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Deep Living: The Key To A Life Of Purpose & Fulfilment
Have you been searching for your life purpose? Or yearn to connect more deeply with what matters? Want to know what it takes to live a good life? Then you’re in the right place.
In this post we’ll be uncovering exactly what Deep Living is and why it’s the key to greater purpose, meaning and fulfilment in your life.
- what Deep Living is (and isn’t) and why it matters;
- the four stages of Deep Living and how you can move through them;
- a range of tools and strategies to support your growth;
- plus some extra resources to inspire your journey.
You may want to bookmark this post so you can return to it again and again.
Let’s dive in.
What is Deep Living (and Why Does it Matter)?
Rather than define Deep Living, it’s probably easier to define the opposite.
It’s easy to intuit what a shallow life is.
Shallow Living is the weight of trying to live up to other people's expectations. Being inauthentic. The distractions and performative nature of social media. Hustle. Flex culture. Superficial relationships. The blight of consumerism, environmental destruction and waste. A lack of self reflection.
Ultimately? Shallow Living is defined by doing things that don’t matter.
It’s anything that prevents you from living an authentic, deep and meaningful life for yourself.
Which means that by contrast, Deep Living is a life of purpose, meaning and fulfilment.
Deep Living is powered by:
- balancing action with rest
- practicing presence and gratitude
- crafting a kit of supportive tools and habits
- soothing the nervous system and building resilience
- spending time in nature and connecting with loved ones
- dismantling systems of oppression through social justice
- becoming authentic, altruistic, integrated and transcendent
Essentially? The goal of Deep Living is to become more and more you. It’s about thriving in your own purpose, no matter what others think. And then using that purpose to serve.
It’s about tuning in to the values, desires and callings that you crave, need and love. It’s about defining what matters to you. And then having the courage and resilience to live that life.
So why does Deep Living matter?
Because society is full of shallow distractions that are hurting the planet, ourselves and each other.
We need to turn to sustainable values, inner wisdom, healing and calm. So we can evolve beyond trauma, hostility and excess consumerism.
So we can solve the multiple crises facing humanity today and access more joy, justice and belonging. For all.
Is Deep Living Selfish?
Have you ever met someone that was living a life that mattered. Did they seem selfish? Or did they seem kind, generous and empathic?
Many people who are living a deep and meaningful life are often altruistic.
Because the more connected to your values you are, the more authentic you are. The more authentic you are? The less self conscious you are. And the less self conscious you are, the more you can serve others from a place of genuine love.
Which means that Deep Living isn’t selfish at all.
In fact, Deep Living is a crucial factor in achieving transcendence: the awe-inspiring experiences where you feel connected to something larger than yourself.
Transcendence isn’t necessarily a spiritual experience.
You could feel it when you become involved in a local neighbourhood project - like building a community garden. Or when you work towards your bold vision of a better world - like curing the world of infectious diseases.
You might feel transcendent when you share your hard-earned wisdom with others. Or it could be while communing with the majesty of nature.
While you may feel elevated emotions such as belonging, awe, joy and fulfilment - transcendence is ultimately a shift in focus from the self to others.
What Else Deep Living Is Not
- Deep Living Is Not All About You
Social justice is at the heart of Deep Living. Healing cannot happen in a vacuum. And healing is for everyone. Which means we cannot ignore the systems of oppression that make life harder for marginalised people.
- Deep Living Is Not About Perfection
Living deeply requires challenging the status quo. And that usually means things get messy. Deep Living requires vulnerability, authenticity, and self compassion. It's about learning to embrace the ordinary, imperfect moments and savour your journey. There are no guidelines or rules. Your deep life isn't better or worse than anyone else's. It's a quiet beckoning towards what matters to you.
- Deep Living Is Not About A Grand Life Potential
Maybe what matters to you right now is healing from trauma. Volunteering at your local charity. Or raising your children with presence and love. Perhaps it's about embracing the ordinary. Or creating art that is meaningful to you. As writer Ephrat Livni says, “For a life to be valuable, or meaningful, it needn’t be unique.”
