“It’s time for a spring cleaning of your thoughts, it’s time to stop to just existing it’s time to start living.” ―
There are days when I feel like I’m existing without a purposeful intention or end-goal to achieve, or a challenge to reach. I wonder what is the difference between existing and having the confidence that we are living each day?
What are the things that make a day better or worse for you? And what is it about that day that sets it apart from existing, or living with intention? Existing for me means:
- We can feel as if we’re having an out-of-body experience, standing on the outside, watching us walk through the motions of living throughout the day expressionless, emotionless and unobservant.
- There are no rituals to perform or goals to achieve that ground us. There is nothing that gives us purpose. We seem to move from one thing to another aimlessly. Sometimes it is as if we are half-dead, and wonder how we got from one room to another.
- We may feel easily confused, distracted and tired. We may feel depressed. Maybe if we experience these effects, we are depressed.
Living life implies forward motion:
On days filled with purpose, we wake with excitement in our step, happy to have something to do, happy to get our day moving and to contribute. We feel a subtle rush of excitement at the thought of making money, being with someone we like, or the opportunity to help others.
Maybe it is in the getting-up and getting-out of our house that makes us shutter inside as our adrenaline kicks up a notch. When this happens, we may experience a subconscious tinge of gratitude for being a part of the busy world of events and its people. We feel alive as we move physically closer to where we want to go.
This same excitement rises to our consciousness when we come closer to our aim: to finish a painting, or the last page of an article we’re writing. Maybe as we cut the grass, we’re coming around the bend for the last time. Think about the hundreds of things we do and achieve each day as we come to the end of a project. Satisfaction surfaces, and that sense of personal accomplishment brings a huge burst of inner-joy.
One thing these and other examples have in common is a rising above our isolation.
We rise above that sitting-still place where we imagine everything as a chore.
We feel too stiff to move:
our joints, our thinking and our emotions.
We experience a staleness that points to
an overriding sense of dread, that seeks to confirm what we worry about the most:
we are just existing.
How Do we Know We are a Part-of Instead of Isolating
- In forward motion we find self-satisfaction, inner-direction and grounding.
- We find stability and determination in our rituals. We get up, attend to our physical morning rituals and move forward from there.
- Some of us make focused and dedicated time for these emotional and spiritual rituals that anchor us just for today.
- Many of us make lists of tasks for the day and then take measures to carry them out. We give ourselves quiet, private time to reorder our list as we ask ourselves, “How Important Is It?” and reschedule tasks for another day. Keeping our balance in all things is key to our serenity;
- We commit as much as possible, to do something for someone else, regardless of how small. Not only is this service work, but it serves to connect us to our world and to other people. Doing this allows us to see the role we play individually and the necessity of our contribution, if only just for our satisfaction.
- By operating as if today is the only time we have to create, to perform and to help others, we become assured we are living a purposeful existence one moment, one hour, one day at a time.
When we cannot do any of these things, our cup appears either empty, or almost empty. We sink into that defeating place where thoughts assure we have nothing to contribute. Expectations, or lack of expectations from ourselves, consume our thinking and shades of stinking-thinking create a bleak, lonely, and eventual helpless place to be.
If we are an addict, alcoholic, our nature stuck in this morass can become once again, the pitiful, incomprehensible demoralized place we all know so well.
Here, we have become the problem!
We have moved ourselves, without even knowing it happened, closer to the solution we relied upon for a lifetime, the same old behaviors that never brought us more than short-term relief.
Maybe this trap is the ultimate difference between existing—a living without direction and purpose and forward motion to a life with a purpose.
If there is no purpose, what point is there to living?
Living Each Day with Intention means We Must Change Our Stories
When we live consciously and aware of our purpose, we move as if coming closer to something or someone else. We claim our right to be in the here and now and decide based upon conclusive, reaffirming thoughts and energy that just for the rest of today, we will structure our awake time to accomplish if nothing more than three things. Finally, we allow them to be enough. In Dr. Gigi Langer’s award-winning book, “50 Ways to Worry Less” she says, “When I focused on self-caring thoughts rather than self-punishing ones, I began to make changes. I cut back on my work, rested more often, and asked my friends and family for help.”
- We exercise our spiritual-self, addressing that bottomless well of Hope, inspiration, and passion that nourishes us with faith as we ask for the Will of our God to be carried out. All throughout the day we ask (which is praying,) for this direction.
How do we exercise our spirituality? One way regardless of religion or belief, is to hit our knees. This single act of humility in the genuflection conveys to something mightier than us we seek to be compliant and a desire to walk as one on our spiritual path. That we care enough to do so demonstrates our personal quest with an intention to live a life He would have us live. (Trusting God)
- We exercise self-compassion by including something each day that feeds and nurtures our greater good. We keep the focus of our day on ourselves and off everything else, unless it concerns us. Maybe it is volunteering, or spending time with a sick neighbor. It could be helping someone with a tough job, or maybe we allow our body to soak in a hot tub of oils and perfumed water. We deserve to choose what this looks like for us. (Clean House)
- We become AN ENCOURAGER, and seek to bring others with us on our journey and we do this in the smallest of ways. (Help Others)
These three things are the secret of universal self-knowledge, truth for all of us. They speak to the fact that we connect with others, with ourselves and with our spiritual source, regardless of what that may be. As we position ourselves for grace in our thoughts–our actions follow. We invoke a combined-energy to do for us what we could not do alone.
There is truth to the adage that, “no man is an island unto himself” nor are we living in a vacuum where thoughts die, as it suffers in walls void of thought with seemingly no way out.
If you are reading this, it’s because you believe you are here for a reason. And you live your life accordingly.
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