and how we can use them to guide our lives, I invite you to apply them to your life and to consider how using your personal GPS can be of help and of service for you in your own life.
Let’s start with gratitude. It seems maybe silly that when you’re asking yourself a big question, like, what is my purpose in life? Or where am I, where, where am I going? Does any of this even matter? It maybe seems like, well, why would you stop and think about gratitude? What is the purpose of that?
In my life, gratitude has been one of the most transformative values and practices that I’ve experienced. I can flip a switch from in gratitude to gratitude and the entire world around me changes. It actually changes. The things that I pay attention to, the way that I see the world, changes when I see it through a perspective of gratitude.
I want to share a quick story. When I was 19–I’ve mentioned this as an odd job segment–when I was 19, I worked as a wilderness counselor at a rehab in West Utah.
I was in charge with another co-counselor of a group of between five and eight students, girls between the ages of 12 and 18, At any given time, there were a handful of students who had been sent to rehab, wilderness rehab, usually either by their parents or sometimes by mandate of a judge–that they would be in court and rather than going to a juvenile detention center, they would be mandated to rehab out in the wildernesses of Utah.
When they arrived at camp, sometimes they had a suitcase or a duffle bag or something. They had packed and were prepared. Sometimes they came just as they were because they had been mandated and sort of like retrieved from their homes and brought with guards or transportation people to camp.
We issued them initially, a uniform: tee shirt, shorts, hiking, boots, socks. They each got a sleeping bag and that was about it. A book. And and then they hop in the Jeep, we’d head out a two and a half hour drive away from the camp headquarters.
We’d drive out to the middle of the Shepard mountains, which is the Northwestern section of Utah County. There’s nothing out there. It’s just miles and miles and miles of sagebrush and Juniper trees and dunes and hills, valleys, little creeks and streams.
There’s no town. There’s nothing nearby. It’s literally the middle of the desert wilderness.
The first task that the new student in the group would be invited to master as part of her time out in camp was to make a fire. And we didn’t use matches. We didn’t use the lighter. We used what was there, in nature, to create fire.
And these girls would look at us like we were crazy. They look around there wasn’t anything. You know, they’ve never seen anyone light a fire without like just pressing the button on the stove, let alone not even using matches.
And they would have to pay attention and observe how the other girls and the counselors would make fire, and how the tools that the girls were using had been collected from nearby.
A long curved branch of a juniper tree made a perfect bow for a bow drill, and some dried out Yucca read that in the long straight shoot that comes up from a Yucca plant can be dried and cut down to a little pencil length nub. And you can use a shoelace from your boots or a strip of leather and tie that around your bow.
You make a bow drill using these two tools from collected things in nature, and you can press down and spin that drill until you have a tiny little ember and you put that ember into–you let it drop into a nest of stripped dried bark from the juniper tree, just a little tiny nest of bark as tinder.
You hold that like a bird’s nest in your hand, with the little ember in it, and blow gently and soft until that ember grows and grows and that tinder has caught fire. And then you layer a couple more little sticks on it, and then you get some bigger sticks, and these are things that you’re just collecting from a hundred yards around the camp.
You soon are able to watch this student, this girl, see that the wilderness has everything that she needs. Where before she just saw a vast emptiness, everything that she was used to–her own clothes, all of her belongings, all of her family, all of her friends, where everything was gone–she said slowly is able to see that she does have everything she needs.
The earth itself–I’m going into a little bit woo-woo hippie here, but I was a wilderness counselor for five months, so I guess that comes with the territory–the wilderness itself is supplying everything that she needs for survival. And not only for survival, but for the lessons that will encourage her growth and development and fulfillment and joy and success.
That my friends is the transformation of gratitude: the awareness of what we have instead of the awareness of what we lack.
So often when I’m in that downward spiral of asking myself, what am I even doing with my life? Where am I going? Where am I headed? Does any of this matter? I have been focusing on what is going wrong and what is not available: what I can’t control, where I lack.
As soon as I settle in to the perspective of abundance and gratitude, recognizing and seeing my life through the lens of what is there that I appreciate, what is there that I love, what is there that three years ago, five years ago, ten years ago, I never imagined would be part of my life, what it surrounds me every day that I have wanted.
And yet, as soon as I have it, I forget about it and I don’t pay attention to it.
Stepping back into the G of our GPS, stepping back into gratitude, shifts our entire perspective, and we are more able to clearly see where we are and where we’re going.
Let’s move on to the P of our GPS patience.
I have a whole chapter in my book, More Than Enough, about patience. In fact, a couple episodes ago, I shared that audio book chapter with you.
