I have spent the better part of the past 2 years redefining my life and my goals. After my divorce left me wondering what was next for me and what I wanted to do with my life now that it was all mine to decide again, I set out on a path of discernment (though I didn’t necessarily know that’s what it was at that time). I worked with an amazing life coach to first decide what my goals were and then to figure out how to go about making them a reality. Deciding on what goals I wanted to achieve was actually easier than I thought. It actually all came down to wanting a little peace in my life – after a long and difficult divorce journey, I just wanted some peace. And while I don’t know that I could clearly define what I meant by that at the time, I just knew that’s what I wanted and needed. And so the harder part became determining how best to achieve that goal I had identified. My life coach gave me lots of wonderful ideas and resources (books to read, the idea of doing an audio journal, meditating, deepening my yoga practice, clearing out and reclaiming the space in my home, etc.). In addition, I researched online and found lots more ideas and resources (more book suggestions, websites and blogs, different meditation techniques, etc.). I also discovered the world of podcasts, which offered me a ton of ideas and resources as well (more websites, blogs, and books, the art of journaling, other people who have gone through similar experiences, the importance and relevance of morning and evening routines, etc.). To be honest, at one point, it was a little overwhelming because I had so many ideas, resources, strategies, etc. that I didn’t know where to begin. Enter discernment.
Discernment is one of the key factors involved in helping you manifest peace in your life. The dictionary defines discernment as keenly selective judgment or the ability to see and understand people, things, or situations clearly and intelligently. In short, it’s your ability to decide how someone or some thing resonates with you and your situation.
And so I began a process of discerning which of these ideas and resources might best suit my needs. Think “try before you buy”, because in essence that is sort of what I did. I would choose one idea or resource a week to try out and then reflect, really being honest with myself, as to how that resonated with me. And in that way I cycled through most of the ideas and resources I had collected. As a result of using this process of discernment, I now clearly know:
- I prefer writing a journal to doing an audio one
- I have found 4 or 5 podcasts that provide education and support in areas that are very meaningful to me
- I have learned to become gentler with myself about my morning and evening routines (the art of forgiving yourself is such an important thing)
- I find shorter meditative practices (5-10 minutes) to be more powerful and helpful than longer ones
And I could go on because honestly, I am still moving through the process of discernment today as I work to continually fine tune my life so that it is bringing me optimal peace and helping me reach my goals. It has proven to be an invaluable tool in my personal growth journey.
So many of us get caught up in what society or our friends and family say we should do. That’s totally understandable, especially in terms of our friends and family as we look to them for guidance and support…after all, they know us as well as, if not better, than we know ourselves most times, right? While this may be true, they are still making suggestions to you through their own filters or lens, so it may not truly resonate with you and your situation or your goals. There’s no doubt they mean well, but we are each our own unique person. So what feels good and supportive to you may not to your best friend, parents, colleagues, etc. While gathering ideas and suggestions from those close to you, or even society as a whole is not a bad thing, just be discerning as to which ones you actually put into practice. For that matter, don’t be afraid to try something out and discard it after only one “use”. Don’t get caught up in thinking there is anything wrong with you when something doesn’t work for you the way it did for someone else because there’s not – we are all unique beings…different things work for different people. And there’s no hard and fast rule that says you have to stick with something for a specific amount of time before allowing yourself to move on. Don’t allow the inner critic to tell you that you have to/should stick it out if it doesn’t feel right to you. Listen to your body and your mind. What resonates with you? What feels supportive, helpful, right or good to you? Those questions are excellent examples of how you can discern the path to peace in your life.
Remember, with discernment there is no should or could. There is only how does this fit…how does this feel. And in your quest for peace in your life, however you may define that, only what feels good to you, what is supportive of you and your goals, is what you want to discern as something to incorporate into your life. Your desired peace is attainable, but it has to be in a way that resonates with you.