Is it even possible right now? Delight?! That sounds like nothing more than putting our head in the sand after going into another round of crushing pandemic uncertainty and isolation? We've already done two years of this boo-hockey! It's time to be done already.
You're exactly right. It can feel hard to do much more than survive in times like these.
With motivation hard to come by, it's easy to just wait for this all to end. Or vacillate between sheer exhaustion and zoning it all out. On the other hand, these times might mean everything in your life has intensified. There's even more on your to-do-list and less time to do it. It's easy to want to push hard and force results or give up entirely because nothing in the world seems to be helping us out.
So, how dare we risk delight in the midst of complete and utter chaos? Intense climate change? Racial injustice galore?
(And, even if we dared risk it, how would we do it without time travel to a distant and far away place?)
There is another way. And all it takes is 5 minutes a day for ONE week to see significant results. I dare you! (And if you can't motivate to do this alone, don't judge yourself, just sign up for a free discovery call to explore my Live Your Wildly Beautiful Life class where you'll have support in community to propel you in this direction rather than feeling like a failure to motivate in isolation, which we all know doesn't work very well for many of us. The class begins February 1 online. Space is limited!)
Here are 3 simple steps I use as a system to cultivate delight in my life no matter what's going on in the world (and especially in times of tumult and turbulence).
- 1. Recognize delight as a resource that you need and can cultivate.
The more you intentionally cultivate it, the easier it will be to come by. The more you follow your analytical and rational brain, which is our brain's default way of operating, the less delight you'll experience. It's as simple as that. Zoning out, stressing about problems, working non-stop to try and clear your to-do list, and trying to improve what's broken keep us in our default brain. Not a lot of delight there. However, we can cultivate another way. All it takes is actively and intentionally practicing. But we do have to practice. Our brain is more used to solving problems than taking in wonder and regenerating from stress. But can you imagine what sort of creative solutions for the world and our lives would be freed up by stepping out of this way of operating?! It frees up more energy (especially when we're exhausted) and leaves us more resourced than we knew was possible in messy, muddled times.
- 2. Stop telling yourself the partial truth that things will get better when _____________.
Why? Because even if there's some truth in this, mostly this belief just keeps us waiting around for circumstances in the external world to change. (And if the pandemic has taught us anything, this isn't a great strategy!) We might be waiting a LONG time for this. And once things finally do change, it's likely that we'll feel somewhat the same as now unless we intentionally cultivate and allow ourselves to experience delight now. After all, we have an upper limit on how much delight we're used to experiencing. So unless we actively create micro-moments in life that feel good, we'll continue plodding along at the same level of happiness we're experiencing right now. If we start taking tiny actions now, we'll see we have micromoments of power. Knowing we have choice frees us from stress and immobilization and allows us to start imagining and moving towards something bigger pretty quickly!
- 3. Do this 1 simple practice.
Start noticing and logging the tiniest moments in your day that FEEL good (that YOU CHOSE to make happen that day). Write down 3-5 things and how they felt.
These shouldn't be "should" gratitudes, things that you think you should feel grateful for. Nor should they be productivity/achievement gratitudes, things that focus you on all that you got down and how hard you worked. They should be things you chose to do that actually feel good in your body and being when you did them. Tiny things. For example: I'm so grateful I decided to pause and hold Mike's hand and really laugh with him and my dog after dinner. It felt connecting and peaceful.
Do this every day. I like to do it before bed. Your brain probably won't want to do this. (At least not right away.) Anything new takes effort. And most of us operate in productive mode all of the time and this sort of thing doesn't really register in our productive brain. Plus, there's lots of exhaustion right about now. But if you decide to carve out a few minutes and try it anyhow, you'll start to notice some amazing and almost immediate results. More motivation but without pressure. More sense of power. More courage. Feeling less exhausted. Making choices in your day that you appreciate and energize you. (Making even more choices like these the longer you practice.) Making more space for what matters and being less driven by the endless to-do list. Doing more of what renews you without all the normal "I need to do self-care" pressure that motivates no one. There are other benefits, too. But these are the ones I see consistently with those I work with.
So why does delight matter again?
A friend and I were texting and I shared this quote that Elizabeth Gilbert wrote about Jack Gilbert's stance on the world:
"When it comes to developing a worldview, we tend to face this false division: Either you are a realist who says the world is terrible, or a naive optimist who says the world is wonderful and turns a blind eye. [Jack] Gilbert says the world is terrible and wonderful, and your obligation is to joy. A real, mature, sincere joy--not a cheaply earned, ignorant joy. He's not talking about building a fortress of pleasure against the assault of the world. He's talking about the miraculousness of moments of wonder...We must risk delight...We must have the stubborness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world."
What if delight weren't something we magically expected to fall into our laps when _______? Or something we thought of as frivilous and irresponsible in light of the world's suffering? But instead, what if delight was the very thing we needed to not only get through this moment without utter exhaustion and overwhelm, but to propel us in making a difference in the world and creating healthier systems? What if delight opened us to possibilities we never could have imagined for our lives and the world?
I dare to risk it. Will you?
Are you ready to gain essential tools, connect deeply with yourself, and experience community that propels you in experiencing fulfillment and satisfaction now, clarifying what you'd love to move towards in your life, and clearing obstacles in the way? Join me and a powerful group of women for Live Your Wildly Beautiful Life starting February 1, 2022. The first step is to schedule a Discovery Call where you'll see if this experience is right for you. Sign up below!