One of the unexpected delights of motherhood was how the curiosity and delight my children brought to each day spilled over into my life as well. Mystery was not a challenge nor the unknown of the world experienced as a threat. Mystery instead was an invitation to engage and enjoy, to discover and delight, to be curious and creative. Waking up to a new day of life was reason enough to wake up excited. It is this quality of innocence combined with fearlessness that Buddhists term “beginnner’s mind”and Jesus talked about as being more powerful in reaching “heaven” than the power of accumuled wealth.
With time and learning from those older than ourselves, being realistic, practical, logical, and safe became how we met our days instead. Choices that with the passing of time and with the grace of awareness, we realize are false gods for happiness and satisfaction in our life. What feeds our soul we often mete out to ourselves in portions miserly, while being generous in our efforts to avoid life’s mysteries. No wonder we can find ourselves depressed, despairing, and denying what we love in life!
If you would like to engage the gifts of mystery more and dispense with being less than happy, here are my suggestions:
1. Schedule time each week to be lazy, be unavailable, be non-productive for an hour or two. Becoming anxious just reading these words? Then you may have a case of joie de vivre challenge. Solution? Ask a friend to partner with you for scheduling time off the hamster wheel of tasking your life away.
2. Studies too plentiful to reference here illustrate again and again how living like a “human doing”can kill you. Even our logical, realistic, practical scientific studies shows how essential relaxation and enjoyment are for the health of your mind, body, and soul. Seems as though it actually IS logical and practical to take time to play and daydream, especially for grown ups.
3. When your realize what brings you pleasure or joy, don’t rationalize it away nor defend it to others……embrace it. Being part of a family tribe is primal and being part of a tribe brings the challenge of claiming your sovereignty and integrity. So while we all have family patterns that at times challenge us, embracing the power of being a grown up grants you the ability to pivot patterns that pain you into empowered choices for joy and for living what has heart and soul for you.
4. Commit to daily care of your soul; it is as essential for your health and happiness as the self-care you offer your body and mind. Learn to meditate and if you don’t like one way of meditating, try another, for there are many many ways to meditate. Meditation’s effects on developing parts of our brain other than the limbic-fight or flight-brain are well-documented, making meditation essential for our changing and challenging world. And the care of your soul benefits your body and mind as well as no longer being at the behest of your primal reactions in life. (Check out the book “How God Changes Your Brain” for current results on meditation’s effects on brain development)
Now while I am making light of our over-scheduled, information-overloaded, task-oriented world we live in, the results of to-do lists that never end is no laughing matter. When we value “doing” more than engaging the mystery of ourselves and life, we suffer in health, happiness, and wholi-ness. There is an upper limit to the return of “doing” and truly no limit to the benefits of engaging our mystery and majesty of being. (Did you know the word “hue-man”derives from Latin and means “the radiant being”?)
My loving challenge to you is this.… once a day, go from tending your to-do list to taking an action for the sole purpose of being happy. Not an action you can justify for a purpose practical, not an action you can justify in service of another….simply an action for the singular purpose of making youself feel good….period. Delight again in the sensual experiences of a body, revel in the deliciousness of your physical senses, and allow more of the awesome sensory experiences offered with every breath you take.