Can We Master Anything?

We write and we believe through the act of writing we are being honest.

The paper, to the pen, to the hand, the arm, the head, the brain.

A straight line. Connected. Mind to output.

But there are no straight lines in this floating space of existence.

No full clarity, no open view of ourself. Not through anything, and not through writing.

Still, with whatever concept of mind we do have, we do our best to create, and that’s the best we can do.

I want to tell you that we can only write and write and in the practice of writing hope to distract ourselves from ourselves and therein discover some form of truth. The salamander caught lounging under a rock.

The repetition of writing brings us to ourselves. It is not the connection of pen, paper, mind, but the meditation, the recurrence of the act which takes us out of our mind to a place not quite within our own boundaries.

Why do we write? Because in the habit of doing so, the writingitself an entity unearthed—begins to take over.

When we learn something new—horseback riding, let’s say—all thoughts must be about technique, procedure, maintaining one’s fears, ensuring the safety of both one’s self and the horse…

With enough practice and repetition comes an intuitive ability to ride that transcends any outline of the idea of what learning horseback riding once meant to you.

Then, it was you on a horse. Two disparate beings learning to cooperate enough that an enjoyable experience could be had.

horseback riding saddle art

One might even say that your focus was centered on control. Control + discipline = mastery.

Yet somehow it happens that the idea of control mixes with the art of riding and begins morphing into an occurrence of symbiosis.

A point is reached (with the right kind of practice) where the horse understands your desires not with reins or clicks or one-word-utterances, but with seeming intuition. It senses your gaze or feels the vague pressure of your inner thigh against its broadly ribbed stomach.

Now you’ve reached a place far beyond the idea of mastering the art of horseback riding; instead you’ve arrived to the place where the art of horseback riding has mastered you.

Think of an art or skill you’ve mastered.

Is it you who really feels so powerful over it, or have you relinquished yourself to a holistic understanding, one that enables you—not itto be overcome?

A professional basketballer is not thinking consciously during the game; he is in a state of flow. 

In the flow state, mental chatter, sense of time, doubts, distractions, and anything outside the utterly-present moment all fall to the wayside. The created spirit of years of effort takes control, and conscious thinking becomes unnecessary.

A chessmaster, though years have been spent practicing moves and variations, does not win a set of 40 simultaneously-played games by meticulously analyzing each move to be made; instead, he lets his long-earned knowledge overtake him, dunking him into a state of flow.  

Though effort was made to nurture the knowledge, the work, in truth, was only to turn oneself into fertile grounds from which the skill itself could grow strong enough to stand on two feet.

We write not to master writing, but to feed the fledgling art within us. Only when strong enough can it allow us to relinquish, if only briefly, the misplaced duty we’ve placed upon ourselves to remain conscious and in-control.

We cannot master an art, we can only hope that it is able to master us.

 


Want to know more about this flow business? Watch Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Ted talk on the state of flow, and maybe even find out the answer to “What makes a life worth living?”

 

 

Otherwise, leave a comment, you creator you, and sign up to follow in your inbox!

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“Act As If” The World is Your Oyster…and Maybe?

“Act as if.”

Back in October, I set up a trip to a mountain-nestled town in Tuscany where I could housesit in beautiful isolation for a bit over three weeks.  

Having decided in August that I wished to transfer my focus over to writing and completion of the book I’d shelved a couple years earlier, I felt a strong need to press the “reset” button on life and start off with a clean slate.

An old stone home in Italy where nobody knew me, where I’d have no local transportation, and where a temperamental autumn would keep me homebound was just the ticket.

Reminders of a past life—one in which I lived in Los Angeles spending days at the whim of an agent’s unfeeling directives and nights going to friends’ comedy shows—were scarce.

The distracted and disconnected life was abandoned, and a new one—life as a writer—began.

It worked.

Exactly as planned, it worked.

