Have you ever longed for something or someone so much that it actually hurt? Someone you love that you cannot have, someone who passed away recently…or perhaps even decades ago?
Longing is a pervasive part of our daily lives. Songwriters thrive on it, writers use it to capture us, screenplays and story lines make us junkies for unrequited love. Just look and listen and you’ll see it everywhere…the romantic notion of something or someone we cannot have, the “almost”, the memories of love lost, of “the good old days” feed the longing.
It is normal to feel sad when we experience loss, to grieve and to bargain in desperation. And as time passes, it is equally crucial that we move toward acceptance, gently edging ourselves into the present.
Recently I experienced an exercise that moved me from longing to joy and I want to share it with you.
First…Close your eyes and think of something or someone for whom you are longing. Where do you feel it in your body? What words describe how that area of your body feels when you experience the longing?
Now…breathe deeply and see yourself actually having what you have been longing for. Really allow yourself to have what you want. Be there, see the person, the event. Where in your body do you feel that? How does it feel?
Did you feel sadness with the longing? And, when you visualized having what you longed for, could you feel your heart open, experience joy, happiness, contentment? The shift from hopelessness to possibility is powerful.
Sometimes we can’t have what we want. A lost love, the new job we thought we had but didn’t get…and we are frozen in the sadness that longing brings. Though we may not be able to have a specific person or job, we can bring love, success, joy into our present life. So, the next time you find yourself in that place, try shifting from the past (which is where longing resides) into the state of peace, joy that visualizing will bring.
Last fall I was at a very macho event talking to a woman friend about, guess what? Men.
My friend had been single for many years. Gorgeous and hot at 65-plus years, it would seem that finding a guy would be “like butta’…” , right? Well, not so much.
I was thinking a lot about the issue of settling, so asked her what she thought the difference was between settling and compromising, and like a racehorse after the bugle, she began rattling off her “grocery list” of what she was and was not looking for in a man. The list looked more like a novel and though I knew she wasn’t ever going to settle, it was suddenly clear to me why she might still be single.
There is no ideal partner unless we “Copy” and “Paste” and I don’t’ think even Steve Jobs had that figured out. When you are looking for a someone to love, keep your list of non-negotiables short by asking one question: “How important is it…really?” Be willing t0 refine that list, to compromise while still holding on to the things that are truly vital to a healthy, happy relationship. If, however, you are looking for someone with no “baggage”it might be time to go online to see if Mr or Ms. Right has been created inside one of those Silicon Valley start-ups!
“Settling” occurs when we “know better” and make a choice to get into or stay in a relationship because of fear of being alone or, God forbid, having to get back into the freezing waters of the dating pool. The crazy belief that there is nobody else out there that will want to be with us can convince us to settle for what we have even when it overrides our own truth about what we want and need to be happy.
When we settle, over time we will corrode. It is slow, insidious and tricky like a fox, but our soul absolutely knows the truth and keeps stubbornly tapping us on the shoulder. That sweet soul works so hard to tell us we are worth more than crumbs, reminding us that life is short and precious, and even though change is scary, that we will land on our feet.
Identify the things you MUST have in a relationship and stick to your guns! Stay open to the rest. Then have the courage to GO FOR IT! There is someone out there who will rock your world and you will rock theirs. Don’t settle for less. Go for the joyous juiciness of the real thing.
Mindless escape, heck any escape from the stress inherent in daily living has really gotten a bad rep.
Personally, I am a giant fan of escaping and have been all my life. Movie theaters saved my life as a young child, they provided a breather from parents who drank and argued too much. Every Saturday, I climbed into those seats and left it all behind.
We live and work in the most productive country in the world. Proud to be an American, yes? But there are consequences, our deal with the Devil. We suffer from the highest level of stress, experience more coronaries on Monday mornings, have the highest suicide rate and have less vacation/holiday time than any other developed country. Not so proud of that part.
People pride themselves in not doing “mindless” things. Even our recreation seems to be performance-driven for many. How hot does a room need to be to do yoga? And how many of us have seen people actually recoil when admitting we watched “The Bachelor” or “So You Think You Can Dance”? The look that says, “I thought you were better than that!”
Here’s what I believe…we all need mindlessness. Some can get it with Mindfulness (Meditation), but there are a thousand ways to escape and allow that VERY bright, busy, productive mind of yours to rest, for God’s sake. It needs to rest.
Here are some of my favorites…
1. Watching “The Bachelor” Yep, I’m copping to it.
2. Going to a matinee to see a chick flick, animated movie, or one with Hugh Grant in it and who cares about reviews! Matinees make you feel like you are playing hooky!
3. Dancing wildly in my living room to a little bit of Stevie Wonder’s “Fingertips”
4. Reading People magazine
5. Climbing on the back of a good friend’s motorcycle
What are some of yours? It’s OK, tell me. Nobody’s listening…Let’s start a”Mindless” Movement!