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Stop the bus, I want to get off!

Updated: Feb 27, 2020

How often in your day (or week, month, year, life?) do you take a moment to check in with yourself and ask “is what I’m doing bringing me joy; truly making me happy?” And if the answer is no, do you then ask “what can I do about it?”

I've been listening to the audiobook of Marie Kondo's "Life Changing Magic of Tidying" over the last couple of weeks and have been reminded of the notion of asking whether an object (or I'd argue behaviour, job, person...really anything) sparks joy as a way of deciding whether it stays or goes.

In my life I have often pushed myself to the point where all I can think was – ‘I hate this! Stop the bus, I want to get off’! This is partly FOMO, partly a commitment to doing good work or not letting people down, partly a tendency to juggle lots of things at once. Sometimes it was fear of changing course or losing a sense of security and stability.

I'm learning to approach life more intentionally, and slowly, so I can tune into myself and how I'm really feeling. I got to the point a few years ago where I knew didn't want to be someone living the reality of Henry David Thoreau's famous observation that "most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them". It takes effort to change, but often it takes more effort to stay in that place of quiet desperation and dissatisfaction.

Recently I had to extricate myself from a conference that I felt was drowning me in information and small talk (hello introvert triggers!). It definitely wasn't sparking joy, so I did things that do - I got a coffee. I sat in the sun and fresh air. I took some deep breaths so I could go back in there feeling a little more centered, more grounded, more me.

The other issue was that I wasn't particularly engaged in the topics at hand. It's said that the opposite of love isn't hate, it's apathy - at least with hate there's still some level of caring, there's something to be saved perhaps. If you find yourself truly not caring about the conversation you're in or work you're doing, maybe it's time to stop and find some joy-sparking alternatives.

While the two situations are quite different, the emotions and physical effects are the same. We almost always have a choice.

Don’t push yourself and your energy. Tune in and listen (reiki, meditation, yoga and journalling are all great for this!); then choose differently if you need to. Take that 10 minute break rather than soldiering on and becoming increasingly dispirited and mean-spirited.

And if there's something deeper going on, recognise that sense of dissatisfaction; welcome it like a friend rather than resisting it - it's a message from your soul that there is something different you could be doing. This phrase has been on my mind a bit lately - "if you have to force it, it's probably shit". What are you forcing right now? Where would you benefit from a little more ease and letting go so you can invite in more joy and peace?

“Slow down. be intentional. notice the energy you are bringing into the this space and moment” - Brendon Burchard

Joy photo by Preslie Hirsch on Unsplash

Excited by life photo by Kevin Schmid on Unsplash

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