I woke up early, journaled, fed the alpacas, dogs, and cat, spent time creating this very blog each morning, edited the book each afternoon, then spent the rest of the day devouring books.

Halcyon. Those were halcyon, perfect days.

In that mere month, I finished the book’s first draft.

alpaca kissing meggan

i also received kisses from eyeless alpacas.

Then I returned to America. November and December were hectic, filled with travel and general movement.

January brought me back to solitude, but I grew frazzled in the two months it took to get there. Not just frazzled, but I suppose also some of the adrenaline had begun to wear off.

I think often of that time in Tuscany…why did everything work then, and why can’t I recapture that everything now?

But that woman then and me now are, in fact, one and the same. Of course I can recapture it now.

Twelve Step programs have a saying (actually, they have a few sayings):

“Act as if.”

 

You can probably figure out what it means, but I’ll offer a little furtherance: Act as if means to play pretend with hope that your feelings and life follow the intent.

You might also say “Fake it ’til you make it.

It’s so simple—it’s playing pretend—yet so much resistance arises (for me, at least) in implementing certain healthy behaviors.

Take note:

This is not support group mumbo jumbo, these are scientifically-backed mottos.

You’ve probably heard how smiling actually makes people happier or people with botox literally become less angry overall because they are less able to make angry faces.

These are just a few ways researchers have proven that we are much more able to influence our feelings with our actions than we think.

I’ve been working on inhabiting this space, this life, as a writer for about eight months now.

My mom likes to tell people I’m “in transition.”

Whenever I overhear this I try silently to catch the eye of whomever she’s telling and watch them wonder whether I used to be a man.

In working alone, boss-less, I’ve realized something:

I’m a real tough cookie to work with.

Okay, I actually knew that before going solo, but I thought maybe I’d be easier if I was only working with myself.

Turns out I’m a brat either way.

I tried the laissez faire approach with myself, ascribing to vague daily or weekly schedules and letting the project du heure be dictated by the day’s feelings, but just like hips, progress doesn’t lie:

Things just aren’t getting done.

I’ve been letting action follow feeling versus trusting that feeling follows action.

To fix it, I’m going to have to let the completion of my book (which is my priority) be guided by action, not feeling.

My latest strategy is something I used to enact in college: treating the schedule I create for myself like an actual work schedule.

When gainfully employed, I show up. I stay til the end. I allocate tasks appropriately. Why I allow that to go out the window when working for myself I cannot explain, but it’s time to change that.

happy employee in office at desk

this is the person I’m going to become in my new self-employed life. Look at how happy he is. Becoming this man will complete the “transition” my mom talks about.

It’s time to act as if I’m working for someone else because (unfortunately) I’m subpar when only working for me.

Poor employee and poor boss, Jesus.

The plan is to schedule out my week like I have an “actual” job for which absence can get me fired and fake it ‘til I make it.

Right now, for example, I want to begin proofreading this post and try to get it published today, but I’m acting as if this book author thing is my real job and blog time is up—time to go work on the book for the next couple of hours.

Let’s hope this works.

 


 

If you’ve been riding along the Roadwritten path you know I try lots of things to boost productivity—meditation, dog-training yourself, music training, being robotic, the list goes on.

They all work to an extent, but it seems like I’m still trying to find some magic potion.

What works for you?!

Leave a comment!

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Forget Writer’s Block, Let’s Talk About Life Block

In my last post I kind of danced around this idea of having what I’ve come to realize is Life Block.

Oh, wait, you haven’t heard of Life Block?

Well look, you know what writer’s block is…

Life Block is writer’s block…but with life.

It’s the feeling of mild paralysis, of being stuck. Not stuck in a specific arena, necessarily, but simply stuck within life’s general parameters—maybe because you don’t feel like moving forward, and maybe because you don’t know where to go.

Allow me to explain…

Sometimes we “creatives” get a little overwhelmed with ideas.

Fanciful is an adjective that I considered inserting before ideas just now.

