What fires you up? What makes the difference between a mundane life and an extraordinary one? Is it being born into a perfectly functional family with unlimited funds and not a hint of illness, stressors, or strife? I don’t think so…at least I hope not as I imagine that such a family doesn’t even exist, or it is an endangered species anyway!
No, I prefer to believe that what separates those who embrace their life with gusto and those that are just trying to get through the next “thing” (you know them…if I can just get through this next week, this next project, until the kids get older, until my mother is healthy, until I get the next promotion…) comes from within and has very little to do with what is going on in their external reality.
You may have already seen this clip: http://youtu.be/qR3rK0kZFkg of a little girl who is singing into the mirror in her pajamas about how amazing her life is. Listen to what she is listing…it is the simplest of pleasures and the people that she loves the most. I love my hair. I love my pajamas. I love my family.
Now this little Jessica in the clip may be “over the top,” as my kids would say, but her enthusiasm for life is contagious. In fact, “enthusiasm” originally meant inspiration by the presence of a god or the god within, and she certainly has that.
Am I sometimes “over the top?” Again, if you ask my boys, they would answer with a resounding “YES!” I sing and dance in the kitchen. I make my clients laugh. I’m not afraid to release the “goddess within” and be silly because it makes me feel good and it makes the people around me smile. Did you know that children, on average, smile 350 times a day and adults smile 15???? That is a horrible ratio. So, what can we do to change that (not by reducing the children’s smiles, but by increasing ours)?
You could try standing on your bathroom sink in your pajamas and sing about all the things for which you are grateful. However, if you then fall and break your ankle, you may feel less grateful. So, start on the ground. Sit in a comfortable chair and take out a brand new journal, notebook, or pad of paper. Write today’s date and the words “I am grateful for” and number 1-5. Quickly, without hesitation, write the first 5 things that come to mind. For instance, I started today with:
I am grateful for:
- Mark, Timmy, Jack
- My awesome clients
- Seeing Timmy and Mark and my Mom this weekend
- My friends who make me laugh
- A healthy body
See? Simple. Try to take one minute every day and do this exercise. It does NOT change any external stressors or factors in your life that are causing you strife. However, it does remind you that you do have good things in your life. All is not lost. Everything is not a disaster. There is hope around you.
Then, later, write down the things that are bothering you specifically. Is it your house? Your job? Your relationship? The economy? Your health? Your family? Write the issue down and what you can do to make some progress in the next week. Can you schedule a doctor’s appointment? Make plans to walk with a friend to talk about everything? Taking some action that might take you closer to a resolution often makes you feel a bit more in control about that issue even if it can’t be solved right now. Occasionally there is nothing that can be done immediately. Then you will write: I can’t solve this right now, but I know that ultimately it will work out. Reminding yourself that the vast majority of the time solutions do present themselves also will make you feel less stressed and more receptive to that solution when it presents itself! Positive spiral! Say it out loud when you meet a friend for coffee or go for a walk…”I don’t know what the solution is right now, but I know that ultimately it will work out.”
And then we circle back to little Jessica dancing in the mirror. You have loosened your grip on your problems (but not reality) and let yourself feel open to solutions. (The solutions will come). The more you loosen your grip, the more those feelings of stress will recede (remember that stress receding is much better than hair receding), and the more likely you are to see that answer you are seeking.
In the meantime, don’t be afraid to be HAPPY! Be enthusiastic! That’s right! You can do it!! How often do we answer “busy” when asked how we are? How often do we complain as our first response? My dad has this great response when someone asks how he is…he answers, “all the better for your asking!” Promote positive attitudes with your own positive attitude. Smile. Dance. Lighten up. We’ll all still be responsible and solve our problems and pay our taxes and look both ways before crossing.
Life is really short. Don’t let it pass you by as you ride the Mundane Train. Rev it up! Do what must be done and then make time for what you feel compelled to do to express yourself. Sing to the moon. Dance on the sidewalk. Paint in the quiet. This is your life. It is beautiful, and it is yours. Create something exceptional! Don’t be scared. I love you, and I won’t let the turkeys get you down!!