Sometimes a soft wind whirls its way into my lungs
writing a song, for years not sung
breathing life into a long-lost desire
a forgotten fire
jolting my body, my senses awake
making my mind shake
I see, sense, hear,
channel the words whispered into my ear
i cannot chooseLukas Van Vyve
when I’m kissed by the muse
yet when i feel the urge
to let emotions surge
Sometimes I’m sad. Which doesn’t make me a sad person. Unless it becomes the one emotion that eclipses all the others – and I become sadness.
Sometimes I’m mad. Which doesn’t make me an angry person. Unless it becomes the one emotion that overpowers the others – and I become anger.
Sometimes I’m scared. Which doesn’t make a scared person. Unless it becomes the one emotion that rules them all – and I become anxiety.
Feeling all the feelings is fine. The problems start when I allow one emotion to become my identity, and it becomes so pervasive that I can’t feel the others anymore. Even if that one emotion is perceived as desirable (like happiness).
I couldn’t imagine finding time for 3 pages of stream-of-consciousness journaling a day – until I started writing them. 700 days later, I haven’t missed a day.
I couldn’t imagine finding time or energy to publish a daily blog post – until I started publishing them. 70 days later, I haven’t missed a day.
I couldn’t imagine finding time or willpower for 5 yoga sessions a week – until I started doing them. 2 years later, I can’t imagine not doing them anymore.
Sometimes it’s hard to see how you could have time or energy for something before you just start doing it. Then it becomes the new normal.
It’s your mind playing tricks on you.
Start doing (and start small). Keep doing. Then start believing.
We’re all just a blip in an evolutionary process spanning millions of years.
We’re not an end result.
We’re not a completed product.
Who knows, maybe we’re one of the very early drafts.
A book full of typos.
That means we’re inherently flawed – and that’s liberating.
Because now there is space for imperfect growth, within the confines of our imperfect mind and body.
Evolution doesn’t make us perfect. Evolution makes us evolve. Mistakes included.
Life doesn’t make us perfect either. Life makes us evolve. Mistakes included.Lukas Van Vyve
Where am I perpetuating a situation I say I don’t want?
How am I perpetuating a situation I say I don’t want?
Why am I perpetuating a situation I say I don’t want?
What am I scared of? Which pain do I associate with change?
What’s so frustratingly comfortable about the current situation?
What would happen if I stopped pushing back against my own desires and started taking small actions to get out of this situation instead??
We take action based on the pain we want to escape right – or the pleasure we want to feel – right now, in this very moment… Which often leads to bad long-term consequences.
A solution to this: for every pain or pleasure impulse in the moment, zoom out to consider medium- and long-term timeframes. Then give more weight to the longer-term timeframes than to instant gratification.
- How will it make me feel right now?
- How will it make me feel in a couple of hours?
- How will it make me feel in the long run (weeks, months, years)?
Being aware and present enough to consider these timeframes can be enough to change harmful behavior.
Eating a bag of chips might make me feel good in the moment because it tastes good and gives me an instant rush.
A couple of hours later, I might feel bloated.
And in the long run, I might gain weight, develop diseases,….
Since the long run has priority over instant gratification, I better avoid eating too many crisps.
A salad with broccoli and spinach taste ok in the moment, but nothing special.
Soon after finishing it, I’ll probably feel energized without any blood sugar spike or feeling drowsy.
And in the long run, such it keep me healthy, boosts brain function and more.
Since the long run has priority over instant gratification, I better eat many of these greens.
Starting a workout usually doesn’t feel so good (especially not right before): I’m trying to avoid present pain.
But right after, endorphins start rushing through my body and pain makes way for pleasure.
In the long run, as my physical health improves, the positive effects blow any minor present pain out of the water.
Three more questions to consider:
- Will this lead to long-term pain or pleasure? If both, which one more?
- Which immediate (medium-term) pleasure will this painful action bring?
- Who do I want to be? (Every action I take is a vote for who I want to be so I better put my actions where my mouth is.