I didn’t, though, because while there are often fanciful ideas in the mix, it’s often the fanciful ones that bring the most glory, so it doesn’t make sense to disparage the process.

(Anybody remember that time we put a man on the moon?)

stop sign on empty road in desert

I’m going to write this post because I’m hoping I’m not alone out here in Life Block world. Perhaps you can relate and make me feel like not so much of a…big baby?

We’re nearing a year that I decided to leave acting in Los Angeles and (more-or-less) devote myself to writing.

In that year, I’ve visited over ten cities hoping to find one that beckoned me to stay, I’ve launched (and often abandoned) a couple handfuls of projects, I’ve very nearly finished my book, I’ve felt supremely ecstatic and supremely terrified, and I have, for the most part, been pretty happy about it all.

Still, embarking on a career path where each brick is laid only when (and if) I take the next step, I’ve often felt as though the future is very, very opaque.

I’m not going to say “dark,” because indeed I don’t feel like it is dark (yet?), but the simple fact of not being able to see the future at all is mosquito buzz annoying at best and car crash discouraging at worst.

I don’t know how I’ll make money, where I’ll be living, or if any of the past year’s efforts will result in any sort of reward.

There is a lot of faith going into all this stuff and it’s coming from a girl who has nearly always been agnostic.

When I left Los Angeles, I thought the path would become much more clear as I moved along.

It hasn’t.

Which is fine, really. Even if I thought I knew what the future held, that too could go completely pear-shaped.

But sometimes it’s like choosing to move forward is the equivalent of choosing to stick my hand into a mangy, mossy black hole beckoning from the side of a tree.

What am I going to find?? A chomping slimy rat thing or the key to Narnia?

(I know, I know, the entrance to Narnia had nothing to do with keys in trees.)

I could blame lots of things for the slowness of my actions lately, but really, the only thing to blame here is Life Block.

To explain, I’ll talk about writing.

When we have writer’s block, it’s usually either because

  1. We are not informed enough on the subject at-hand
  2. We’re fearful of the finished product (often subconsciously)
  3. We’re simply too disinterested to put in the work.

My own brand of Life Block is some blend of the three, but suffice it to say that there is only one way to deal with each:

Start moving.

girls typing on computer on bed

I have lived in a state of hesitation now for too many days.

If it is that I am not informed enough on how I would actually like to live, I must begin exploring options by going to a place and getting my feet planted.

In the writer’s world, this is research.

If it is a matter of being fearful toward the possibility of failure, I must remind myself that I can’t control outcomes, I can only do my best with every present moment.

In the writers world, we do this by holding true to that which flows from desk-bound fingers and ignoring the dread of judgment.

If it is a matter of not being willing to sit my butt down and finish projects, I must simply make the decision to just do things.

In the writer’s world, this is showing up to the desk—no matter what— and sitting there for as long as it takes for the fingers to begin moving.

 

“Don’t wait for the muse…he’s a hardheaded guy who’s not susceptible to a lot of creative fluttering. This isn’t the Ouija board or the spirit-world we’re talking about here, but just another job like laying pipe or driving long-haul trucks. Your job is to make sure the muse knows where you’re going to be every day from nine ’til noon or seven ’til three.”

-Stephen King

 

Life Block captures us.

We are all, at times, frozen in inaction when the prospect of moving forward is simply too incomprehensible, too bleak, or too perilous.

All I can say is this:

 

When lost in a maze, there is only one thing I advise against: 

Remaining still.

 

So here I am, once blocked, now moving.

Let’s hope it sticks.

 


 

What are your Life Blocks? Does that concept even make sense?

I know that in the “normal” world, most people are able to fluidly move from education, to job, to family, etc. without getting all blocked-up. But as you may have gathered, I’m living a less-clear route.

Can you relate? Can you tell me about it?

Leave a comment below or subscribe to the mailing list!

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Mental Fog and Lost Desires

The great thing about real fog—the misty, creeping stuff—is that you tend to know it’s there.

