To inhabit a space or a home means that you live there. You have moved in. You’ve taken up residence. When you move into a new home, you explore rooms and you see their potential. You are curious and creative. You engage in nesting, decorate, invite guests over, hangout, and settle in. So what does it mean to inhabit one's life? It might simply be described as being fully present to oneself and the environment. Curiosity and creativity are cultivated. To inhabit might mean that you engage your inner world by noticing what is true for you and sharing that truth with trusted others. The art of presence requires compassionate awareness. This can be challenging when difficult emotions surface. The tendency is to want to change it now, to make it better, to sweep it under the rug and get on with however we think things should be. But in doing so, we miss the opportunity to extend kindness to ourselves. We miss the messages that our psyche is trying to convey. We miss the truth.
Perhaps inhabiting your life means that you give notice to the life you are living that is not yours. Certainly one aspect of inhabiting life would involve examining where in our lives we engage in activities as a way to seek approval from others. Do you say yes when you mean no? Do you acquiesce? Many people equate yes with love. If you say no, it must mean you don’t love me. It is important that we learn to separate yes and no from the concept of love. No is just no, and maybe even a way to engage in boundaries and self-love.
We are riveted by the stories told by people who broke the mold created by parents who unconsciously attempted to live vicariously through their children. The chef whose father wanted him to be an attorney; the bank executive whose parents pushed her to find a good man and have children; the florist who was told, "You will never make a dime doing that!" Parents are not the only influential sources of derailment. Siblings, teachers, colleagues, or any people with strong opinions might be counted among those who might create an agenda for us and try to steer our lives. It takes courage to inhabit one's life. One must be brave to break the mold, stand up and say, "This is who I am!." I believe that it is far more common to settle for less than to go out on a limb. There is no doubt that inhabiting one's life involves risk, trust, and faith.