Soon after my arrival in Vancouver, Washington after moving from Eagle, Idaho, I was walking one afternoon by the mighty Columbia River. On the other side of me, across the road and up the berm, the train was passing by. I turned from the river just in time to see the graffiti on one of the cars that said, LIVE!
Huge industries and niches have been formed around living our potentials, but life actually requires nothing of us, accept to live it, and even that is a choice. The life that pulses in us, however, naturally gravitates toward more life. No matter how contented, fulfilled, happy we are, we have an impulse to create…something. A day, a cake, a company, a baby, love, joy, peace. It is life’s nature, not a requirement. Internal instead of external.
When we feel out of sync with this pulse in some way, we seek solutions. Books, classes, healing, workouts, adventure, drugs, alcohol, sports, solitude, nature, sex, doctors, achievement, mentoring, TV, order, clutter, travel, relationships, laughter…
And when we feel in sync with this pulse we seek to nourish it, flow in it, grow, expand, adventure, travel, solitude, create, laugh, nature, love, workout, more books, classes, coaching. Either way, movement and growth are involved because life’s impulse is more life and being in tune with it is Flow.
When we feel something is required of us, we can respond with obligation, duty, rebellion, guilt, determination, resistance. It’s easy to make those required somethings harder than they need to be.
When we know we are free and it’s our choice, like it’s our idea, our interest is piqued, we show up, we have a different kind of drive, and we feel ease. You can watch the same thing in animals and children, too, not just adults! Fetch is fun when it’s Fido’s idea and you’re in the middle of a great book! The baby will say the new word when you’re not poised with the video camera.
We are inspired and moved by what comes from within and what comes externally that resonates internally.
A friend recently commented that it’s that Irish Catholic guilt that keeps him motivated to do so much. “Wouldn’t you rather be free,” I asked? What do you mean, he responded? “I mean, be free of the guilt so that you’re not “being driven” and you’re doing the driving?” But where would his generosity come from if not from guilt? Well, he’d discover the real well of his generosity, which is infinitely deeper than guilt. “We should talk about this,” he said.
A few year’s ago, a student in my Your Soul in Business Retreat said the most poignant thing she realized is she could stop “chasing her significance.” She had been driving herself to achieve from a place of insignificance. Trying to maintain and multiply those 6 figures, the referrals, the projects, the perfection.
Her eureka moment was to realize she was the one driving all of it and she could change it in a moment when she realized before she lifted a finger she was already “enough.” Impact, income, exhaustion, life’s rhythm, and what was important all changed in meaning in that moment when she could move from choice instead of requirement.
A twenty-year-old friend recently remarked that he wanted to impress his dad and not be a disappointment anymore. Bring it home, my friend. Your dad may or may not be impressed. If he is, let that be the whipped cream on top. But the substance, the ice cream, let that be the kind of man you’ve decided to be and the kind of standards you choose to live by so you are not blown and tossed by the fickle opinions and judgments of others and live at home with yourself.
When we are connected at depth with our significance we can create anything and what we create comes from that sense of sheer and authentic love for life, for ourselves, for the sake of the adventure. We create from and solve problems from a higher vibration. It pours into our livelihoods, our involvements, our relationships, our adventures, how we care for ourselves, our finances, and we become present to and enjoy the beauty that surrounds us, whether in movement or stillness.
True enough, we are significant and we are insignificant. But that paradox is a topic for another essay.
Life’s pulse is to grow and evolve into new forms. All we need do is pay attention to that pulse within us and choose. What you choose become your gift to yourself and to the rest of us.