This Mortal Life: How to Bring Color When Your Life Has Gone Gray
It is never too late to be what you might have been. – George Eliot
Sometimes life can feel relentlessly mundane and soul-sucking.
You find yourself stuck in traffic yet again.
You scan through a pile of emails listlessly…
You walk into a room only to forget what you came to retrieve…
You’ve been called to another meeting at work that accomplishes nothing…
When you get home, you’re confronted with the heap of dishes you couldn’t face yesterday…
You intended to spend the evening reading but feel too tired to concentrate and fall into bed exhausted, again, and again, and again…
The ancient yogis called it maya, the cultural trance cast by mindless, material living.
But even as you slog through these mind-numbing routines, some part of you is crying out—There must be more to life than this! If this goes on too long, you lose your energy, your verve, your health, and the crucial connection to your reason for being here. You want your life to have meaning, but sometimes it’s hard to know what to change.
If you’ve gotten caught in the riptide of mortal living, here’s a list of questions to ask yourself in order to get things flowing again:
1. How can I make myself a priority?
The first step toward shaking yourself from the trance of drudgery is to remind yourself that you matter. Only then can you decide to show up for your calling and actively create meaning in your world. Even daily routines can be a source of joy when you acknowledge the source of meaning is within you. What would it take for you to value your dreams for your own life and actively work towards them? Figure out what would make your life meaningful.
Volunteering for a charitable cause?
Learning a new skill?
Once you decide, take the appropriate steps to show you mean it—and this means adjusting your attitude and behavior.
2. How can I manage my anxiety?
Let’s face it: being a modern-day human is stressful, and many of us turn to escapism to manage our stress. Occasional escapism can actually be healthy, yet ongoing escapism into movies, technology, other people’s problems, poor diet, self-medication, drama, and daily routines (you get the picture) all sap your creative energy. You can compound your anxiety by constantly thinking about how anxious and overwhelmed you are. Anxiety and stress also arise from denial of your physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual needs. What if you decided instead to actively manage your stress on a daily basis? This will not only generate more internal space, but you’ll also find yourself inspired with new perspectives and fresh solutions for how your life can be more satisfying. Here are a few tried-and-true ways to manage your stress and take care of yourself more effectively:
b. Journal in stream-of-consciousness just after waking up
c. Take walks in nature
d. Practice conscious breathing
e. Practice yoga
f. Keep a gratitude journal
g. Practice guided relaxation
3. How can I approach my life more creatively?
If you’ve lost passion for your life, it’s time to take a look at what needs changing.
Is it time to look for a new job, start that business, or bring a spark to your current occupation?
Do you need a break?
Do you need to revolutionize your relationship with your family?
Has your romance outlived its expiration date, or does it need an upgrade?
Do you need to take more time in solitude?
Are you feeling a restlessness to finally follow your calling?
When your life grows tedious, let it be a sign that reevaluation is needed. Remind yourself that you get to choose how you show up for your life, and then decide to take action in your own favor.
Sometimes what needs to be changed is your perspective, and one of the best ways to do that is through creative play. Creative acts utilize different parts of your brain than those day-in-and-day-out habits. They can help you return from all the externalized living to yourself and your truth. They can help you shift out of tracked thinking into calm, nonlinear consciousness. Here are some simple ideas:
a. Record your dreams to uncover your unique archetypal language
c. Turn up the music and dance in your living room (with or without your roommates, partner, or family!)
d. Sign up for a watercolor, pottery, or acting class, etc.
e. Make collages
f. Buy an adult coloring book, a set of markers, and get to coloring
Living artfully and passionately means living deliberately. Every moment, you have the choice to deepen your experience and seek your truth over your illusions. Maya offers endless opportunities to slip into unconsciousness and forget what your life is about. Make a commitment to staying awake and engaged. Create worlds through the choices you make, the way you treat yourself, and where you decide to spend your energy. Give yourself permission to live life from your own center.
Time gives us a whirl. We keep waking from a dream we can’t recall, looking around in surprise, and lapsing back, for years on end. All I want to do is stay awake, keep my head up, prop my eyes open, with toothpicks, with trees.
– Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
Set your intention for what constitutes a meaningful life for you and live into it by the choices you make. Go towards what fills you with wonder. Allow your head to be filled with stars. Draw down the moon. Slide into rabbit holes and let your mind be blown. Figure out where your enthusiasm lies and add new colors to the palette of your life. This mortal life can be a journey of discovery, learning, and enjoyment, yet it requires your active choice and follow-through to avoid drowning in the pools of gray inherent to passive living. Be dynamic. Choose to make your life matter, because you matter.
Need support bringing color to your life? Let’s have a conversation about spiritual and creativity coaching, or about my meditation program. www.hallibourne.com