I believe patience is one of the most underrated and undervalued and underutilized principles of power that we have. I know in my life, most of my stress and overwhelm, and sometimes anxiety, comes from the timeline that I have created.
I don’t mind doing the laundry, but when I feel like that’s all I’m ever doing, and I don’t have enough time to finish it, that’s when it starts to weigh on me.
I don’t mind hanging out with my kids, but when I feel like all of my time is taken up that way, and I don’t have extra time for the things that I want to do that build me up personally, it starts to stress me out a little bit.
I have to back up and sort of readjust and figure things out. I love Cal Newport who wrote Deep Work and Digital Minimalism and a few other of the books that I really enjoy. On his podcast, he talks about how overwhelm and burnout are results of a time problem. They’re not a direct result of the tasks that we have before us. They’re a direct result of feeling like we don’t have enough time to complete the tasks.
We either need to adjust the time or we need to adjust the tasks. But when there’s a mismatch, that’s when we have that overwhelm.
This is the same thing for our general personal ideas about where we’re supposed to be at whatever point in our life we are. For example, a young mom with a new baby, wouldn’t probably feel as overwhelmed, frustrated, and stressed out if she acknowledged and was able to just sink really deeply into the understanding that everything was going to take a lot longer, and that there are a lot of things that probably weren’t going to get done today.
And is totally okay. The only thing that she needs to do is care for herself and care for the baby. And that for a while, nothing else needs to happen. She doesn’t need to pursue big work goals. She doesn’t need to do the laundry. She can order take out.
There’s nothing else that that needs to happen. I think is when we look around as young moms and we start to compare our ideas of what we think we should be doing with someone else’s, that we start to feel all of that frustration, overwhelm, stress, anxiety, and a feeling that we’re just not doing enough, that we’re just not doing it fast enough or well enough.
I know that for a lot of entrepreneurs, especially women entrepreneurs, it’s really easy to look left and right, and gauge your progress based on other people’s pathway when their path is not your path.
The only path that you can walk is your own. The one that’s right in front of you.
When we start to be impatient with ourselves, about our progress, about our success, about our financial situation, about our knowledge or our understanding or our education, we jump on that spiral heading downward that will just feel like none of it really matters. What are we even doing?
If I’m not progressing as fast as her, or if my life doesn’t look just like theirs right now, then I must be doing something wrong. And this is where patience really shines because your timeline is going to be different than anyone else’s.
And I might add your destination is going to be different than anyone else’s as well.
But we seem to overlook that when we think: I should just be doing all the things that I see everyone else doing all the time, and I should be doing them as fast and as well as I see everyone else doing them.
It’s so cliche. It’s true, though, that we often compare someone else’s 10th year to our first, or we look at all of the people who have “overnight success”, whether in motherhood or in business or in in educational goals, whatever it is that we want, we compare ourselves to those who are doing it phenomenally well and forget everything that has gone into that.
Regardless of any of the comparison, our path is going to look different. And when we exercise patience for ourselves, for our families, for our stage of life, our season of life, for our businesses, for our children, we can acknowledge and just take this great deep breath that says where you are right now is just right. Good things take time, good things take as long as they need to.
And if you’re not enjoying the process, that’s something else entirely. In fact, sitting in patience and asking yourself, are you enjoying the process? Can you enjoy the process? If you never got to the destination, would you still feel so happy that you are doing the things you’re doing on the way?
Those can all be great realizations or insights into whether or not you like the path that you’re on? And if you should make a change or not.
Patience is a principle of power. Exercising control over what we can control. Taking a deep breath and knowing, knowing, that it’s all going to be okay, that the time will work out perfectly.
Patience Is Waiting Happily
If you remember several episodes ago, I talked about how I taught my kids. That patience is waiting happy without asking questions. Now, I think that it’s important to ask questions as an adult sometimes, but the waiting happily piece, we can do that.
We can wait and enjoy the waiting. We can know that good things are coming.
Those perspectives of just dialing it back on the rush and the hustle and the bustle, slowing it down a little bit, making it personal.
That step in our personal GPS is really helpful. When we ask ourselves: am I bothered about this or, or spiraling about this because I think that I’m not doing it fast enough? If I had all the time in the world, would I still be interested in what I’m working on?
Those are good questions that will bring some insight into our lives.
Now for the S. The S in our personal GPS is stillness.
I understand the power of stillness more and more, the more often that I allow myself the space to experience it. For over a year, I’ve been using the Headspace app to do a daily meditation.
