if we ever ponder the cosmic point of us all being here and question our motive for doing things, we’ll plop down on this one answer: to feel. and zooming in a bit further- to feel good. period. the End. that’s our lives sorted. that is the why of all our actions and conversely, our non-actions. to feel good is why we go after our particular dreams- our desire to travel, to be of service in this world, or even our motivations to act selfishly- all converge on a single point of wanting to feel good.
carry around a microscope with you for one day and while going through the motions of the day, ask- why am i doing this? why am i listening to music while driving my car? ‘to feel good’. why am i wearing this particular set of clothes? ‘to look good. and looking good makes me feel good. ‘why am i showing up for 2 hours football practice everyday and falling, exhausted, in the bed each day? ‘because i love football. and dedicating myself to it feels good.’ why sit here and hammer away at a seemingly impossible-to-write-code when you could be taking it easy and lazing in bed? ‘because i want to develop this skill. and even if it’s hard now, i know it’s to make me feel good.’
whatever out actions and their underlying reasons might be, the core motivation is this and this alone:
its all, simply, to feel good.
considering, then, how much we prize this feel-good feeling, it would make sense for all of us to follow it at all times, no? to invest in our joys and to choose it no matter what.
*long thinking pause*
errr….not really so.
in reality, we’re either invested in our miseries (directly rehashing bitter memories or worrying over imagined outcomes) or to not feeling miserable (‘a drink or two here to offset this emptiness i feel gnawing at me’) but to feeling good? hmmm….
how many times have we asked ourselves- straight out, flat out, no inhibitions- ‘what would it take for me to feel good right now no matter what?’
let me hazard a guess. very very few.
when this is what we’re ultimately pining for and wishing for and dreaming of- no matter the form or how it shows up- why aren’t we making it a priority? why do we push it on the back burner for some elusive day which we know is never going to come? why the heck do we keep on postponing our happiness?
here is my list of reasons:
- focusing on shit is more important. it deserves my most solemn and unbroken attention. otherwise, it might just get upset with me. and that will make me feel more shitty.
- this task that’s stressing the crap out of me is real important. my life depends on it you see. i might just not be able to survive if i leave this right now and take a few minutes to clear my head and feel good. i must continue. i must keep on stressing out.
- feeling good? who has time for that? that’s for babies. i have other stuff to do. like remain in low-vibe states and mope around. please do not bother me with feel good crap.
- i have a 1001 problems that i most creatively thought up. please do not distract me from mulling over them. i simply do not have time to feel good. you don’t get to focus on problems when you feel good. can’t have that happening.
and blabbity blabbity bla.
so, you see. feel good. duh. do not talk to me about it.
but, on closer inspection, however, all of the above are ways- albeit twisted- to get me to feeling good only. i believe (falsely so) that being faithful to any one of the above options will get me to that feel good zone, when, in reality, i have simply forgotten a much better option available: let this crap go and simply feel good now.
easy peasy, yes. simply decide to feel good. (and this one decision, trust me, makes us feel so much more better than how we are feeling in this particular moment).
When in shits-ville:
when it comes to my own days, the times i have felt most free and elevated is when i have consciously decided to make feeling good a priority and letting all else fall waaayyy down on my i-value-this list.
not liking how i am cutting corners when it comes to my yoga practice? forgive myself for doing so right now and then give myself one more chance to show up and stay even when its challenging.
worrying incessantly because my future stands foggy and unknowable? accept the uncertainty and then get to trying a ton of things, tinkering around, being ruthless about what doesn’t work, and holding close what resonates.
criticizing myself in the mirror today because a new zit just popped up? switch up my thoughts. is this all that defines me? is this all i am made of? No. send myself some good hard lovin’ then.
the point is: take responsibility + pull myself out of my funk by doing whatever it would take to feel good now.
Caution: Shits-ville is not the nicest of place to be. getting yourself to feeling good when residing here does not mean you sugercoat things or avoid them. instead, it means, giving full space to your emotions and admiting to the despairing levels of your donward spiral. ‘The only way out is through’.
When in La La Land:
feeling friggin good cuz i just had a great day out with my friends? thank my stars for people i can be crazy with and tell them so.
being all jazzed up because i just hit a meaningful milestone? congratulate myself a gazillion times then cheer up on someone else to help them get ahead, too.
moving deeper and getting stronger in my yoga practice? celebrate progress. keep showing up everyday with doubled devotion and get my sister on the mat, too (big self-high-five for this)
the point: take responsibility + take myself even higher by doing whatever it would take to feel good now + pass it on.
Why not directly target the feeling?
the way i see it: my days are just my life sliced down in neat 24 hour slots. a good life, then, is the one composed of good days. and what is a good day? very simply: a day on which i felt good/ marvelous/ superb/ feet-on-air etc. etc. and a good life is what i am ultimately after. a life in which i wake up everyday thinking what a privilege it is to be alive and where i am excited for the unknown that lies ahead. this is what i am committed to. and i am committed to doing whatever it takes to walk this way (with a lot of mistakes allowed in between).
so, here are a few parting questions to ponder over:
- do i want to feel good or shitty in this moment? (straight up 2 classifications. and its fine if shitty is the answer right now. we can come back to joy later. its always waiting for us.)
- is, what i am doing, making me feeling good?
- if yes, how can i move deeper into this joy? and if not, what can i do to feel that way?
3 questions and we done.
personally, ‘what can i do to feel good today?’ is the best question i ask myself. and it makes me feel empowered and excited like nothing else does. this is the question i want to center all of my days around- make my joy my no.1 priority.
because the thing is:
we serve others with our joy, when we ourselves are feeling uplifted, and our hearts are open. when we are ‘up there’, we can reach down and pull others up to be with us ‘up here’. right alongside us, sharing our joy.
so, why not go for something that has been completely attainable and possible for us all along? why not declare that we want what we want and claim it with a complete sense of worthiness?
joy has been waiting for you to make the choice for it. choose it, move with it, and follow it.
and one day we’ll find we ourselves are the joy we’ve been searching for.