Honoring every experience as an opportunity for learning and growth.
So as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, the idea behind ‘Lucid Living’ is that you approach every new day, and new experience, with fresh eyes and an open mind. It keeps us from letting life slip away while we go through the motions of life without really living it. If you’ve found that you’ve lost a week, month, or even year by simply going through your daily routine, you might want to think about introducing a little lucidity into your own life.
One reason we slip into our habits is because they’re comfortable. We’ve gone through the exhausting process of learning something new, and now we are simply enjoying the fact that our efforts have paid off. In our society, work is traditionally seen as a huge time and energy drain, so it makes sense that once we manage to finally conquer it (meaning it no longer takes every ounce of energy we have), we wouldn’t want to upset this delicate balance. We could say the same thing about relationships. New interactions, especially romantic ones, are stressful! You’re awkward and stilted, trying to be funny and engaging while worrying about how shiny your forehead looks in this light. It’s nice to get to the point where you don’t have to worry about it anymore.
In many philosophical and spiritual traditions, growth, change, and life are concepts that are inextricably linked. This means that in order to be considered alive, you must also be growing, which means you must be changing. Plants are an excellent example of this. Every plant we know of has natural growth and rest cycles, but the only plants that have stopped growing completely are those who are preparing for death. Of course growth of a new limb and emotional growth are to very different things, but the underlying concept is the same. When we give in to ‘comfortable’, we have stopped growing, and therefore stopped really living our lives. Instead, we are allowing our responsibilities and commitments to live us, achieving a kind of purgatory of the soul.
So what’s the solution? While there are as many answers to that as there are people in the world, I’ll make a few suggestions based on ideas I’ve discovered:
1) Reconnect with your sense of curiosity. When you are curious about something, you will gladly spend the time and energy to learn something new. Growth and change don’t have to be scary or burdensome! Find what you get excited about and pursue it!
2) Learn to embrace mindfulness. This can sound daunting, or a little ‘out there’ for some, but it’s a process that we do every day. All it means is getting to know yourself, in the moment, without judgment. Our society doesn’t encourage us to be content with ourselves as we are, mostly because it is a place of power and confidence. People who are centered in themselves (and not in this idea of who they should be) are happier and more emotionally balanced. We can’t always be in control of what happens around us, but we can be in control of our reactions to it!
3) Celebrate life! This may sound cliché and cheesy, but life can be cheesy. Enjoy it! Find people in your life that you can be silly with, and make a habit of regularly throwing convention to the wind and being spontaneous. Maybe you celebrate the fact that it’s Wednesday, or that the sun came out, or that a bird pooped on your head. Celebration is a way of reconnecting with our sense of joy, fun, and play. Laugh and be silly and make a complete fool of yourself. We all take life too seriously!
So those are just my suggestions on how to reengage with your life. Perhaps you have a few ideas of your own you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them!