You look out the window in the morning or descend a road into some rolling country valley and you know that you must treat the world, the outside, with care.

Safety becomes a concern—It’s automatic.

Turns out mental fog doesn’t work that way.

Instead, it’s in you as much as you’re in it.

It’s snaking through your ears, resting upon the crevices of your brain, wafting out your mouth as you smile and chat with a friend…

Without realizing it, you’ve simply become enveloped.

hazy country road with fog

It’s only when the haze clears that you realize it had been happening at all.

There are hints. Yes…Sometimes there are hints. You notice, perhaps, that a project has fallen to the wayside. Or you haven’t been eating with your spouse at night. Maybe the exercise regime has disappeared.

Always, always, we have excuses for these waning events.

One cannot ignore objective evidence of a shirked behavior, but how one chooses to interpret the evidence may be fully subject to the brain fog’s fancy.

You tell yourself it’s boredom, it’s business, it’s simply a little break.

Sometimes it really is that simple; nothing’s the matter and you are just cycling out of a phase before cycling back in.

And sometimes it’s the fog.

I don’t know when it began creeping in on me, but if I compare my work ethic over the past month (or so…?) to that of, say, last October, the difference is startling.

Monstrous even, if I’m feeling dramatic.

Back then, I worked on my book every. day. Lately it’s shrunk to one or two days per week, and now is when it needs the most attention.

Let me point out that the book was much, much more fresh back in autumn. I was in the phase of initial edits versus the five-ish I’ve processed by now.

Now it’s that banana that somehow made its way to the top of the fridge and was forgotten there, ever-ripening, for weeks.

overripe bananas in the kitchen

this would make an excellent banana bread. That’s optimism, folks.

I am going to finish this book sooner rather than later.

Sometimes coming out of the brain fog just takes hitting rock bottom…

Something jarring to cast you to the ground, snap you to your feet, and permit you from that base vantage to look up and see the overhang of haze in which you’ve been residing.

I’ve allowed people to seep into my goals so much that they somehow morphed into the goals themselves (I talk about this more in my last post).

This isn’t such a bad thing, on its own. Relationships are important.

But me? It seems like I can’t balance my social/love life and work life very well. In a given day I can do one, but probably not both.

It’s not that my mind gets overwhelmed, per se; it just seems that it gets filled by one or the other…something like that.

Add to this that I am a people-pleasing perfectionist and it turns out that the idea of disappointing a friend or lover by not spending time with them versus working is practically painful.

Relationships with people get me caught up in a net; tangled there, floating, I can’t seem to reach my other priorities.

fishing net

i’m all up in this and it stinks…like fish

This is embarrassing to write about.

It’s probably different things for different people, at least if you’re one of uswe who are easily distracted—who find ourselves, at times, coming out of the haze.

My distraction drug of choice seems to be people (especially non-female people), but maybe yours is alcohol, partying, exercise, video games, your job, volunteer work, etc.

All of those things, when done in reasonable amounts, are fine.

But I’m referring to them as drugs because for some of us, that’s exactly how they behave: We use them (sometimes subconsciously) as an escape from the thing we actually believe we should be doing.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a post where I have some sort of solution.

What I can say is that it seems I’ve recently come out of one of these brain fogs.

It’s always strange, this process. I find myself saying:

“But wait…where did I go?”

Yet here I am, with the fire slowly rekindling and the realization that much work awaits, and this time I’m ready to take it on.

Rather than completely sequester myself off from humans like I did over the winter, I’m going to try to bring a bit more social balance into my life with hopes that I won’t be so easily thrown off next time.

One idea I’ve toyed with for months now is that of no dating.

It’s not an idea I love…I mean, I’m in my prime over here.

Still, I’m going to attempt it. I’m going to do it because every time dating happens it’s a huuuge distraction and it ends up being…not so much?

And I have to finish this book.

Your prayers…I need them.

