What makes you Feel Alive?
“The mystery of life isn’t a problem to solve, but a reality to experience.”
― Frank Herbert
How many times do we find ourselves thinking “I will be happy only when I will have this job, this house or find the one”?
But running only after end goals is like chasing a carrot on a stick.
It’s not that we never get what we want, but we spend the majority of time struggling to get there. When we reach our goal – the satisfaction is short lived, and we find ourselves chasing the next best thing.
This is not to say that we should never want things, but to shift the focus of our actions from strictly getting the result to actually enjoying the journey. Yes, I know it’s easier said than done.
However there are people who do all that work and fully enjoy every minute of it.
It’s not a magic trick or something that just happened overnight by eliminating “negative thoughts” and cultivating “abundance” or pretending they are already in the place they want to be. That is simply living in a delusion.
Everyone has a different journey, but here are a few landmarks on the way to enjoy what we do every day:
Without accepting where we are, we have no starting point.
To see ourselves objectively, we need to look beyond the “good” and “bad” traits of our inner critic. It’s more like looking at ourselves with the curiosity and compassion we have for a new friend. We need to step outside of our canvas to see the painting.
Sometimes people describe self acceptance as self love.
Self love starts with simply not rejecting or condemning ourselves for random reasons.
Acceptance will give us the power to choose what we really want, guilt free. This leads to the next step…
Leaving guilt and prejudice behind, we can start to make changes.
However this change never happens in a quick dramatic move – simply because our body and nervous system is not prepared for what is coming and will reject the change.
Preparing for the change starts with small actions. Similar to going to the gym – the body cannot lift 100kg from the beginning. It takes gradual training, like waking up one minute earlier, walking 10 more meters every day, adding one more healthy ingredient to every meal. The strategy is to become just a little better than who we were yesterday until the accumulated actions build the momentum to take the big step when the time comes.
Gradual training allows us to do things we have not done before. To be able to sustain those actions and not burn out or lose motivation – we need to enjoy what we do.
We are wired to seek out what feels good and avoid what hurts or feels bad. If we don’t enjoy the process it will not last – sooner or later we will give up.
So how do we make the process more enjoyable?
First we need to make sure we do not block the flow of emotions.
Yes, we block our emotions more often than we realize. Each time we have a free moment, we take the phone out and start scrolling, or go to the fridge when we are not hungry, or we keep busy with work all the time or smoke a cigarette every 30 minutes.
Each time a challenging emotion comes up, we distract ourselves, block the feeling and pretend nothing happened.
The moment we close the feeling door – we close it to everything. There are no half measures here.
When we slam the door to the outside world, we lose the joy of discovering new things. Life can become a repetitive loop. Nothing feels alive anymore. It’s like watching things happening behind a glass coffin.
To escape the dead zone, the feeling door needs to open.
Meditation is one way to stop the distractions, but it’s not working for everyone.
For some people, solitude is a way to avoid difficult emotions because it feels like a break from stimuli that stir anxious reactions. For others, solitary confinement will help them sit with uncomfortable feelings.
There is no one method for everyone – just notice what your body does to numb the feelings.
To open the door to the flow of life could be as simple as disabling the notifications on your phone and setting distraction-free times during the day.
It could be reducing the random snacks or smoke breaks or anything that can be achieved without much effort.
As you gain this distraction-free time, enjoyment will start to show up. You can increase the odds by exploring new places and situations outside your normal routine.
This doesn’t mean going on a trip around the world or moving to a different city. Small changes can go a long way when we open up to life around us.