Reigniting Your Passion for Life
Restoring The Fire in Your Belly
“A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s”~ Irish proverb
So, if you were asked, “How old do you feel?” would you give your actual age, a younger age, or an age much older than you are?
If you give an age much older than you are, then you are most likely suffering from fatigue.
What you need MOST OF ALL is REST.
So many of us do not rest properly.
Leisure time is not rest
Today we are never without our phone in our hand, our laptop nearby, and we have a calendar full of social obligations. We are always sending emails, ordering food, checking our schedules, replying to our kids, family, and friends, reading the news and making calls.
You need to relax TOTALLY. Sleep. No phone. No schedule. Stop making excuses (I am not talking to insomniacs). Seriously, turn off those devices, put them away, shut the blinds, close the door, take the phone off the hook, hang up a “Do Not Disturb” sign and REST.
Also, REST is not leisure. It does not mean taking everyone down to the pool for a swim, while you attempt to read a book and watch the kids as well. It does not mean planning a weekend getaway with a list of “places to see.”
REST means SLEEP or not doing anything. NOT DOING ANYTHING.
Laying on the grass: Laying on a spongy bed of green grass in the shade of a tree and shutting your eyes and allowing yourself to fall asleep. Fall asleep feeling the wind blowing gently on your skin, and the dappled light playing behind your closed eyelids.
To sleep away a whole day, and wake and eat, and then sleep again (do NOT get sunburnt as this will eliminate all benefits).
Watch the clouds float across the sky: Lay on your back and watch the clouds float across the sky. Allow your mind to drift and go where it will. Watch the birds as they cross your line of vision. Hear the bird song if you are around trees. Relax. Deeply relax.
Every time you think about what you NEED to do, STOP. Push those thoughts out of your mind.
You are doing what you need to do right now. You are taking care of yourself. Looking after you is your number one priority as if you burn out, who is going to pick up the pieces? Have you got a maid to call? Is an executive willing to take over your business and develop it for free? Do you have someone to pick up and look after your kids? A chef to cook you all dinner. A housekeeper to clean your house?
Well, the time will come soon for you to get up and have to attend to those things. So this time NOW is for you. These few hours you have put aside to REST are FOR you. To feed yourself. To nurture yourself. To pamper yourself. To give yourself permission to do NOTHING but REST.
With NO guilt. No telling yourself off for being lazy. You are not lazy. You are recuperating.
Most people function below their average sleep requirements every day, and to catch up would require months of good uninterrupted sleep.
To take a few hours, or a day, or a week or a month to just REST is no sin if you are exhausted and you need to recharge your batteries.
“Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.”
― Maya Angelou
According to Forbes, in an article called “America, The Sleep-Deprived” in 2013:
“the average American slept 6.8 hours a night — with 40 percent banking less than six hours. The nation hasn’t always been this sleep-deprived:
Back in 1910, people slept an average of nine hours per night”.
A culture of sleeplessness has developed fueled by a 24/7 economy, the lightbulb, time spent on social media and the Internet, stressors of modern life and how hard people are working either to “get ahead” or “make ends meet.”
More than half of recent graduates are worried about having to work extra jobs to repay student loans according to a Discover Student Loans survey.
If you don’t identify tiredness, being sleep deprived, exhausted or feeling older than your age, as the reason for your lack of passion and energy in your life, it may be that you need PLAY.
IDENTIFY what you love to do — and do more of it.
Think about (or make a list) of all the things that you eat, or do, that add that feeling of lushness, quality and richness to your life without taking up a lot of your time and energy.
Is it drinking a particular brand or type of coffee? Is it drinking from a specific cup and saucer (maybe your grandmother’s or mother ’s cup)?
If you eat a particular food like a punnet of raspberries, does it make you feel spoilt, happy, and luxurious?
Do you have these things in your life every week, or regularly?
Do you have that brand of coffee in your cupboard? Do you buy a couple of punnets of raspberries every week? Have you gotten that special cup out of the cupboard and make sure you use it?
Can you add more of these things to your life?
Do you love dancing, music or singing? Do you like photography? Do you enjoy yoga, book clubs, theatre or visiting certain restaurants? Do you love having plants around you or a small garden? What about owning a kitten or pet (if your bylaws allow)?
Are you doing these things, and incorporating them in your life?
How much time are you scheduling for the activities that light your fire?
MAKE TIME. Put these activities in your calendar. DO them.
Even a small shift can make a cosmic difference in your overall happiness and quality of life each week.
If you don’t nurture YOU, no one else will. If you are not as happy and fulfilled as you can be this will reflect on your husband, partner, your kids, your friends, your work, all your relationships, even your health.
So MAKE time for you. Not giving yourself only 10 minutes (if that) squashed in at the end of each day.
It is important.
Scheduling Time in your calendar for YOU
Scheduling self-care in your calendar means you are more likely to do these things.
Can you schedule in a massage? If you cannot leave work, is there a mobile masseuse in your area who would come to your work, and give a 10 or 15-minute corporate massage?
Buy a plant for your office desk. Put a photo of your family or loved ones where you work. Surround yourself with things that remind you of what you love and is important to you.
What about scheduling in your calendar phone calls with family and friends, a bath, a nap?