How To Embrace Deep Living
There are four general stages to Deep Living. Each stage calls for different tools and supportive strategies so you can grow with purpose, meaning and fulfilment.
Of course, life is rarely as linear as we would prefer. What works in one stage of Deep Living could easily work in any other. There is often overlap.
But laying out these stages may help you recognise where you’re at. And this understanding could give you insight on how to move forward.
Stage 1: Lost and Lonely
The Shallow Life weighs you down. Because you’re wearing the weight of other people’s expectations. It can be isolating, miserable and soul destroying.
If you feel trapped, lonely, anxious or disconnected - chances are you are stuck in the shallows.
The good news? There is more to life than this. And the best way forward is to reach out for help.
Supportive strategies for growth include:
- Finding a trauma informed therapist
- Beginning a yoga or breathwork practice
- Journaling to connect with your inner self
- Soothing the nervous system with meditones
- Watching comedy or belly laughing with friends
- Writing down 3 things you’re grateful for each day
- Spending time in nature
These things will help you find the courage to live as your true self. Instead of hiding who you are or living for other people, you’ll start to feel more calm and free.
Stage 2: Healing and Hopeful
Now that you’ve started exploring therapy and soothing tools, you’re ready for more. You’re feeling relief from your anxiety. You’ve got hope for the future.
You know you feel better when you stick to your self care routine, but you get frustrated that you can’t seem to make it stick.
Supportive strategies for growth include:
- Keeping small daily promises to yourself
- Tracking your self care habits and celebrating your wins
- Journaling your progress (you’re further along than you think)
- Surrounding yourself with nourishing relationships
- Reading books or listening to podcasts for self-development
- Practicing compassion for yourself when you slip or make a mistake
These things will help you tune into your own wisdom and let go of what other people think. A deep self love will sustain you.
Stage 3: Empowered Empathy
You’ve ritualised your self care. You know who you are and what lights you up. You’re feeling more present, more authentic and whole.
All the healing work you’ve done has truly paid off. And now you’re tuning into a deeper calling.
Perhaps you have leadership aspirations within your community. Or you’d like to help others on their healing journey. Perhaps you’d like to help people grow their own food, or teach kids how to meditate.
Either way, you’re feeling ready to be of service and to start playing big.
Supportive strategies for growth include:
- Learning about the impacts of colonialism and systemic discrimination
- Recognising that all systems of oppression are interconnected and upheld via the status quo (eg kyriarchy, intersectionality)
- Appreciating the different privileges you may hold
- Understanding what it means to be a good ally for marginalised communities
- Investigating new ways of living that are removed from capitalism such as zero waste, capsule wardrobes, and minimalism
- Seeking out and listening to diverse voices
- Becoming trauma-informed
All this will help you better understand the world and your place in it. It will deepen your efforts greatly when you move into a position of leadership, community building, or entrepreneurship.
Even if you have no desire to create a business, understanding social justice issues will grow you as a person. You’ll be more empathic, compassionate, and aware.
Stage 4: Authentic Altruist
Even though life gets difficult at times, you’ve nailed all the tools and strategies that help you get unstuck. You feel liberated, worthy and resilient.
You are a home to yourself. And now? You’re all in on the deep life.
You’ve quit social media. You’re researching urban gardening and how to do a “no-buy-month”. You’re nourished by creativity.
You regularly connect deeply with your loved ones. You’re actively involved in the social justice movements that matter to you.
The status quo holds no sway. You have the courage to live your values, even when they don’t fit in. You know it’s okay to be different and you’re proud of who you are.
Whilst it would seem like this is the final destination for Deep Living, it’s important to remember that growth is not linear.
Maintaining your awareness now is a vital antidote to the loud distractions of the world.
Supportive strategies that help to support you to be an Authentic Altruist include:
- Embodiment or somatic practices like Feldenkrais
- Deeper meditation or using longer meditones tracks
- Finding magic in the mundane
Resources for Deep Living
- Seekers’ Sanctuary: Deep Living Series (starting 25 March)
- On Being with Krista Tippett
- One Wild Ride with Pru Chapman
- Good Life Project with Jonathan Fields
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