For when you don't even know what it is you want

I've been feeling a little lost this year, to be honest.

Nothing dramatic, but just ... unsure, and the strange feeling has been that I'm unsure of what I want. Of what I want to be, to do, to have, unsure of what I'm aiming for, or what my goals are.

And that in itself is what's making me feel a little lost as I'm usually very sure of my goals, no matter how often, how much they change - that's all fine - but I know what they are.

And I like to feel decisive as well, I like to feel sure - it's a combination that makes me feel good - feeling very sure, but at the same time very open to changing what it is I'm feeling sure about.

But for most of this year ... I don't know.

And now, sitting here on yet another gorgeous hot summer day, over the last couple of days of yet more gorgeous hot summer days ... I've come to realise something.

What I've been doing is fighting that feeling and willing myself, demanding of myself to just do it ... just DECIDE something, set a goal, anything - but just decide!

I kept trying - YEAH NOW I KNOW - I said time and time again.

I kept trying ... and I kept lying.

I didn't know.

It hasn't felt great and I've wrestled with it - how this TRYING and not somehow finding it makes me feel weak and indecisive and slow ...

I've blamed my indecision and lacklustre-ness for putting on a few pounds, for sleeping more, for writing less, creating less ... for FEELING less.

Last Friday I kind of got hit round the head (in a good way!) - with looking at it the other way round.

TWO clear messages in one day, when I'm ready to hear them - oh yes, I hear you!

First, there was the quote that morning on my Chrome Momentum - I can't actually remember it now and didn't take a note of it, which I find interesting in itself - it's like I GOT the message I needed to hear and didn't need to keep the message itself.

Later that day I read an email from James Altucher (sometimes I read his emails, sometimes I don't, so I know this one I was meant to) and it was all about his daily practices. Oh, and I just went back to find the email and I can't ... so seems again, the message is that which I GOT from it, not his message in and of itself.

Ah, but also trusting myself - not checking back what it was I saw and read, trusting in what I learned and realised. I'm pretty sure his email was about NOT having goals but having processes.

These two messages, in one day, and I feel like I've stumbled across something totally new for me - that it's not always having a goal, deciding to achieve it, eyes on the horizon and one foot in front of the other.


Sometimes, it's not knowing but trusting in the practice.

Sometimes it's feeling lost, but choosing the process.

And so I used his framework to journal around what my own practices are ... for my Physical, Emotional, Mental and Spiritual habits.

My own framework, my processes, that I trust if I (in the main) follow, then I will find my own path through, and that doing this is ENOUGH, in and of itself, it's enough - and I'm open to where it takes me and what it shows me.

There are goals and adventures all around me that I'm not even aware of and I'm trusting that trusting in the process (and I can change my processes at any time of course) .. will open up something exciting and magical ... goals will be met and dreams realised that I didn't even know I had.

Turning it on its head feels good and it's also immediately stopped me feeling lost.

I KNOW again what I'm doing and what I'm doing is NOT setting a goal, an outcome, a dream ... not right now.

Right now, I'm choosing my practices, processes, habits.

THESE are mine ... what are yours?

PHYSICAL: walk 10k steps a day - make time for my beloved yoga  - choose good food that nurtures and nourishes me and is aligned with where I am with choosing my happy weight - sleep around 11pm most nights.

I'm also going to be creating my dream body, step by tiny step, choice by tiny choice and choosing to WORK ON IT.

EMOTIONAL: cut out negative people who drag me down -spend time with and help those I love - be wholehearted - love myself in the same way - never feel I need to explain - I owe no-one an explanation.

MENTAL: journaling - write down 10 ideas a day - use my Duolingo app and keep learning a language - read something inspiring or do some of a course I'm taking or go back to something I've taken I'd like to go through again.

SPIRITUAL: meditation (keep using my Daily Calm) - read and learn more about Buddha's teachings and about philosophy - gratitude and forgiveness practice.

I'm feeling the best I've felt in a long while now that weight is off my shoulders of feeling I don't KNOW where I'm going or doing or what I want!

I choose to DO those things that make me feel great and see what comes up.

Everything will change again I know, but for now, this feels good - and freeing, and new. I'm interested to see what happens and what new ideas are now able to come to the surface.


It's not exactly 'right' ... but it's not a mistake either


These photos ...  are of my first attempt at mini choc-ices.

Rachel Redlaw choc ices
Rachel Redlaw choc ices

And I could say the recipe experiment wasn't a success ... but it was.