If you schedule these things that add meaning and richness to your life, you are much more likely to do them. These things might only take 5 minutes or 20 minutes of your time, but having them in your calendar is a reminder that YOU are just as important as everyone else in your calendar. You NEED looking after and time spent with you, and on you, also.
Self-nurturing and filling your life with things, people and activities that nourish your soul are essential for your life to feel rich and whole.
You maintain your car and recharge your phone as you know you need to do these things, so you need to revive yourself and manage your mental health and wellbeing as well.
According to the article, “6 Tips to Know When to Work & When to Rest” by Erica Ferguson:
The bottom line is this: work will always be there.
There will always be something that needs to be done or someone that needs help.
Knowing that you’ve got to establish clear boundaries about when you’ll work and when you’ll prioritize time for yourself.
Childhood: Think back to when you were a child. When people asked you, “What did you want to do when you grew up? Or, what did you want to be? What did you say?”
Are you doing it?
If not, why not?
Could you start to learn, or do something in line with your childhood passions or desire?
According to an article in Psychology Today, called, “Childhood Play: The Key to Finding Your Natural Gifts” Lisa Manterfield speaks about the difference between skills and gifts.
Often as adults, we adopt as work, the skills we found we were good at, but the things we were passionate about, our gifts, have been left behind.
It is our gifts that often fuel our passion and feed our souls, and bring real meaning and value to our lives.
Did you have a passion, a gift, a love of something as a child, that you could incorporate back into your adult life today if you have let it lapse?
Is this still your desire? Why have you given it up? If you incorporated it into your life again, how would you feel?
What did you do as a child that made you feel alive, and that you LOVED doing? Do you still want to? Do you think you would still enjoy this?
Put it back into your life.
Go and PLAY. Have fun.
Look up other adults online or in your local area who may have the same passions (if it is a group activity). Find out when they meet. Arrange to meet up. If you cannot find a group, start one up. Advertise. Look for your “tribe.” If you keep looking hard enough, you will find people who love to do the same things as you do.
It doesn’t matter if this is all you have in common. Get together and have fun in this ONE area.
It doesn’t matter if your politics are different, your religious views, your cultures, your race, your gender. For once, put all this aside and go back to the play of your childhood.
Did you ever ask another kid before you played with them, “Oh, what religion are you?” “Oh, I’m sorry I can’t play with you now.” NO of course not.
So stop it. STOP doing this as an adult.
Start playing with other adults like when you were a kid. If you need to agree to limit your arrangement to just that activity and STAY OFF other topics so you all can have fun and not be aware of your “differences,” then do so.
Protect your PLAY time fiercely.
Do you make time every WEEK to do some fun things either just for yourself or with your partner or a friend that you enjoy passionately?
For example, if you enjoy eating Italian, but you can’t afford to eat out at an Italian restaurant every week, could you attend an Italian cooking class? If you cannot do a class, could you buy the ingredients with a friend and cook up an Italian feast?
Look outside the box, think outside the box, and find ways to make and bring FUN back into your life.
“Enthusiasm is the yeast that makes your hopes shine to the stars. Enthusiasm is the sparkle in your eyes, the swing in your gait. The grip of your hand, the irresistible surge of will and energy to execute your ideas.”~ Henry Ford
Movement: Get moving. Not all of us love to exercise, being outside, or sports, but moving our bodies is one way of feeling alive, energizing and thrusting us back into motion when we feel stagnate.
Do you like to dance? Do you like music? What about swimming?
One of the times in my life I felt most alive was when as a teenager my father took our whole family on a hike or “tramp” (as it is called in New Zealand) for four days, and we had to swim each day in the river that’s water came straight from melted ice off the glacier.
Have you ever been so cold, your flesh went red and felt like it was “burning” after you got out of the water as you were so cold?
My teeth chattered so violently if I had false teeth they would have fallen out. I lay on a rock in the sun to warm up which took about 20 minutes, and the warmth of the sun dried me and lulled me into a near sleep. Laying on that rock, shivering, feeling the heat of the sun on my back, the wind on my skin drying me out, and the roaring sound of the river is a memory I can capture in a moment just by thinking back.
I tell you right now — I have NEVER felt so alive.
So human. So aware of my physicality, my human body and all my senses as in those moments.
We have a group of swimmers in my local community who meet every morning, come rain or shine in all weathers and seasons and swim in the small sheltered beach about 50 meters from my home. It means I would have to get up about 5 am, but I am seriously thinking of joining them.
Do I like getting up every morning early? Do I like to dip myself into cold water in the middle of winter, or go outside in the pouring rain?
Not necessarily. But you know what. I will undoubtedly KNOW I am alive.
Find something that jolts or stimulates one of your physical senses and DO it, as this will help connect you to your body, especially if you are doing a job that requires you to be “in your head” most of the day.
This is why some people enjoy the gym or running or swimming, as the intense physicalness of the exercise stimulates their nervous system and “enlivens” them.
So, to summarize
SLEEP if you have identified that REST is what you primarily need to “light your fire and passion for feeling alive” again. Do not mistake leisure for REST.
If you need to PLAY and add to your life elements of fun and passion that may be lacking, then you can start small.
Add the little things that bring joy and lushness to your world, and then progress to more regular habits that you may have forgotten from childhood that you loved, and enable you to “lose yourself” in the fun and excitement of living.
“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” — Oprah Winfrey