From the outside looking in, my life seems to be pretty good. I realized that as I was introducing myself to some students in a class I was subbing a few weeks ago. I have a good husband and good kids. In between all the stuff we have to do and that never quite seems to get done, we’ve laughed and played and spent time together just enjoying each other’s company. Spending a morning playing and getting wet and messy was some of the best fun we’ve had as a family in a long time.
We have jobs that support our family. Our needs and some of our wants. I love what I get to do for this thing we call work and have my own little office to do it from. I get to travel when I want and have seen some amazing places this year. I’ve been to Sedona and Maui and Bozeman and Spokane and Denver and back to Sedona again. I took two weeks with my daughters to travel across the country to visit and play with friends and family. It wasn’t long enough. I have incredible friends who make my life better simply by being who they are and letting me share a portion of their journey.
In short, my life seems pretty good. I have a sticker on the window of my car to remind me if I forget.
To paraphrase a question posed by someone a few years ago, though, as I was sharing similar things… I say I have a good husband and good kids and life is pretty good. So what’s the problem?
I’ve been exploring that again this week.
And in doing so have come up with many more questions for myself than I currently have answers to. Half a notebook full. I bought it on Monday. It was half full by Tuesday night….
What I have come to realize is, it’s not enough.
I don’t want a life of routine. I don’t want a life living on auto pilot doing the same things over and over as habit and ‘just what we do.’ Even if those things provide a stable and comfortable life. Eventually that gets old. Eventually I get bored. Eventually I start looking for what else is out there. I can see that it has always been that way for me.
I’m tired of looking.
I want to feel like I am doing something meaningful.
A while ago I stumbled across a blog written by Chandler Stevens. Wasn’t searching for anything. It just showed up in my newsfeed and I was curious. Since then, I’ve read a lot of what he has written.
He talks of something called ecosomatics. Essentially addressing “physical, mental, and ecological factors that shape who — and how — we are.” http://www.chandlerstevens.com
It’s opened the door to exploring things I have never really considered. Things that, as I explore them, will perhaps help me begin to step away from the pondering and reflection toward action.
Things like, under what conditions would I thrive? Not just get by or make do. But thrive. What supports would I need? What relationships? What habits and behaviors? What environment in terms of place and space?
How would I treat myself if I acted as if I could have a profound influence on the world? Not that I am purposely looking to do that, but how would I treat myself if I believed that I could?
All excellent questions.
Questions that challenge me to look honestly at where I am and where I want to be. Who I want to be. And then have the courage to do something about the difference between the two.
I’ve come up with many more questions for myself. Some adapted from Chandler, some from conversations and interactions with others in the past two days.
If I look and feel into the areas of tension and stress in my body, can I let that sink into the areas of support?
What might happen if I extended that to my life?
And poured my tensions and holding patterns into the places of support in my life? Instead of holding on to them, or trying to do it alone?
All of which simply leads to another question… namely, what are the supports in my life? Recognized, and perhaps more importantly, unrecognized?
A friend shared his observations that I move as if I can’t move. Or perhaps I think I am not allowed to. Or maybe even don’t want to. He was speaking in terms of physical movement. And it led to a discussion about movement in general. How maybe it is meant to be joyful.
It’s never occurred to me that movement could be joyful. To kids, yes. But adults??I’ve been reviewing in my mind the movements I ask of my body each day. And can see that they are pretty routine. And often fairly minimal.
What would joyful movement look like?
What would joyful movement feel like?
What might change if I began to move joyfully every day?
Expanded outward, in what areas of my life have I also been acting as if I can’t move?
Or haven’t wanted to?
Or don’t think I am allowed to?
Where have I been expecting others to ‘move’ me?
Or do it for me because I tell myself I can’t?
What would I do if I didn’t have problems to solve?
What would that world look like?
Is that really what I want? I’ve said I did. But is it really?
What really motivates and drives me to do anything? Money? Power? A sense of accomplishment?
Often it is the very challenges and problems I say I don’t want. Facing them sometimes simply because I am too stubborn to give up.
Are those things really problems then?
Or are those the things that help us learn and grow in ways we need to? That help make life a meaningful experience?
If I do not feel engaged fully by life, whose responsibility is that? And what can I do to change that?
I know the things that make me smile. That brighten my day. That I love. If those things are not currently a part of my life, what is stopping me from having them? What stories am I telling myself about why I can’t or shouldn’t or…?
Like I said, more questions than I currently have answers.
But I do know this. I love sunflowers. And I love roses. I love seeing flowers grow. I probably have 1000 pictures or more of flowers I have seen on my walks and hikes. They make me smile.
And I will stop just to smell the roses.
Yet I don’t have any sunflowers or roses growing where I live.
My life is good. But there are discrepancies between what I say I want and what I do. I want to change that.
Perhaps starting with the flowers.
Perhaps you will find things that are similar in your life. Find yourself saying, my life is good. But. . . .
It doesn't have to stay that way.