Friday, May 1, 2009

How to start living when you feel like you're barely existing?

This is the question of the day. Week. Month. Where did April go? I am glad May is here. Another opportunity to start over perhaps?

When I think back to the past month (and the lack of bloggin' therein), I realize I did more existing and less living. What do I mean by that? I found myself going from day to day with little inspiration, energy or passion. I took care of my responsibilities but I am not sure how much I relished them. I did laundry, prepared meals, nursed sick wee ones, did more laundry, wiped more runny noses, played with the kids, and spent a whole lot of time online. I showed up to work, and for the most part, was present, intuitive, and competent. Sure, we went on some enjoyable outings to the zoo, garden, Earth movie, dinners and parks (for the kids' enjoyment, of course). I turned some to do's into ta da's... Sure. The whole month was not a waste. Certainly not.

At the end of the month, I found myself wondering whether I had done anything to move forward in my life. Did I accomplish anything of value? Did I live my purpose more fully? I ask a lot of questions. I am just asking. Not devaluing what I did. Just asking. And, realizing that there were spurts of living in April. But the overwhelming sense is that I went from day to day without much sense of purpose. I call this barely existing. Not living fully.

So how do I know if I am living? I feel energized. I am optimistic. I feel expanded. I am proactive. I make healthy choices. I value my own talents and strengths. I have an internal sense of validation. I do not need praise or gratitude. I practice self-acceptance. When I am not living fully, I am grumpy, self-doubting, and impatient. I feel stuck and constrained. I fall back into old patterns that do not sustain me. I get little joy from what I would normally love. I begin to be harsh about my limitations and interpret oversights as failures.

I am drawing a useful distinction for myself by asking myself daily, "am I living or merely existing?" I am reminded that a life without passion, joy, and purpose is mere existence. I am definitely not content to settle for day after day of not living fully and truly.

I honestly want to know, if you were to live more fully, what would you be doing more of? What would you do less?

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