 


 

So what is your distraction drug of choice?

Or are you one of those people who can just get stuff done when it needs to get done?

I mean, I get it…if you have a family or other dependents, accomplishing goals (I think?) becomes a whole lot easier. You have to get that paycheck.

Oh boohoo, I’m a victim of my own leisure.

But really—maybe there’s something else you’d like to do on a creative-level or just personal passion-project type deal. How do you do it? How do you not?

Leave a comment! (oh, and subscribe by clicking here.)

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Decision Fatigue: How Your Brain is (Surprisingly) Tired

Are you that person who can stick to routine no matter what the circumstance?

Who can set the phone down after a crisis call from your sister and then lace up for your afternoon run?

Or wake up after your first night in Paris and knock out the hour of writing you accomplish every morning?

Or receive an offer for free nachos and not cancel the healthy dinner you’d planned for yourself?

If you’re that person, this post is not for you.

smothered nachos

how could you do this to me

I wish this post was not for me. But it is for me. It is so for me that I am the one writing it.

Do you ever spend so much time trying to figure out what to do with your time that the figuring out of things becomes a significant chunk of what you actually do with your time?

Yes, the subtext is that nothing actually ends up getting done. Subtext is great, isn’t it?

I know there are other ways.

That’s part of why I frustrate myself; why am I refusing to act on better alternatives?

I could go the Derek Sivers route—apparently he’ll go months at a time for 12 hours a day doing nothing except for eat, sleep, and work on a project (this I learned in a spectacular Tim Ferriss Show interview).

Or I could go the seemingly-common route, compartmentalizing activities to fit in nice little blocks throughout the day.

compartment shelves

compartments, right? I mean, knitters get it.

Perhaps I could do day-longs—one day I work on the book, the next day the blog, the next on one of my other projects.

I have options, folks. I have lots of great technique options.

But it seems lately that the one I go with most is the deliberation option.

Part of the problem is that when I bounce around location-wise there are logistical things to deal with: is there a workspace in the new home, how do I get around, do I need to be home at certain times for the animals, etc?

And because I’m a perfectionist I want to be sure I plan out the new living routine just right.

The absolutely idiotic side to that is that I spend so much mental energy trying to allocate my time “efficiently” that I blindly wear down the time clock in the process.

Ah, a lightbulbian interlude:

Decision Fatigue.

dim lightbulb in dark room

Do you know why I love writing?

It gives us answers.

It’s just occurred to me that I’m suffering from an acute case of Decision Fatigue-itus.

Fact:

The more decisions we make in a day, the worse we become at making decisions.

You want proofs?

Check out this study on decision fatigue. In it, judges who spend the whole day deciding on parole cases are repeatedly less likely to grant freedom to those who petition later in the day.

Turns out we’re not just wrestling with willpower, self-discipline, and basic intelligence.

Simply put:

As the day wears on, we get stupider with every decision.

 

“It’s not like getting winded or hitting the wall during a marathon. Ego depletion manifests itself not as one feeling but rather as a propensity to experience everything more intensely. “

NY Times “Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue?”

 

What has happened to me lately is that I haven’t noticed my decision queue getting congested.

Before housesitting in Austin, I was living in seclusion in Santa Fe and my day’s biggest decision was “Do I want green or black tea this morning?”

(Even that was/is pretty hard.)

Then came people and activities and travel. Decisions like, “What should I do with my remaining days? Whom should I see? Where next? Should l I repack? Should I stay in California after my next housesit?”

Blahhhh blah.

bbq beef rib and sides in austin

easily one of the most difficult decisions of my life: Where to begin?

Look, I know some of you reading this have actual adult/parent/spouse/boss big-deal decisions to make every day.

Respect.

You exercise that decision-making muscle like a boss and no doubt it is stronger than mine.

Difficult decisions mine often aren’t, but they still take up mental energy.

