Sunday, July 8, 2012

Choosing an Authentic Life

A Beautiful View from Dawn's Balcony
A few months ago, we came upon a post by a woman named Dawn (@islandblog) on Twitter. Upon reading her profile, we were immediately intrigued. Here was someone who had been a big-city lawyer, decided to ditch it all and move to a tiny island in the Bahamas. What we especially liked was reading Choosing the Better Life, her personal blog that's full of wonderful posts about her experiences and all she is learning about herself.

So many of us imagine what it would be like if we could pack up, move on and begin a new kind of life – especially in a beautiful setting such as Tuscany, the south of France or an idyllic island surrounded by Caribbean-blue water. We dream that our struggles, both within and without, would somehow magically drop away and that all would be different - and better.

The reality is that we follow ourselves no matter where we go. We can’t expect a change in lifestyle to make our challenges disappear. But there are times when a new way of life is calling us - and we should heed its call.

When we are able to listen to our own hearts – through prayer, mediation and the like - we can find clarity. We become better at seeing who we really are and what we really want. It might very well be a decision to live a life that's very different from the one we've been leading. If so, we are not escaping a life we are having trouble managing. Instead, we are being led to a life that’s in alignment with our authentic self.

In Dawn’s case, her decision to create a different kind of life came from an understanding that she was not being true to herself. She had never fully identified with being a lawyer. It was her identity to the outside world, but not a personal fit.

Many of us live with an identity that has never felt right to us. It's one that we've developed over time from our interactions with the world, the expectations of others and a desire to feel safe. We're so often afraid to let that old identity go. It’s become a friend and we fear who we would be without it.

A Sailing Regatta Offshore Dawn's Island Home

Dawn writes:

In this Choosing the Better Life blog, I have referred to "inner nudgings" - simply my label for the quiet guidance we all have inside, regardless of what we call it, or what we consider its source. Those inner nudgings are very important to me because - when I listen to them - they have helped guide me toward decisions and actions that have brought so much good and joy to my life. And when I have ignored them, I have paid dearly. I also have found that, for me, those inner nudgings start out quietly.

However, if it is about something significant and I continue to question my "gut instinct" or attempt to downplay, suppress, explain away or otherwise ignore the subtle prompts from inside, those little nudgings eventually turn into something external and equivalent to a baseball bat knocking me upside the head! So, now I prefer to pay attention while they are still quiet little nudgings.

Anyway, I opened my 
Daily Word today and saw such a perfect description of this that I thought I would share it with you:

The spirit of God within me lovingly navigates my way.

A Global Positioning System (GPS) in one's car shows the way to new places, while a friendly, automated voice gives turn-by-turn instructions on how to get to a specific destination. Similarly, we have an internal GPS which we can activate anytime to steer us on our spiritual journey. My internal guidance arises through intuitive prompts, gut instinct and an inner knowing that guides me where I need to be. The voice that speaks to me is the still small voice within, which helps me navigate through any challenges. I listen for Spirit's cues when I am quiet and still, and I confidently follow the prompts to my highest good.

A Bahamian Rainbow

Dawn took a leap of faith. She listened to and trusted her intuition. She didn't expect her new life to be perfect, but she believed it would be a life that was truly hers. And she knew that that would make a difference in how her life felt.

Dawn shares the "old" story of her life and contrasts it with her "new" story:

OLD: I’m tired. I’m overworked. I’m stressed. I don’t have time for friends and fun. I live too far from family. I hate winter. I’m sick – again. I’ve had nothing but heartache in relationships. I’m reeling from emotional trauma. I let others determine how I feel. I’m lonely. My beloved dog is the brightest spot in my day. I’m Type A to the max. Life doesn’t feel as fulfilling as it should. I feel like I’m just marking time.

NEW: Endless sunshine and water views buoy my spirit daily. I enjoy seeing my family more often. I love having time to be happily domestic at home and social with many friends. Deep, steady, solid love fills my heart. I am healthy and rested. I’m content within myself. I’m still highly organized and detail-oriented, but I can go with the flow, too. I take each day as it comes and am open to how the future will unfold. I am thankful for the abundance of good and Grace in my life. I still love my dog but we’re no longer co-dependent. :)

Dawn from Choosing the Better Life

It takes courage to rewrite one's story, but our genuine story is always there just waiting to be embraced. Thanks so much, Dawn, for being such an inspiration. We applaud your openness, your spirit and you desire to make your life the best it can be.


  1. Wow! Thank you so much, Lois and Victoria. I am honored and humbled and amazed by your lovely write-up. It is so wonderful to have "met" you through these shared experiences. Cheers to Choosing your own Better Lives! Dawn

  2. Hi Dawn - it's been so nice getting to know you better. We look forward to reading more about your life! Hugs, Victoria and Lois

  3. Beautiful post. I really like the important distinction you make between choosing a new life as an escape, and choosing a new life as a better expression of one's authentic self.

    I too love Dawn's blog - and I'm so glad to find yours now too! - it's wonderful to see someone listen inwardly to what they really want/need, and take a leap of faith towards living their "true" life.

    1. Thanks so much, Christine! I've enjoyed finding your lovely blog, too! Cheers to your own Better Life, your Brighter Side of Life.

  4. Thanks for your comment Christine. It means alot! Heading over to check out your blog now. Lois