Note: This is a guest post by Danae Smith of This Wondrous Life.
It was the summer of 2014 when I realized how outside of my life I felt. I did the motions but I wasn’t showing up to my life. I wasn’t aware or intentional. I wasn’t clear on what I valued and I surely did not have any boundaries or intentions to protect what mattered.
It took a moment of realization— listening to OneRepublic’s I Lived that this wasn’t what I wanted out of life. I wanted to live intentionally. I wanted to show up to my life in the middle of the mundane.
Have you ever felt like that? Outside of your life? Like your life is happening but you aren’t really part of it? More like life is happening to you versus you happening to life?
Maybe you’re reading this and that’s where you are. I get it. I’ve been there. We live in a time where we are daily inundated with so many options, opinions, and ideals. It is easy to get lost in the swirl, to be swallowed up by all the noise.
Even so, I want you to know it is possible to show up to your daily life. It’s possible in this overly saturated culture to be aware and intentional with what’s in front of you. It is possible to tune out all the noise and take care of what matters to you and to use what you have.
We can do this by making the decision to show up to our daily life, identifying what matters to us— our values and convictions, and by setting clear boundaries and intentions that honor and protect what matters to us.
Before we get into the how, let’s first define what it means to show up to our daily life.
Showing up to our daily life is just that: showing up. I believe it means to be aware and intentional. It’s being mindful and present with each moment, opportunity and/or experience. It’s slowing down and not rushing on to the next thing be that a to-do list or life achievement. Showing up to our daily life is all about giving ourselves permission to linger and be still.
Bottom line: showing up to our daily life means to live aware and intentionally. It’s slowing down long enough to linger in a given moment and to see the beauty in what we already have.
Now, why does it matter that we show up— that we are aware and intentional with our daily life?
It matters for a lot of reasons, one being that our daily life is where we happen. It’s where we make choices and set boundaries. It’s where our character and convictions are chiseled and molded. It’s where we learn and unlearn habits.
Our daily life is a fertile ground. It is fertile ground for us to steward what we have with intention. It is fertile ground for growth and discovery, healing and releasing. It’s where dreams can unfold and be discovered. It’s where—through our choices, habits, convictions, and character— we build the life we desire.
Bottom line: Showing up to our daily life matters because it’s the fertile ground where we happen. It’s where we grow, learn, unlearn, and make choices that help us build the life we desire.
Okay, we have an understanding of what it means to show up to our daily life and why it matters. Now, let’s talk about how we can show up to our daily life.
To start, we first need to make the decision. As with anything, showing up to your daily life— living aware and intentionally starts with a decision. You have to make the choice to no longer be a passive participant in your life, but to be an active, aware, and connected player.
Next, we need to identify what matters to us. We need to ask ourselves: what are our values and convictions? Once we’ve decided to show up to our daily life, it’s important to know what our values and convictions are because they will often serve as a compass— a guide as we maneuver through our day to day. Also, when you know your values and convictions, you know what you will get your yes and no. You know what you will and won’t give your attention and energy.
For example, if you have a value and conviction for being present, then you will give your yes to practices that help you be present. You will give your attention and energy to being more aware in the simple moments like standing in a grocery line or preparing dinner. You will give your no to the habits that go against this value and conviction.
Lastly, when we’ve made the decision to show up and have identified what matters to us, we can set clear boundaries and intentions that protect and honor our yes to showing up.
Having clear boundaries and intentions is important in every area of life including showing up intentionally. Boundaries and intentions help protect and keep what matters in the forefront. They help us honor what we’ve given our yes and no to. Boundaries and intentions also say to ourselves and those around us that this area of my life matters and is important.
For example, if I say that connecting with my family and friends is a value I have, and a deep conviction of mine is to be present with them, then a possible boundary I may set for myself is putting my phone on do not disturb or silent when I’m with friends or family. Another boundary could be keeping my phone in my purse or in another room.
Bottom line: However it may look, showing up to our daily lives starts with a decision, clarity on what our values and convictions are and setting boundaries and intentions that honor and protect showing up to our daily lives.
We are bombarded daily with so many options, opinions and ideals. Showing up to our daily life can be challenging but it is possible. It is possible to live aware of and be intentional with the life we have. When we do, we are able to see more clearly what matters to us. We are able to identify what we do and do not need from our mental space to our living space.
Showing up to our daily life helps us live more slowly and simply because we are no longer bystanders. When we make the decision to show up to our daily life— to live aware and intentionally, we are no longer letting ourselves be defined or swayed by trends and societal expectations. Rather, we set the standard. We define the boundaries and intentions. We become active participants in creating the life we desire.
Danae Smith is the founder of This Wondrous Life, a lifestyle blog rooted in pursuing a life lived simply, slowly, and with community. She believes there is more to the mundane than meets the eye. You can also find her on Instagram.