Being distracted by various geographical migrations (and maybe things like the opposite sex) has left me less mindful of my mental processes.

My therapist has often asked me:

 

“Are you living the unexamined life?”

 

Turns out sometimes I am.

It’s like I was lifting the decision weights, but not paying attention to form. Like sleepwalking weightlifting.

It’s taken me a few weeks to realize that my decision-making capabilities have become weak (af).

 

“When the brain’s regulatory powers weaken, frustrations seem more irritating than usual. Impulses to eat, drink, spend and say stupid things feel more powerful (and alcohol causes self-control to decline further).”

NY Times “Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue?”

 

If I’m not mindful toward the things going into my brain, I end up enfeebled and confused, a caged sugar glider trying to escape grasping human hands.

A Truman-show camera would show me doing lots of reading (digesting other brains to avoid my own), covering miles of Sacramento streets with earbuds in (podcasts & audiobooks, same intent as before), and cooking (I just know what to do already ::hair toss and careless shrug::)

In short: I’ve been putting important things off.

i used to be indecisive, not I'm not sure

The following shouldn’t sound like a hippie concept:

Mental energy is a thing.

In the realm of decision fatigue, mental energy might simply be called ego. There is only so much ego we can work with in a day, and if we let it leak out onto unimportant decisions, we have less of it to devote to important ones.

Researchers call this Ego Depletion.

The real kicker for those of us trying to get things done is that it often doesn’t really matter which project we work on, as long as we are making progress. (This doesn’t apply to deadline projects, but creative endeavor type things).

goalpost in front of sunset

In my case, I want need to begin making an income from writing. One voice tells me the quickest way is to finish my travel book, while another cheers on a different/easier book, and still another tells me to focus on this blog.

But you know what?

The correct path is not mine to know, and it certainly isn’t mine to control.

Now that I’m aware of the decision fatigue nest in my head, I’m going to spend less time deliberating and more time pre-deciding or drawing straws.

One immediate upside to this is that rather than ask myself if I should eat another piece of cheese, I’m just going to do it.

(I am a simple woman.)

I’ll choose something to work on, I’ll stop when I feel like stopping (rather than trying to decide whether it’s okay to stop), and then I’ll start with something else.

I’ll also designate specific times to check my phone, since that’s a particular issue of mine

(oh—you too?)

Be more like the robot.

robot sitting in front of a tree

maybe try to look happy for the rest of us if you’re going to go the robot route. You have no feelings anyway so don’t be selfish.

By the end of the day , whatever it is I worked on will be that much closer to completion. That’s all, and that is enough.

And look, I just finished a blog post.

Now what should I do?!

Just kidding.

 


 

If you want some ideas on avoiding ego depletion, check out this great Huffpost article with 8 Ways to Combat Decision Fatigue.

Also, if you research this yourself, you might find that lately there have been studies showing difficulty recreating findings on decision fatigue and ego depletion. Usually, I love Slate, but found their headline and content in “Everything is Crumbling” to be melodramatic for an article that turned out to not make any definite claims.

I scoured numerous studies and it seemed to be that the naysayers are just being recalcitrant (that’s an oversimplification, but still).

To me it’s obvious that studies on decision fatigue must to factor in how much a person actually cares about the various decisions at stake.

One study tried to measure ego depletion simply by having people do an exercise where they had to decide when to press a certain computer key. No emotional stakes there, so of course they won’t be as worn down as if they were trying to decide which button to press in order to save a mouse’s life or something.

Anyway, the concept of decision fatigue just makes sense, and even if it doesn’t, what could be the harm in being more mindful about the the things we think about?

The best part is that overcoming decision fatigue is relatively easy. Just chill the f— out.

What do you think?

Leave a comment! Oh, and you know…sign up for my email list!

 

You Choose: Feeling Good, Bad, or Right?

As a society, we focus too much on the idea of feeling good.

Everybody should be happy, everybody should be fit, and everybody should feeeeel good!

