Welcome to the latest issue of The Qi of Self-Sovereignty. The newsletter exploring what it means to be free in an increasingly not-so-free world.
Whether you're looking to locate your authentic self or investigate sovereignty, you're in the right place! Each week, with just a few minutes of reading, I aim to expand your awareness through a quote and a piece of content that made me go hmm...
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"No matter how much light I carry within me, there will always be times of feeling lost, being confused, seeking direction. It is the way of the human heart." - Joyce Rupp
Do you ever feel lost?
...Unsure of where you can provide value or whether you have a calling?
If you answered yes, find solace in the fact that you're not alone.
Social media gives us the impression that everyone around us is living their best life and that they have got it all figured out.
In reality, we are all simply trying to find our way.
Since social media's addition of like buttons, filters, and the ability to retweet/share, we are all socially incentivized to act in ways that raise our social status rather than stay true to ourselves. Authenticity has fallen by the wayside.
We fall into false positivity by only displaying the good times rather than giving a balanced view of our life. This creates a community of social profiles that act as a facade to reality.
And we're only just starting to see the effects. Each year, in the US:
- One in five individuals receives a mental disease diagnosis.
- Suicide kills more than 48,300 individuals, and 800,000 people globally, making it the second most common cause of death in the US for teenagers aged 15 to 24.
- And drug overdoses claim 81,000 lives.
On top of social media, when we look to the successful for guidance, when they describe their personal journeys, they often give us the impression that they knew what they were doing all along.
However, what I feel we often forget, is that these narratives are not representative of reality.
If we were to of connected with any of these individuals at any point along their journey, we would've seen that they had countless options to choose from and, often, felt lost.
What lead to the decisions they made, making them who they are today was their relationship with themselves and those around them.
With this in mind, our internal and external environments play a vital role in effective decision-making when we're moving down the long and windy path that is life.
Therefore, I want to share a profound insight from a recent documentary that will definitely impact the steps I'll take when I find myself in those moments of incongruence.
Insightful Content which made me go, hmm...
The documentary I am talking about is "Stutz."
Directed by Jonah Hill, the idea behind the documentary is that Jonah found so much value in working with the eccentric and renowned psychiatrist Phil Stutz that he felt it was paramount that he share his teachings.
As Stutz explains at the start of the documentary, most psychiatrists take a removed and passive approach to working with patients. This did not jive with him. He felt it was far better to intervene as quickly as possible, offering active strategies to improve the mental well-being of his patients.
...it was one of these strategies that caught my attention.
Many people come to Stutz feeling lost, helpless and unsure of themselves. A standard psychiatrist would follow up with a variety of questions, such as:
- What motivates you?
- What do you like to do?
- Where do you see yourself in the future?
However, Stutz highlights that this line of questioning totally misses the mark.
If his patients had these answers, they wouldn't be there.
Therefore, he suggests changing tact and working on what he calls our "life force." This is the invisible energy which underlies our existence. In Chinese medicine, it is known as qi.
Whenever we lack direction or don't know what to do next, as Stutz says, "we can always work on our life force."
Although this life force may seem imperceptible, it impacts everything we interact with, do, and feel.
It is, therefore, vital that we bring this life force into balance.
Rather than searching for answers and attempting to solve the problems in our life, we should instead direct our energy towards the three layers of our life force– body, people, and yourself.
Let's go over each one...
Level One - Body
This is the first and most impactful level. It is our relationship with our body.
Our body has total control over our mind and its mental state. Our body, therefore, dictates how we feel at all times. This has nothing to do with our handsomeness or washboard six-pack but rather with the quality of our sleep, diet, and exercise and how these impact our bodies... and, therefore, our minds.
If we have a poor relationship with our body, i.e. we are feeling tired and lethargic, which is affecting our motivation, chances are we haven't exercised enough, slept enough or are eating poorly.
Stutz would say that 85% of patients would feel significant benefits from simply working on level one, the body.
Level Two - People
Next up is our relationships with others. This doesn't simply mean constant social interaction. Instead, it means:
- being there for others,
- building deeper meaningful connections,
- giving others the respect they deserve as often as possible,
- and treating others the way we want to be treated.
When people drift into depression, it is not that they end their relationships, but rather they become disconnected. Relationships ground us in the present moment, bringing us back to reality.
However, we must take the initiative when it comes to relationships. We cannot wait for others to connect with us.
"Relationships are like handholds that pull us back into life."
Level Three - Yourself
This is our relationship with ourselves.
We must start to get to know ourselves. However, "nobody knows what's in their unconscious unless they activate it."
With this in mind, Stutz suggests journal writing as an excellent method of looking at oneself.
You may be pondering, "what should I write?"
Stutz would say, "it is not about what you write." Write anything. We'll build a better understanding of ourselves by simply writing down whatever comes up.
"Writing is like a mirror. It reflects what's going on in your unconscious."
From my own experience, mindfulness is another great option. It gives the body the space to open the door to our inner selves. A moment of serenity where we can listen to whatever may arise internally.
...And these are the three levels of our life force.
Rather than trying to figure out what our calling is, we should work on our life force.
By dedicating time and energy to each area, we will develop that underlying energy which will assist us in finding out who we are and what motivates us
You can think of your life force as the fuel for inner growth. Don't expect to make it very far if you're running low on fuel.
Put differently, pay attention to the process rather than the outcome! By focusing on our beingness, and how we show up in this world, everything will fall into place.
To end, if you've been going through a tough start to the year, unsure about the direction you're heading, why not:
Stop... take a few deep breaths... and focus on your life force?
Let the answers you're seeking come to you.
Thanks for taking the time to read this issue of The Qi of Self-Sovereignty. I hope you found it insightful.
I always welcome feedback and thoughts. So, do not hesitate to respond to the newsletter email, comment on the article or reach out via Twitter.
The future is bright!