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What Inspires Your Mind and Makes Your Heart Leap?

If your mind is searching for clues to answer this question you are not alone.  Often people are unable to answer this simple question because they are living in what I call “survival mode”.  I happen to be a master at operating in survival mode as I have spent years living in it.   Even today I occasionally  get caught in a wave that tugs me back in that direction.  What I have learned is that when your day to day revolves around chasing your next have to it is not uncommon to feel numb and/or uninspired by your life.

Survival mode is usually sparked by a life changing planned or unplanned event.  It could have been caused by the birth of a child, an ill parent, you starting a new job or possibly your own  business.   It could be a combination of many things; there are endless possibilities.  Whatever happened it seriously disrupted your day to day life.  Maybe it felt like a tsunami, or maybe little by little, the time you spent taking care of your physical, mental and social needs evaporated.

When you are living in survival mode, often, you are neglecting important areas of your life (your health, your career, personal life… what ever it may be).  However in most moments all your energy is focused on getting through the day.  When you wake up in in survival mode it is not uncommon that you immediately leap into action, worried about how you will get it all done.  Even if little to none of your have to’s excite you, the stress propels you forward.

The most side serious effect of survival mode is that your life begins not to resemble you.  Your needs and desires stop being met and you no longer feel inspired or excited about how you spend your time.  Even a simple question, like What do you do for fun?, becomes difficult to answer.   If the people around you (work, significant other, kids, etc… ) are clear about what they want and are trying to fulfill their needs they may be looking for your help.  It is easy to say yes to them, without realizing that this may mean that you are saying no to you.  The times that you feel frustrated and even resentful can be softened with the satisfaction that comes from helping others.  One of the perks of being needed is that it may help you avoid the unknown.  You can claim, with reason, that you do not have time to think about it and/or make changes.

If you resonate with what I am talking about you have a choice.  You can continue to live in survival mode or find ways to break free.  Survival mode is not a life long sentence.  If you cannot connect to your needs and desires it is nearly impossible to get them met.  The cycle of filling other peoples needs and your life not moving forward will continue.  Living in survival mode for an extended period of time means that you are helping others live their life and forgetting to live your own.  Are you ready to start living your live again?  If you need a reminder, please know that you deserve to love your life!


Action Ideas & Tips:

Are you ready to re-connect with what inspires your mind and makes your heart leap?  

1)  Make Regular Appoints with Yourself

Make yourself a priority.  Put time on your calendar to give your mind breathing space.  It may be helpful to decide that during this time you will do something that is relaxing and adopt the airline take off policy, turning off anything that has a power switch or battery.  Eliminating distractions allows us to tune into ourselves.  

A few ideas… go for a run, take a bath, read a book, meditate or paint. 


2)  Start Asking Yourself Questions 

If you wanted to get to know another person you would ask them questions and listen intently to their answers.  You can get to know yourself by asking questions like the ones below and exploring where that takes your thoughts.  Record this in some way.

A few ideas to record your thoughts… write in a journal, record yourself in audio or type the answers on your computer.

A few questions to get you started…  What did you do for fun before?  What energizes you?  What do you miss most about your life?

3) Take Yourself Out 

Make plans to go out with yourself.  Explore something that interests you to see how you like it.  When things get hectic, it is easy to push your needs aside and that is where accountability can help show how committed you are. There are many studies that show when people have something financial at stake they are much more likely to follow through.  If you want to work out and are having problems getting your butt to the gym, hiring a trainer can increase your commitment level.

A few ideas…  take a class, commit to donating to a cause you don’t agree with if you don’t meet your deadline or consider hiring a coach.


~ Something to Think About ~

 If You Don’t Know Where You’re Going, Any Path Will Do.  

                                                                                                  ~ Poignant advice from the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland

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Hope for Holiday Sadness

December 6, 1981.  There was deep sadness in my moms eyes when she woke me up and, trying not to cry, delivered the news that my brother Pat had been in an accident.  He didn’t make it.  I was twelve and my mind didn’t want to believe what she was saying.  Am I am still dreaming?  There must be some mistake!… were the thoughts I wanted to believe.  He was weeks away from coming home from his first semester in college to celebrate the holidays.

How do you celebrate any holiday when there is a hole in your heart and at your table?  That was 30 years ago and I still miss him.  I often wonder what Pat would be like and how life would be different if that drunk driver would have been smart enough to take a cab or drive home with a friend.  It took a while to come to terms with the fact that nothing could change what happened… I could not bring him back.  I believe the last thing he would want is for me to be sad that he is not physically here.

How do you handle loss as well as move on?  Birthdays, anniversaries and holidays are the consistent reminders that heighten your awareness of what you are already missing.  Although you can not change the past you can choose how you want to react to it.  Do you want to pretend it doesn’t bother you even though it does? Do you want to sink deeper into the sadness?  Or do you want to find positive ways to wake up from the nightmare that has become your reality?  Do you feel you can’t talk to people about it without being a downer?  Do you not know who to talk to because you don’t know who will understand?  Losing someone you are close to can leave an awkward gap that can leave you feeling uncertain about how to move on.

I wanted to know how to keep Pat close to my heart, honor him and feel good about moving on.  I knew people who went to grave sites to visit their loved ones, but I found this uncomfortable and more depressing.  It was a relief to learn there is no right way to remember someone.  It allowed me to discover alternate ways to express my feelings in ways that felt comfortable and meaningful to me.

A few questions that may help you find your path… What did this person want for you?  Before Pat left for college, he told me that I was never to even try a drug and warned if I did he would find out and kick my butt.  I promised him I would not and to honor his memory I never did.   What did this person do to make you feel special? It is often the small gestures that make the biggest impact, it could be as simple as being diligent about staying in contact.  How can you give to others what your loved one gave to you?   If you loved going over to their house, you may choose to create an environment that others love to visit.    Are there places you can go to remember the good times you had together?  We donated money to a park near our home in memory of Pat.  It was easier for me to visit and remember him in a positive environment filled with laughter.  Is there something you can do to help others avoid what happened to your loved one?  Maybe you could donate money to a cause or create an new environment that will help others.

Whatever you decide… I believe it is important to acknowledge that it is ok and normal to miss people as well as realize there are people you can talk to and people to whom you can express your feelings.  When you find uplifting ways remember and honor people it can allow you to move forward and enjoy life.  With all my heart I believe it is what our loved ones would want us to do.

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What Inspires Your Mind and Makes Your Heart Leap?

If your mind is searching for clues to answer this question you are not alone.  Often...
article post
thumbnail Bariloche, Argentina article post

Hope for Holiday Sadness

December 6, 1981.  There was deep sadness in my moms eyes when she woke me up and,...
article post
thumbnail Cape Town, South Africa article post