“I feel like a slug.” “My life is one thing after another.” “I’m too tired to care.” “Is this all there is?”
Up until a few years ago this used to be my thought loop. I pre-imagined and post-analyzed most moments as a disaster until my perspective changed.
I’m a life voyeur; I was raised by parents who didn’t model an example worthy of emulating. Early on, I determined there are people who get this existence game and live it in a way that appears fun and exhilarating.
Here are a few of my observations, mixed with exercises I use to plug myself into the life conduit:
1) Life isn’t exhausting, but how we live can be.
2) Own the entirety of life.
Avoidance syphons off “go juice.” Not remembering much of my childhood sent me into PTSD rages, and I lost big chunks of every day in shoulda-woulda-coulda jail.
Face what is and accept. Compartmentalizing the ugly from the beautiful is a waste of this experience. All events are aspects of the whole. Our bodies know this, which is why they helpfully dog-ear the information in hurt and disfunction, but at a critical cost to life expectancy and joy.
I went to a therapist trained in EMDR (Eye Movement, Desensitization and Recovery), to re-experience my childhood. There are not enough all caps or emoji’s to quantify the value of owning what already happened.
3) No one likes everyone.
Breathing isn’t meant to be about doing it the same way to get along with the crowd. Get along with yourself.
4) Dance naked in front of a full-length mirror as often as possible.
All our jiggling parts are funny and endearing, not ugly or deformed. We’re walking, talking jelly fish. Enjoy the view.
5) No means no.
If an answer is no, own it. No is no. No is a great word; toddlers worship it for good reason. Other than “I don’t want to,” no needs no other addendum.
6) No means no on both sides of the equation.
Grumble-mumble if necessary, but in the end accept. Fighting to the death is an overused phrase for a reason.
7) Become an “I’m sorry” pro.
A good “I’m sorry” is the antidote to hatred. When I screw up (which is a fairly regular occurrence), I’ve taken to owning it with “Yup. I messed up. I’m sorry.”
There ought to be a how-to “I’m sorry” class in kindergarten, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and twelfth grade—and a mandatory one for company CEOs, politicians and anyone who gives birth.
8) Tell the truth to yourself.
This is huge. Don’t do the thing, do the thing, love the thing, avoid the thing, hate the thing, be addicted to the thing—just own the truth. Have awareness of the whys. Internally lying is a waste of fuel.
9) Puppy piles and baby slobber.
Seek them out. Volunteer at a shelter, beg to be notified if a litter of pups arrives, ask a mom to let their baby drool down the back of your shirt.
Dogs and babies love life. Included on my top-10-best-moments list: eight puppies stumble-mauled me, and my twins fell asleep in a milky-mustache puddle on my chest.
10) Make friends with a tree.
You read that right. Pick a tree out of the forest and introduce yourself. Have lunch together, discuss the ramifications of deforesting and climate change. A tree has an opinion on everything. They’re full of ideas about how human’s live or don’t really live.
I’ve had several incredibly in-depth conversations with trees about how silly most things are and that it’s all a matter of choosing perspective. A tree doesn’t get in a snit because a squirrel takes up residence in a hole made by a lightning strike, even though over time the hole could bring disease. And as for the lightning, the tree never views itself as a fire bomb target.
11) The answer to the question “Is this all there is?”
Yes. On this day, in this minute, in this body, this is all there is.
We choose our perspective, not all our circumstances. A tree doesn’t choose a drought, encroaching disease or the circumstances of where it rooted; a tree only chooses to raise its limbs to the sky anyway.
Author: Deb Lecos
Editor: Toby Israel