What does it mean to live in your life? Well, for starters, where are you? Are you here right now reading these words, assimilating them into your semantic memory, making sense out of them, or are you thinking, “Why did I just send that text to that guy?” or “Why did I say that? How was I so stupid?” If it is the latter, you and I, my friend, share a common defect.
Our flaw is that we inhabit our mind. We build a nice little home in this tiny (although seemingly big) space. We decorate it with some Pier 1 furniture, Anthropologie curtains and maybe one of those Sealy Posturepedic mattresses.
We make it so comfortable that we can’t get out. And why would we? This is what we are used to. We live here after all.
But, what if you could live somewhere different? I don’t want to sound cliché and ask, “Why don’t you live in the present?” Because although I urge everyone to cultivate the ability to do so, I think it can be hard to understand what that means. So, I’m going to urge for you to do something else. Why not live in your life?
“Um, yeah, I live in my life, I’m breathing right now, I just had a sandwich a couple of hours ago and I’m about to go take a piss in a few,” you say. Well, that’s not what I mean. What does it mean to live? Think about it. Yes, you can say that to live is to walk around this earth, accumulate a few good relationships here and there, get a job, a steady income, etc. But, can you do those things joyfully?
Because doing them joyfully is what cultivates your ability to live in your life. Because doing those things without joy, without actually living, produces the fears and insecurities that occupy space in the home of your mind hosted by a seemingly trustworthy puppet master. This puppet master may have aesthetic talent yet is dictating what is safe so you don’t have to come out, what is real so you don’t have to expand to become braver, thus preventing you from going outside your comfort zone to discover what is beyond your Anthropologie curtains.
Don’t get me wrong, I kind of like my puppet master. She has great taste and has helped me out immensely. She has allowed me to develop a passion for research and psychology. She sparks my imagination, which can be fun and useful. She cultivates some of the vividness, brightness, and entertaining facets of my mind. However, she has taken me away from myself, my friends, romantic relationships as well as professional ones. She has confused my perception, altered my reality and locked me away.
As I get older, I’m realizing that using my puppet master to analyze my life and myself hasn’t gotten me very far. It hasn’t benefited my relationships with others and most importantly, myself. All it has accomplished thus far is a pressure to live outside of my life and further into my head, catapulting me into a dark cave of question marks and expletives, misunderstanding and more questions. It’s like a dark basement that unlocks with a key generated by my decision to walk down some creepy and unstable steps and leave the intense beauty that is right in front of me.
I’ve always wanted a beautiful big life. I’ve wanted to be loved, love, and live joyfully. I’ve wanted to see the world, get my PhD, make life long best friends, fall in love with my soul mate, adopt a dog, have children, be of service, and eat the occasional ice-cream cone. I never thought that thinking about these things and questioning them so deeply would take me further away from them. It’s only when I’ve leaped into the process of grasping my dreams that I am able to not only receive them, but also live joyfully in that process. Moreover, it’s when I am able to live outside of my mind that seeks to confuse and cut the string attached to my puppet master, that I acquire clarity.
You see, my mind, like I said, has served me. I value it. I think it is one of best assets. But, I’ve come to discover that it’s merely a tool that I can use . It is not me. Using it to question my life and my dreams and so on does no good simply because it’s very limited. It can’t comprehend the entirety of my big beautiful life in one, two, or a thousand moments. It is simply too small.
All of the beauty in my life can only be felt. If analyzed through the lens of my mind, only intellectualization will occur. And even when a small percentage of reality can be seen through my mind, it will be quickly distorted depending on how I’d like the topic under analysis to fit into the current imagined equation of my life. And what does that serve those around me and myself? Nothing.
I think, as of now, I’m done with exploring through my head. Life, with its magic and mystery and jungles and beaches, is far more interesting. And with all that around us, how can you not grasp that life is to be lived and leaped into.
So go explore! Leave the dark basement of your head, cut the string, and live in the light open space of your life! Oh, and most importantly, throw away the key.