Use your desire to reclaim your path

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Last autumn, I wrote about the process of returning to yourself, using the story of "Sealskin, Soulskin" from Women Who Run with the Wolves. You can read it here.

Regardless of whether you were around here at that point, it's worth a read (or a re-read).

You see, returning to yourself is a concept that underpins everything I write about for Project Intention.

I wholeheartedly believe that you are wild, but that some forces have stripped you of your teeth and your furs.

Those forces are not necessarily malicious; they are expectations you have internalized from moving through the world over time. They are undercurrents that tell you to behave a certain way will be advantageous and another would be social exclusion.

Like wolves, like seals, humans are social creatures, so we want to avoid exclusion. Not having access to a pack means we may forfeit our survival.

The difficulty is that over time most of us realize that those societal expectations have not led us to be nearly as prosperous as we were originally been led to believe.

You have to really question: "Are these norms doing more than basic survival for me? Am I actually thriving?"

The process of returning to yourself, of slipping back into your skin, is moving from a place of fear and self-suppression to openness and self acceptance.

Openness allows you to see that the world isn't black and white. You will not get flogged if you are more openly yourself. Self acceptance removes judgment from the way you move through the world.

So how do you do that?

First off, returning a cyclical process. We are in a constant ebb and flow of operating based on learned expectations and reclaiming our own movement for ourselves. There is no moment in which you "arrive" fully actualized.

But the cycle does get smaller over time, the more often you choose yourself over imposed expectations.

The main way to return is simple. So simple, I dare say you may not believe me when I say it.

Ask yourself, "What do I want?" and truly listen to the answer.

That's it.

Ask yourself and then really live in that space. Write or speak out all of the answers that come to mind and expand on the possibility of each facet. When I say live in this space, I mean create a full sensory picture for yourself.

What does it look like? What smells can you sense from the surroundings? Who is there with you.

Swipe aside each doubt and fear that comes up—because fears will come up. Any time you swim in the ocean of possibility, your inner critic will bare its teeth and let its presence be known.

But you don't have to worry about this inner critic right now. You are safely encased in this moment of exploration.

Build on each sensory aspect of what you want, and stay in this space until it feels so real you can taste it on the tip of your tongue.

Get so fully into what you want, that it feels impossible not to pursue, devastating to let go of and also completely inevitable that you will get it.

Don't worry about the "how." That will come with time, the more often you return to what it is you truly want.

You don't need a step-by-step action plan. What you need is space to expand into.

That is what returning to yourself feels like: expansion, owning more of your greatness, being scared shitless and trusting that you are capable and the answers will naturally unfold.

Set aside some time to do this exercise. Either do it right now or schedule a non-negotiable time to do it. Get comfortable, and be completely honest with yourself.

What do you want?

Pull on your soulskin and open to possibility.

Iris Rankin

Soulful questioner, exuberant organizer, here to find the balance between discipline and delicious relaxation. Iris Rankin is the founder of Project Intention, a values-based community focused on living day-to-day with purpose, planning, and heart. Iris encourages women to adopt the self care practices that make them feel divine, the planning tools to hone in on their essential wants and needs, and the emotional resilience to express their most authentic selves.

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