I've recently become aware of a deep craving in my soul. It's a fire that burns, burns, burns "like fabulous roman candles exploding like spiders amongst the stars"--a craving so unquenchable that no vice could quench it.
Not chocolate, not wine, not work addiction, not late nights mindlessly surfing Facebook.
I'll dub this "the Jack Kerouac Condition" and classify it as being "desirous of everything [and nothing] at the same time."
Here's the thing. You, appreciated reader? [Yes--I'm talkin' to YOU!] YOU are a person for Jack Kerouac too. YOUR soul is a ball of unquenchable light that yearns to illuminate YOUR path.
If you can't see that, it's only because you're not allowing yourself to see it.
Allow me to explain...
I Can't Get No Satisfaction
I didn't know I had the Jack Kerouac Condition until I very rigidly decided to renovate my life a few months ago. I've never been keen on the concept of New Years' Resolutions, but it seemed to me that 1/1/13 was as good a day as any to become the best self I'm meant to be.
So I committed to consistently rocking the habits that enable my best self to thrive. Not just SOME of the habits. ALL of 'em. "Go big or go home": that's my over-the-top motto.
So I've been going to bed earlier, waking up before the kids, starting every day with freshly juiced vegetables, not using my computer after dinner, limiting my sugar intake, getting rid of clutter, reading more books, exercising every day…yadda yadda yadda. It's been a while since I've used television or alcohol to mindlessly pass my time, but if I still did, I'd'a nixed those suckers, too.
Pretty soon, I started to feel INSATIABLE. I knew I was craving SOMETHING and I knew it wasn't any of my vices I craved. I also DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO SATISFY MY CRAVING.
It was driving me crazy.
Testing a Solution
I posed this conundrum to my therapy [aka "accountability"] group recently. I told 'em that I can't get no satisfaction.
A keen group member observed, "I don't wanna state the obvious, but you just said you've eliminated all your vices. Maybe you're being too rigid. Cut yourself a few breaks. Live a little."
Rigidity IS one of my patterns, so I jumped on this advice. Plus, I liked this suggestion much better than whatever my therapist ["coach," if you prefer] was talking about when she told me I'm forgetting my "why's." Hogwash, that sounds like!
[For the record, I actually WAS forgetting my "why's," but that's neither here nor there now, is it?]
So I headed to the bar. The candy bar, that is.
But not even a Snickers satisfied me. That's when I knew I had it bad.
So I jumped to the big leagues and ate a lemon-filled, chocolate-glazed donut so fast that I literally searched the floor to see if I had dropped part of it.
That donut, my friends? That donut came close to muffling the hunger of my soul. It came awfully, deliciously, frighteningly close.
The Ah-Ha Moment
That's when I realized there are two ways that we can address our innermost cravings:
1) Figure out what our soul desires and DO it - BE it - THRIVE from it - SHINE with it, or
2) Muffle it with food or late-night Facebooking or wine or an overwhelming schedule and then wonder why we feel so damn unfulfilled all the time.
When I took away all of the strategies I normally use to mindlessly pass the time, it suddenly became obvious that I was never craving any of those things that I thought I had craved in the first place.
All of the times that I THOUGHT I wanted chocolate, it was actually something bigger that I wanted. The chocolate just made the yearning more bearable. It dulled the flame.
My point today is not to help you discover WHAT you burn for. It's to awaken you to the awareness THAT you burn.
Because you DO burn, my friend. Like a fabulous roman candle exploding like spiders amongst the stars.
Are you aware of the fire that burns in YOUR soul?
If not, try this:
1) Brainstorm which activities you resort to when you're feeling overwhelmed. (Popular answers = tv, internet, shopping, wine, frantic attack of to-do list, etc.)
2) Dedicate one full weekend to doing none of those things.
3) When you feel tempted to do one of those things, just ask yourself, "is that what I'm really craving right now? Will [the vice you crave] FULFILL this yearning, or just muffle it?"
4) Notice what comes up.
5) Share your thoughts with me in the comments. Writing down your observations will help you remember them next time you have a craving.
The universe continues to delight and astound me with the incredible opportunities it puts in my path when I follow my truth.
Around the same time that I realized I've been masking my inner fire, a lovely reader told me that I have a lot in common with her boss, Dr Judith Wright, and that, if I'd like, she'd be happy to make an introduction (THANK YOU, MEGAN!!).
I quickly learned that, among Judith's MANY successes, she is widely renowned for coining the term "soft addiction," which refers to "those seemingly harmless habits like over-shopping, overeating, watching too much TV, endlessly surfing the internet, procrastinating - that actually keep us from the life we want."
Okay, so…THAT sounds familiar.
It gets better. Judith (along with her husband, Bob) just released her third book, "Transformed!" which outlines the six scientific stages of personal transformation, teaching people how to become their "next most radiant self." She devotes an entire CHAPTER to yearning.
What we have found here, folks, is a verified EXPERT in "Lettin' It Shine." She is the perfect person to kick off the "Let It Shine" podcast series that I've been intending to start, and I'm so excited to speak with her tomorrow.
Our conversation will be recorded and downloadable in my next post, so keep an eye out for my "Let It Shine" podcast with Dr Judith Wright about the science of spectacular living!
Do you have any questions about your own journey with learning to allow yourself to shine that you'd like me to ask Judith?
Let me know in the comments and I'll try to fit it into the podcast!