Painting: Maarit Suokas-Alanko
What is usually the driving force behind your decisions and actions in life? Do you sometimes think of that?
I talked about this recently with two different people. After inquiring with them more deeply into the issues something interesting surfaced. They were both feeling bored, and that feeling was so intolerable that they were both planning for major changes in their lives.
Later on I could not resist the temptation to consult my dictionary. The English language is very rich indeed when it comes to feeling bored! Or what do you think of the list of synonyms: weariness, ennui, lack of enthusiasm, lack of interest, lack of concern, apathy, disinterestedness unconcern, languor, sluggishness, accidie, world-weariness, frustration, dissatisfaction, restlessness, restiveness, tedium, tediousness, dullness, monotony, repetitiveness, lack of variety, lack of variation, flatness, blandness, sameness, uniformity, routine, humdrum, dreariness, lack of excitement.
My main interest here is not of course linguistic, but I want to share the synonyms with you, because I believe that as you read the words you get a better contact with the feeling of boredom.
What I actually want to say can be boiled down to the following points:
- Behind any uncomfortable feeling – including boredom – there is a deeper need or longing. Beyond feelings of dreariness, weariness, dissatisfaction etc. there is usually a deep longing for feeling alive. Deep down we all know what it feels to be truly alive, but we have lost contact with that feeling, and, thereby, with ourselves.
- We may end up making very big changes in our lives without really knowing what we want or need! It seems that many people live their lives like this, just drifting from one solution to another, from one goal to another, because they simply choose any strategy that saves them from facing themselves on a deeper level.
- Be prepared also to discover that what you are looking for in your plans may be something that is already inside you! What you look for is not something to be found outside but something that dwells in your heart, and it simply needs recognition to become manifest.
So I am not saying that one should not make decisions or find solutions to difficult situations in life. Also I am not saying that all our actions are escapist attempts to avoid something.
What I suggest is that you bring more awareness into the way you look at your life, and into decisions and strategies you use. For example you could try the following steps:
- When you notice that, in some situation, you begin to plan for a big – or even for a smaller – change, stop for a moment. Ask yourself if it is your own unpleasant feeling that you want to solve, or is it really the factual situation that needs a solution. Look at your discomfort. Recognize it for what it is and let it be. Allow yourself to remain in your question without even trying to find an immediate answer. Learn to love also the questions, not only the answers.
- Go beyond the feeling of discomfort. Behind the need there is always something positive that you long for. It can be more aliveness, it can be more freedom, more trust, more strength, more love. These feelings are your compass that guide you in finding your way forward. Based on what you long for in your heart, check if the course of action you were planning for is really taking you into the right direction.
- If you are able, even for a moment, to accept that life is uncertain, unpredictable and does not give you guarantee of anything, you may notice a new sense of relaxation growing. “Relax, nothing is under control”, someone posted in Facebook. And it is from that place you may notice how your actions and decisions begin to grow out of you naturally, without forcing, and without fear. Your life begins to be a manifestation of who you truly are.
“The test of a psychologically mature person, and therefore, spiritually mature, will be found in his or her capacity to handle what one might call the Triple A’s: anxiety, ambiguity and ambivalence.” James Hollis, PhD.
P.S. It is for example with issues like this I work with my clients, using Zen way of coaching. Sometimes it is far too difficult to bring awareness to one’s life all alone. Support is needed. Go check my website at http://www.maaritsuokas.com. Or click the new title “Coaching in The Now” in the navigation panel of my blog. Zen way of coaching works surprisingly well also on Skype.