You’ve heard the Martha Graham quote, right? If not, read on, you’ll find it below.
I’m choosing this quote today because, sadly, for many, there is a slowing. Most everyone experiences this at some point in their lives, when energy vibrates in a slower, less enthusiastic, even depressing way. When you feel more like Eyore than Tigger, and even Pooh’s honey-searching pace seems like too much effort.
Luckily, there is a way out.
The quickening is our saving grace. When people ask, “What lights you up?” they are really asking you what gifts your soul brings to the collective. So, while energetic shifts and changes are natural and common in life (no, this is not about how many naps you take or how fast you move), this internal sense of quickening is our guide to deep, soul satisfaction.
With all the hype of doing what you love, there can be a lot of pressure to have a magical career that is all unicorns and rainbows (hey Kris Carr – congratulations on achieving that!). However, anyone who does something beautiful and inspiring will tell you there is REAL WORK in it. In dancing, in creating art, in writing songs, in nurturing health, even in programming computer games – and you don’t necessarily need to “do what you love” as your full time job in order to feel satisfied in life. As Seth Godin says, “It’s probably easier and certainly more direct to talk to yourself about loving what you do.”
Work is challenging, even when we love it, yet there are different ways of working. My vote is to make it playful. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (I had to go to grad school just to learn how to pronounce that:) studies flow and looks at experiences where people lose all track of time and become immersed – these experiences of immersion cause us to lose a sense of time and even of self. Complete absorption. I felt both fun and flow on my recent trip to Denmark. Once while I was jumping on the backyard trampoline with my friend Janne’s kids – glorious – and again while presenting to a group of yogis and mental health peeps. When did you last have fun? When did you last experience flow?
If it’s been a while, don’t stress. There are ways to find the right track – I’ve outlined a few below. You know you are on the right track when the quickening flutters, when you have the feeling that YOU are in this. The excitement and energy toward a goal may be there – as may be an OVERWHELMING sense of fear.
A note about that – when you truly don’t give a crap about something, there is no fear. So it must mean something to you if you fear it!
Here are three steps to help you find your way to some deep soul satisfaction…
1. Get quiet, get still. Only then can you really pick up on where your heart is pulling you. Notice the sensations in your body more than in your mind – the mind can change quickly, while these deeper drives rarely do.
2. Look at some young pictures of yourself. Hopefully, you have some fun and silly memories in there. What did you love to do then? Do you do anything like it now? It doesn’t have to be precisely the same – for instance, I used to LOVE going to gymnastics practice. Now, I do yoga. Similar, but the path has developed in a particular way. Search for the moments of joy and trace them forward.
3. Revive these feelings! Play more, get creative and lose the judgements that you’ve collected in “growing up.” Jump on the trampoline until you cannot control the laughter bubbling up from inside (ahhhh so good!!). The Dalai Lama says “Love is the absence of judgement.” Who would you be if judgement, criticism and censorship did not exist?
If no big realization smacks you in the face (though it may!), don’t worry. You are planting seeds of exploration and doing very important research into yourself here. The answers may come on strongly or trickle in. Trust that the most essential parts of you are always seeking their way to the surface, and your giving time to listen will bring you more joy than filling yourself with busy-ness, wine, cupcakes, or other distractions.
Now I’d love to hear from you. Where do you find this quickening in your life? What gifts do you feel drawn to share? How are you, or will you, be sharing them?
WIth much love and soul support,