You can't be good at anything without trial and error and trying and making 'mistakes' and learning and refining.

The MOST important lesson in the world I think is to just start.

Give it a go. START. Just have a go.

No, you won't be brilliant at anything new straight away but you can't get from A-Z without going through the other letters first.

So, my first go at mini choc ices.  I made lime ice cream and melted chilli chocolate. And I knew it wasn't working right and I can see so clearly now - from having had a go - what I'll do differently next time and can see how it'll work.

Like many things - I over-complicated it a bit. No need for the ice cube tray palaver - freezing the ice cream in a thinner layer on a baking tray is going to be a better idea next time.

And I'm very confident in these being good the next time I make them!

And sometimes ... you learn that what you're trying to force into being just doesn't work.

Rachel Redlaw rice balls

I've now tried four or five times to make a Thai-style version of arrancini ... and I haven't made it work yet.

I've tried red curry ones, fried rice ones, holy basil and chilli ones.

Dipped them in egg, in flour, cooked with egg, covered in breadcrumbs.  

I do suspect arrancini work because of risotto rice and mozzarella ... But I might keep trying as I can see them so clearly in my head! Maybe sticky rice is the answer?

Ok, scrap that 'learning some things don't work'.

Never give up ... do the work until it works ...

These are not 'mistakes'; they're just part of the discovery + learning + creating.


All the blog posts ... (that I didn't write)

You know how it is.  Ideas just come. All the time, but sometimes insistently. Like it wants YOU to do something with it.

And when an idea grabs me and asks to be written - sometimes although love the idea I don't have time or inclination, or it's not possible right then.  Sometimes I walk round the park with the dog whilst saying the whole post out loud just exactly as it in that moment comes into my head.

And sometimes I get home and write it.

And other times I write down a quick heading in my draft blogs to remind me what it was and so I can go back to it later.

I've just checked and there's over 20 headings in that draft folder including .... this very one ... 

Rachel Redlaw all the blog posts

And actually, for me - and for most of us, I believe, it's quite unusual to come back to an idea.

So often we have an idea, leave it for later and life and stuff gets in the way and we don't do it.

When we come back to it - MUCH later - the moment's passed and the inspiration's gone.  Yes, the idea's still good, but that free-flowing oh-I-can-hardly-type-fast-enough-to-get-my-thoughts-out has kind of gone.

When I read Big Magic (and saw Liz GIlbert speak on her Big Magic speaking tour last November), this was one of my favourite ideas - that ideas themselves are sort of alive and flying around looking for someone to bring them to life.  

And they settle on you, and you're all, 'YEAH this is a FAB idea', ... but if you don't do it, don't write it or sing it or whatever it is you wanted to do with it ... then the idea's going to fly off and find someone else as its vehicle for expression.

I really liked this! It gave an explanation to what happens to me all the time.

Personally, I have lots and lots of ideas every single day.  And the reason my tally of unwritten blogs hasn't actually increased since I first had the idea to write about it is because I now know I'm not going to 'run out' of ideas.

Ideas come every day. Some I'll jump on and I just can't NOT write them.  

Others I love but ... honestly, I know I'm not going to do.

And now, instead of writing them down as draft blog headings - and adding sub-consciously to that never-done 'to do' list - I let them go. (So much more freeing for us both).

They might come back. Our timings might coincide and collide again. 

But I don't try and keep them as 'mine', mine to come back to another time.  Usually both my energy and the idea itself are feeling stale and like a chore by then.

I let them go. 

I have no concerns at all that I won't have a million more live ideas tomorrow, and the next day.

And sometimes, well, infrequently, but like right now ... this idea came back to me and said, very loudly, 'GET OFF THE SOFA, PUT YOUR GLASS OF WINE ON THE TABLE, GET THE LAPTOP OUT, AND WRITE ME. NOW'.

And so I did.

And here this idea is - wanting to be seen and heard. 

Use them, lose them, let them go. They need to be heard but not always through you.

And you, you will ALWAYS have more ideas.

PS. Every time I thought, 'All the blog posts', I sing it in my head to Kylie's 'All the Lovers'.

And I love that song, so hey :) 

PPS. That happens to me a LOT. Like, when I'm on a bus and it goes round Marble Arch and I think, 'Rach, just ONCE, just once DON'T think 'Cumberland Sausage Gate' and THEN I see the road sign and it says 'Cumberland Gate' - and too late; I've already thought NOT to think about it again ...