Growing pains – getting engaged in your life.

I have this friend, let’s call her Gloria for the purpose of this writing. Gloria is a pretty amazing gal. She has a good job, a loving family and friends that care about her. Generally, she is a pretty happy person. And yet, I notice in her a deep longing, a loneliness. She feels disconnected at times, like the world is spinning so fast that she can’t figure out how to slow it down so she can figure out what she really wants. She goes through phases where she doesn’t like her job, or housing situation, and some if that is very real. But I think some of it is about attaching her happiness to a thing or person or situation instead of realizing that happiness grows from within.

I wonder what her breakthrough point will be. The space where she can see that she already has everything she wants. It’s not something out there that will fix or fill up the emptiness she feels from time to time. It’s her own spirit and being engaged in her life and the world that brings joy.

Her experience reminds me of many others. So how do you move from loneliness to engagement? If you are feeling blue and disengaged, how do you change that up?

First, I would say feelings are useful to get our attention. Usually when you sit with them and attend to what they are bringing up, they naturally move on because they have had their moment. We think that we have to run away from unpleasant feelings sometimes, to cover them up with food, drinks, or distraction. But the brilliant thing is, if you sit with them, you almost always learn something new.

When you are feeling disconnected, it can be hard to remember what gets you engaged, what gets you out of your funk. Write down 3-5 things that help you remember who you are and what you love to do. For me music, exercise, writing, cooking, being with my kids, and art top the list.

So then do some of those things. Sit with your feelings, write, garden whatever it is that you know you love. Make a ritual of doing something that you love on a regular basis. You have the time, no matter how busy you are. Pretty soon you will begin to feel more and more centered and in charge of your life.

It’s not rocket science but it does take practice. Give it a try. I bet it will get easier each time and eventually your practice will become part of what you do. You will be more in tune with yourself and more fully living a life you love.

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