What are the moments in life that make you utter the words “Oh wow!”? Sometimes we think it should be the achievement of the large and audacious goals in life. Perhaps it may be the measures that are typically ascribed when people refer to a successful company or person. It may also be hinged on one’s impact in the world.
But it is the little moments with those who we love dearly that are the real and lasting oh wow moments. It is the quiet evenings when the kids rummage through old letters and squeal in delight as if they were toddlers reading a nightly note. It is a warm cuddle on a rainy night, snuggling against a partner who is steadfast and constant.
These experiences allow us to go into the world to do and be more in the work that we do. As we build these lasting sanctuaries for ourselves and our loved ones, we fill our cup. In turn we are energised to create. We endeavor to show up and contribute towards the mission we set out to do. We give more because of the happiness and contentment
One thing that I am trying not to lose as I do the work that I am doing now is the hunger. The drive to keep trying and to keep giving my best shot springs from a core need that does not seem to be satiated. I have always considered this hunger an edge that keeps me on my toes. But lately I have been pondering on how to reframe this insatiable desire to do more and be more.
I do not think there is something inherently wrong with staying hungry. They say the best entrepreneurs “stay hungry and stay foolish”. But the hunger connotes a senses of scarcity. That there is someone out there to get you, to outwit you, to surpass you if you start getting too comfortable. It triggers a vigilance to guard what we have been building and growing.
Perhaps it may be framed instead as an overflowing hunger that speaks of a generosity to give more of the best in ourselves in the work that we do. Maybe it may be viewed as a vigilance to stay curious about others and about matters that inspire us to create. It may be seen as a wellspring of possibilities versus a void that needs to be filled up. Thinking about hunger this way leaves me with a sense of ease.
Trust is something that is hard to come by for me. My younger self had a difficult time letting other people in due to the lack of trust. I would often be sought by friends because I listened fully and intently. They feel heard because I do not say much and simply tune in to them. I rarely talk about what I am going through and would rather focus on the other.
Over the past years I have been able to work on trusting others. What I am working on now is trusting the self more. I have started this journey by trying all sorts of ventures and following my curiosity. What I have noticed though is that I have a tendency to hold myself back when fear of failure starts to set in. I have to work on betting on myself and believing that whatever the outcome is, I can pull myself together and through.
Lots of work to do on this front. But I think what is important is to show up, stay curious and not take myself too seriously. It is also when I focus on the other as well as on the task in front of me that I can be more open to possibilities and more attuned to trusting the process.
We often hear about self care as a way for people to cope with the challenges of the times. I bristle every time I hear someone talk about how it is the most important thing that one should do before taking care of the worries of the world. I think it is because it has been overused and tied so much to external factors for one’s nourishment.
This morning, I listened to a conversation between Liz Gilbert and Rachel Cargle. They spoke about being a kind friend to one’s self instead. They offered a definition of taking care of one’s self framed as a deep and genuine friendship. It is about treating ourselves with trust and gentleness, just like how we would treat our best buddy. We speak to her honestly and candidly. More importantly, we always assure her that we’ve got her back, no matter what.
This is such a wonderful definition of taking care of one’s self that I would like to practice. It is one that is imbued with trust. I realised that a big part of my self talk is a lack of trust that I can deliver what I said I would. I end up berating myself when I miss yet another deadline or when I don’t get to follow through on a task I said I would do. But the friend in me trusts that I will stay true to my word and believes in me wholeheartedly. In turn, I will strive to work my darndest to not let her down.
Anticipation springs from a desire to be in a different state. It is the imagined fulfilment of what one is craving for. Often, anticipation is a big part of the fun. The painstaking planning, the conjured experiences, the daydreaming – all these add to the thrill and excitement.
However when reality differs from the painted picture in our heads, the feeling of disappointment can be overwhelming. The build up to this one moment that has to be absolutely perfect has caused the present to be lackluster. We are beset with worry that things should fall into place as you’ve planned it to be. What we miss is the unique experience unfolding as it should be, based on the current condition and circumstances.
I have to remind myself to anticipate excitedly but temper accordingly. Easier said than done. But what has helped greatly is having my senses attuned to and engaged with the activity I have patiently waited for. It is by summoning the senses to pay attention that an imagined reality becomes a fully lived experience.
At improv class today, we were asked to take on a character. It started with siting a certain way then embodying the character that sits that way. Questions were asked. You then had to reply as consistent as possible with your character.
As I went through the exercise, I mixed up truths, half truths and some created ones. I suddenly was a forty year old yoga teacher rediscovering her true self after being forced to practice law for most of her life. I admitted to finally being free after decades of trying to please others.
Pondering on this experience, I wondered which of those replies were truly made up. Perhaps every response had an ounce of truth. Even the most contrived ones may be a glimpse into one’s inner longings.
I woke up late today. As soon as I realised it, the day came flooding in. I started to feel the first niggle of worry, thinking of the stuff to do. I went through my morning routine and felt myself relaxing, knowing that the rest of the day will unfold in its own time.
It took a gentle reminder to ease into the day. My G’morning book coaxed me to make a little space for myself before letting the world in. It was a note to settle and savor. It brought to mind a constant prayer- to allow me to move into the world with ease of being, gentle presence and loving attention. These remain to be my daily asks.
I am trying to add more good habits to my current chain. I would like to do my planks, writing, walking, jumping and listening throughout the day. What I am getting at to accomplish these tasks consistently is by stringing them with existing routines. I figured that if the cue is consistent then carrying out the new habit tied to this will happen. Easier said than done.
This exercise has reminded me of the discomfort that comes with starting something. Before an action becomes second nature, deliberate and conscious action is needed. When all our facilities are alert to what we are doing, it is tiring. It takes a while and the key is to keep going even as it seems like no progress is evident.
So I shall carry on, stringing along these desired actions as much as I could muster. The pleasure I derive is from the actual doing anyway. The outcome is secondary.
I bristle every time I utter the words “new normal”. It is as if I do not want to define the life that we are experiencing now as contrary to how it should be. It is a statement that alludes to the current state as not right, not ideal. It goes against a personal principle of accepting experiences and meeting them from where they arise.
The notion of new normal seems to imply that the manner by which we carry out our lives now are sub-optimal alternatives. That these are just substitutes to how things should be. I find myself in this state of mind from time to time. Instead I would like to take on a more accepting stance so my forward movements are anchored on creation rather than compromise.
There are a lot of things that are not right in the world. But there is a whole bunch that is good and worth waking up for. I hope to continue to choose the latter even as some days are such a struggle.
My daughter has been craving for churros. She rarely voices out these wants but maybe being stuck home has made her more attuned to how her body feels. I, on the other hand, am always craving. Craving for food, drinks but mostly experiences.
I am always doing or wanting to do something. What has been interesting though is I have been happy experiencing life while being home. The cravings are not rising from a sense of being stuck. They are simply part of my strong sensory nature. I am glad that they surface and are satisfied from where I am. Surprisingly for someone who can’t keep still, this has been more than enough.
I am grateful for my cravings. It is a constant indicator of my hunger for learning, thirst for conversations and desire to live life more fully. It reminds me that there is so much to see, taste, hear, smell and touch. To crave is to want more. But we can choose to want what we have right here and right now.