This morning I had chocolate cake for breakfast. No, it wasn’t a reward for something, I was not celebrating anything, I wasn’t even happy about anything. I just wanted to eat cake and do something a little out of the ordinary. Instead of my usual health conscious whole grain bread with skim milk, I decided to do what felt good and had nothing nutritional to add except for what some refer to as empty calories. It did feel good, not because of the chocolate, but because I broke the rule, I broke the monotony, the usual, the norm. I also did it because I am practicing something new I’d like to share. What I am practicing is living the feelings I intend to experience. Most of us have been taught either consciously or subconsciously that you work towards obtaining what you want, i.e., you go to school, you get educated, you get a job, you get married, you have kids, you buy a house, and then, (are you ready?) you are happy! Well, this way of living hasn’t exactly been the experience for many of us. Waiting and working towards happiness which is to be obtained at a later date, is a carrot we might never get to.
This is the same belief that tells us that if we had that job, that woman or man at our side, that house, a million dollars, etc. we’d be happy. In a sense, it is what makes happiness unattainable and something outside and out there to be had if we do x, y, and z, or worse yet, if we were just lucky. In my coaching sessions, I know that even if the client’s goal before they walked in was to have a new job, by the end of the session, they admit that it is the feeling that the new job brings that is what they ultimately want. None of what we want is just material, the material part is connected to an emotion that we are seeking. So, what I am practicing is cutting to the chase, and getting to the emotion. In other words, I am celebrating now instead of later. Take this morning for example, I did not want to feel like I was stuck in a Monday morning rut or the blues, so I thought “what would I be eating if I wasn’t in a rut?” “What would I be eating if today was a very special day and I was celebrating something important?” I took that further: “what would I be wearing if I was going to a meeting I wanted to go to, what would I say and how would I act if I had everything I wanted”, etc. It is a very liberating exercise and guarantees immediate joy! The best surprise is that at the end of the day, you might just feel as if you have everything you’ve ever wanted. The gratitude that you will feel about the ordinary, will leave you feeling extraordinary.
The realization that the material and content driven existence that we think is so real is actually not in charge of our experience of happiness is priceless and this exercise offered me that. Another invaluable gift of this practice is the gift of me at my best to every circumstance I am in. When you show up feeling like you are not fulfilled or you’d rather be somewhere else, you show up inadequate and incomplete. You are sure to be received in the same manner and that will undoubtedly add to your negative feelings, etc. However, when you show up celebrating life because you feel successful, accomplished, and at peace, you will be received as such. So, the next time you feel like you are bored, or wish you had a better life, think again, think about what life you’d rather have and what feelings you’d have living that life and start feeling it. You’ll be amazed at how magical and expansive you’ll feel. And you didn’t have to work hard, rob a bank, win the lottery, or get a promotion to get there. You just had to shift your thoughts, put them in the back seat, and start feeling what you really want to feel. It’s that simple.