But it turns out striving toward feeling “good” as our baseline is the wrong pursuit.

Let’s face it:

We just won’t always feel good.

Instead, if you read on I’ll tell you how to restructure your well-being in a way that’s pressure-free toward feeling good.

(sneak preview: Coincidentally, it turns out that restructuring will also cause you to feel good.)

confetti explosion against the sky

Do you really want your brain to feel this way all the time?

The foundation for any true continuation of feeling good should be made of an action or state that feels right.

Doing the right thing—and I don’t mean morally, I mean the right thing for you—tends to get us feeling good sooner or later.

Agreed?

Sometimes we do bad things that feel good in the moment, but later on the bad feelings creep in. The foundation was faulty.  

Drugs, strippers, eating two pieces of cake, gambling, voting for Trump, et cetera come to mind.

What we should really be striving for is an inner state of feeling right.

Let me give you an example:

When I chose to follow the creative path of being a writer, there was not much analysis needed in making the decision.

The notion simply clicked—it felt right.

As I’ve explained before, it’s important to explore many avenues in life so that you can recognize feelings of a path’s “rightness” versus the paths we walk more experimentally.

a path in the woods

find yours and find it well.

After deciding to be a writer full-time, all I had to do was insert the puzzle pieces that would make my goal of earning an income fall into place.

Easy, right?

Sarcasm, right?

The process has not always felt “good.”

Examples?

-When people ask me what I write.

-When I’m feeling listless or lethargic.

-When I worry about the completely unforeseeable future and the time I’m spending without income.

Yet even when it has felt bad-ish, it has always felt right.

Ya dig?

Contrast that with my most recent career as an actor. It never felt right.

Often it felt good or easy—namely the instances in which I was stuffing my pockets with chocolate from the crafty table.

Everything else felt askew.

When I told people I was an actor, it was as though I was sharing a little joke with them.

The preparation for auditions and even for well-paying jobs always gave me anxiety. I don’t like being on other people’s schedules and I certainly don’t like having to smile just for appearances.

It’s amazing to look back and see that I seemed to know the work wasn’t fulfilling, yet stuck with it anyway because of its relative financial ease.

Are you doing something similar in your field?

office cubicles stacked

Before you keep reading:

It bears mentioning that recognizing whether your lifestyle feels “right” does require you to have at least some connection with your feelings.

Yeah, I know, it sucks. Some call me a robot, so I get that it’s not easy for everybody. But that’s just the way it is.

The fact is:

Making enough money tends to feel good.

Especially when you see the paycheck and especially when you pay the bills or buy that new thing you wanted (please buy me this thing I don’t need).

So overriding the contentment of solid finances, we need to be able to go to a deeper level and say to ourselves,

 

“But does this all feel right? Do I feel fulfilled?”

 

The baseline, the foundation upon which all good feelings should be built is a one of rightness.

Again, I don’t mean moral rightness (although that doesn’t hurt); I mean feeling fulfilled in your own self and actions.

That is the only foundation upon which any feelings of good can stand strongly and lastingly.

foundation of roman ruins

foundation, much?

And get this:

A foundation of bad is not just a bad foundation.

It’s something that grows. It sinks itself into your bones, settles in the pit of your stomach, then stretches out spindly arms to wrap a bony grip around your well-being.

Gross, yes.

A foundation of bad cannot be underestimated or brushed aside.

So don’t ask yourself if you’re feeling good. Good is secondary.

Ask yourself if you feel right.

The good will follow.

Fancy that.

 


 

I was first introduced to this idea of good, bad, and right in Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project.

It’s not a la-di-da sappy approach to feeling happy; it’s actually a very solid and logical approach to all this stuff. So yes, I recommend.

Also, if you made it this far, you deserve a song:

 


 

What do you think? Do you agree with focusing on “right” over “good?” Does good being secondary make sense to you?

And what do you do to feel good? Or right? Or whatever?

Leave a comment!

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