An Opportunity to Start Again

I’ve gone a year without practicing mindfulness. In the back of mind I felt that I’ve built up a mindfulness muscle, therefore, I should be able to coast for a short while. Before I knew it that short while became a year.

Something I say a lot, but yet, I myself wasn’t following is this:

It’s essential to practice mindfulness when times are good equipping you to have the strength and habits in place for when times get tough. Tweet that

Over the past five months I’ve felt tension and pain creep into my chest. The kind of pain that led me to creating the Unless You Care project in the first place.

I became lost in the busyness of life. Transitioning to two children turned out to be harder than I had ever anticipated. I was in survival mode. My intentional actions got put on the back burner. Meditating came to a complete halt. Writing trickled off. Getting up early to journal and reflect was sporadic.

As the intentional actions began to fade from my daily routine, my ego began to take notice, grinning with excitement. It soon would seize its opportunity as I became weak with my commitment for feeding my self growth journey.

Shame and self-judgement had taken over

Having this all to familiar pain resurface took me down a path of negative self-judgement. I thought I had failed. I felt guilt for how far I’ve come in my self growth journey and to find myself back at the starting blocks.

I felt ashamed for just giving up the intentional actions that had provided such inner peace and joy once before. Deep down I was resisting, trying to avoid the work.

My first reaction to all of this was, “it’s too late, I’m back to square one”.

The beautiful thing about awakening towards intentional living and self growth is that at times the mindfulness muscle might become weak, the memory, however, is ever so present. You just might need to dust it off.

I started to remember the path I had taken once before; the pain that was felt out of the gates and then the feeling of liberation felt during the beautiful journey.

I remembered how I wanted to feel and that I had complete control over it, if I was willing to put in the work. It was time to reckon with the struggle.

Get back to the basics and start again

It’s simple, I needed to start taking care of myself first; spiritually, emotionally and physically. The stillness and quiet had to be part of my life once again.

The irony of all of this is that in the back in my mind I knew each and every day that I wasn’t instilling my intentional actions towards self growth, I was taking a step back. But yet, I let it happen. I let the busyness of my day succumb my self growth. A habit of neglection and laziness was forming.

In order to move forward, I had to accept all of this. Sometimes we fail and get off track. It’s no longer looking at the lapse of commitment and work as a failure, instead, an opportunity to start again. This sudden shift in mindset for how I saw my struggle grew a deep sense of curiosity within me.

A new curiosity grew about what was happening

I started to listen to the pain and the struggles that were surfacing. Instead of dwelling in the darkness, I realized these were life’s whispers. They grew louder the more aware I became of them. Clarity formed the more I grew curious about them.

I started asking myself different kinds of questions. What does this mean? Where is it coming from? Is there a pivot in my future? Is it in the short term or long term? Am I too comfortable with where I am? Should there be adventure on the horizon? Is risk and uncertainty begging for my attention?

Exploring this curiosity led me back to the quiet and stillness where I once again am becoming one with myself. It’s a breathe of fresh air. I’ve missed the sights and sounds that accompany these travels (along with the struggles).

Life’s simple, we make it complicated

We all have it within us, though, we suffocate it with busyness. We focus on the outer world without ever paying any kinds of attention to our inner world.

Understand that life is a bunch of ups and downs, successes and failures, happiness and sadness, joy and pain. The foundation in getting through these seasons is taking care of yourself first. It’s traveling a journey of intentional self growth.

I am grateful for the pain I’ve recently experienced, much like the first dark period that led me to this path of intentional living. Its reminded me that the down periods of our lives aren’t ever going away.

There will always be a storm that rolls in pushing you off the mountain tops. But dammit, face it head on. Accept that there are dark clouds and reckon with it. Get insanely curious and leverage the foundation that you’ve established with your intentional actions.

It’s hard, sometimes, when you’re in the thick of things, but putting in the work to push through to the other side is so liberating. It’s the only place where self growth ever happens.

Join me and let’s keep moving forward with a journey of intentional self growth together.

It’s Here! The Unless You Care manifesto print is now available—designed for personal change. Order yours today!

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About Eric Ungs

Eric Ungs writes about a journey of intentional self growth, nudging you to let go; to give yourself permission to be vulnerable and honest with yourself so you can give your best self to others. Author of 10 Incredible Ways to Live a Fulfilling and Joyful Life ebook.


  1. this happened to me recently, as well. and i am know learning how to take care of myself first,so i feel i deserve to live in an intentional way. but, sometimes it’s even difficult to realize that i deserve some time alone. thank you for the wonderful article!

  2. JB

    Eric… Keep writing. Keep sharing. There’s more to share, and we’re listening.

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