Every once in a while, maybe even once a year, I feel low and uninspired. My wildness is gone, my desire to even do anything about said wildness is nowhere to be found. I am living, but I don’t really feel alive.
At different times I’ve blamed it on parenthood.
I am a mom. I have two kids under the age of five. I would happily crawl into bed each night at 8pm (and often do). I am also an artist and an entrepreneur and don’t have one of those glamorous full-time nannies you see on the television. Like you, I work hard, stick to my routine and collapse on the couch for an episode of Project Runway every night.
Where did my wildness go?
I have been wondering about this as I approached 40 last year, asking myself if this is a function of age or children or just having a different vision of what qualifies as fun as I grow older.
Maybe it’s not actually wildness I crave but aliveness.
How can we find our aliveness in the exact circumstances we find ourselves in? Without changing a thing, how can we find our spark, the thing that lights us up, our joy, within the routine, the commitments, even the exhaustion?
I think one of the gifts of getting older is getting more and more comfortable with who we actually are. After years of trying to be a better version of ourselves, trying to be more fabulous and perfect, we relax a little into embracing our wonderful, ordinary, as-is selves. And create from there.
What makes us feel alive now might be different than what came before.
Let’s all make a list, a quick and dirty one, of what gives us energy, what lights a spark in us, what delights us.
Got your pen and paper? Okay, set a timer for 2 minutes. Go!
Here is mine:
- sharing a meal with a friend
- a hike in the woods
- a trip to the ocean
- putting on great music and painting, especially with friends
- dancing (especially my Nia class)
- inspiring conversation
- going on an adventure somewhere new
- a great art opening
- a perfect cappuccino
- going on a photo walk
- authentic conversation with people who get me
- taking portraits of people
- laughing with my boys
- riding a bicycle
- traveling somewhere colorful
I have been teaching a class on dreaming for the last several years. We teach folks to imagine what we call their Mondo Beyondo dreams – the most outrageously wonderful things they can imagine happening in their lives. For many of our students, dreams they never thought possible actually come true.
But here’s the thing: In the end, it’s not really about our dreams coming true. It’s about who we are becoming in the pursuit of our dreams. Are we becoming the most alive version of ourselves? The bravest, most authentic expressions of who we are?
That’s how our dreams serve us. They tell us who we are and who we are becoming. They pull us toward a version of ourselves that inspires.
And the things that make us feel alive? Well that’s another way in. It’s like coming from the other direction. Doing more and more of what lights us up will not only bring us joy, it will pull us closer to our dreams.
Next time you feel like you’ve lost your spark, just reach for that little list. Forget about goals, ambitions and all the things you think you ought to be doing. Just start with those little things that bring you joy.
Through her award-winning blog Superhero Journal and e-courses, Mondo Beyondo and Superhero Photo, Andrea will inspire you to find your passions, dream big and say YES to the life you’ve always wanted.
Andrea is also a supermom (no capes, just courage) to two adorable boys named Ben and Nico.
You can often find her on her kitchen floor trying to get them to do superhero leaps for the camera.