I won’t say that I’ve done it every single day, but most days of the week, I give myself at least two, three, five minutes–I love when I have a day that I give myself 10 or 15 minutes–to sit in stillness, clear my head and allow myself to just be.
In those moments, I’m able to connect to the deepest part of myself, the highest part of myself, the part of myself that is connected to God. The part of myself that’s connected to my family, to my community. The part of myself where I feel an abundance of importance, not only for me but for everyone.
I recognize my worth, deep deep down in there. In the stillness I can find that little bit of divinity that I believe we all have within us. It’s so easy for that to be buried so deep that in the rush of our lives, we don’t remember it.
And when we have those spiraling moments where we’re wondering: what am I even doing? What is my purpose? Where am I headed?
Stillness can help us connect to the truth that we matter beyond what we’re doing, where we’re going, where we’re headed, how fast or slow we’re getting there, we are gloriously fundamentally and intrinsically enough.
We are powerfully, importantly, divinely sufficient beings. Our humanity makes it so. All of us. When we find that peace, that depth of being okay, being wonderful and glorious, as a unique individual, that everything on top of that is like icing and cherries on top, we’re able to release some of the clenching of just needing to get it right, of believing that there is some really great and important, dramatic purpose for us to fulfill.
Maybe, maybe our great and important purpose is simply to be the kind wonderful loving mother and friend that we are, maybe our big great wild important purpose is to inspire our neighbors through our small acts of creativity and through the boldness that accompanies us as we take our kids to the park and to the playground and to the hikes nearby.
Maybe there’s something that feels really big. Maybe you wanted do big things and own big companies and write great books. All of those things are fantastic. And none of them make you better or more substantial or more successful than anyone else.
Even though I know it’s so easy to say this, and it’s so much harder to feel it, even though our world is made up of the messaging that tells us that what you have and what you do define you, let me remind you that that is not so.
What you have and what you do do not define you. You are glorious. What you have and what you do can be a fun, interesting, beautiful way to follow your curiosity and to add beautiful things to the world.
I think, though, if you find yourself often feeling disconnected from yourself, from that self that feels like it needs to be able to define a purpose in order to be worthwhile, the solution may be stillness.
The solution may be turning everything off that’s telling you that you’re not enough yet, and explaining all of the ways for you to get there. Hello Instagram. Hello Facebook. Hello Pinterest. Hello any TV commercial ever that’s tried to sell you something to make you feel better.
Turn it all off for a little while. Take yourself on a walk without headphones in. Without your phone. Give yourself the gift of solitude and stillness.
By stillness, I don’t mean you have to sit still; you can go on a walk in the sunshine. You could go on a hike in the mountains.
Stillness of mind, turn everything off, unplug for a little while, get some time away from your people. From your husband, from your kids, from your coworkers, from your neighbor, from your partner, from your dog even. Give yourself a little bit of space and stillness to connect to you.
To the you you were when you were born and the angels shouted for joy. Your parents looked at you with dreams and starlight and adoration in their eyes, and you hadn’t even done anything yet. You had as much value then in that moment as you do now.
I feel like I got a little soap-boxy there for a minute and it’s worth it. It is true. It’s important. If there’s any message that I share over and over again, that I want to drive home, it is: You are enough right now.
So friends, your personal GPS.
You’re looking for purpose? You’re looking for where you are, what you’re doing, what matters to you, where you’re going, where you want to go, how to get there?
My prescription is tune in to gratitude, awaken your awareness of what you already have.
Pay attention to patience, the power of patience. Stop comparing your track, your path, to anyone else’s and understand that the timeline doesn’t matter that much, that it’s okay to wait for good things as long as you’re enjoying what you’re doing along the way. That’s a really good measure of that.
And number three, surrender to stillness. Find solitude, and allow yourself to reconnect to the divinity that is within every single one of us.
The next time you find yourself asking: What am I doing? Where am I going? What is my purpose? How do I get to where I want to go? Try this out.
Try tuning into your personal GPS and reflecting on: How these things guide you. How you are unique and so individual. And the answers that will come as you reflect and change your own personal perspective, those will be different for you than they are for anyone else.
You have to tune in to that little voice inside you to your intuition. Some people call it the Spirit. Some people call it your soul. Some people call it the Holy Ghost. Some people call it a still small voice.
There is a connection inside you right now that can whisper to you of your strengths of your power and yes of your path tune inside to that personal GPS. And you will feel some clarity around those questions that you ask yourself over and maybe over again throughout your entire life.
That’s it for today, friends. This is the most important message that I could think to share with you this week. And I hope that you find some hope in your personal GPS.
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Can’t wait to chat with you next week until then have a great one. Bye bye.