What makes you come alive and stay that way, even when it’s hard; when you feel yourself shutting down and it takes pure grit to stay true to your integrity and dreams? How do you keep growing to improve personal effectiveness? Author and expert on world mythology, Joseph Campbell knew this one well:
“Suddenly you’re ripped into being alive. And life is pain, and life is suffering, and life is horror, but my god you’re alive and it’s spectacular!”
I love this! Are you like me? I don’t particularly feel spectacular in the middle of the pain, suffering and horror that’s part of life. But I have been through it enough times, to know that indeed, there is always an equal or greater benefit; something spectacular that occurs through the process, onto the other side. It takes great courage and tenacity to live this way. The results are priceless: Mind mastery and learning how to hold our ground in the face of uncertainty. With an eye to our personal and spiritual development, instead of feeling overwhelmed and beaten, we begin to emerge with skills and mindsets that turn great suffering into great victory.
It takes time, great self-compassion, guts, and the willingness to trust and develop our intuition, to feed our resilience, and to keep the faith, even when it appears counter-intuitive.
As Campbell emphasized:
“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive. That’s what it’s all finally about…”
Ahhh, what it’s really all about… the rapture of being alive! Business and spiritual leader, Marsha Sinetar, agrees: “It’s the “burning desire to be or do something that gives us staying power – a reason to get up every morning or to pick ourselves up and start in again after a disappointment.”
The rapture of life can only occur with a burning desire for it. How do we keep the fire stoked when it’s hard?
- Science proves it: “high vibe” thinking feeds the flame
Our brains are hard-wired with a “negative memory basis” to notice potential threats and protect us from harm. Studies done by John Cacioppo, Ph.D., (Ohio State University, and University of Chicago), demonstrate that the brain reacts more strongly to stimuli it deems negative. There is a greater surge in electrical activity, meaning our attitudes are more heavily influenced by negative rather than good news. Research has also shown that a specific ratio of five (five “high-vibe” thoughts to balance out the “one low-vibe thought”) is the magic formula to balance out this negative memory bias. Worth remembering! Working “with” our physiology rather than judging ourselves for habitual negative thinking is empowering. It course-corrects us into the extra energy of inspired action that we need for true change and growth to occur over the long-haul. As ancient wisdom reminds us, it is our continued commitment to choose “higher vibration” thoughts to feed the flame of desire that feeds our intent, which in turn feeds our will, which feeds our behavior, and ultimately, feeds our destiny. This leveraging of our negative emotions/memory-bias into holistic, focused, resilient, “alive,” possibility thinking becomes automatic over time. And that’s huge. Now there’s hope, encouragement and something to look forward to, even when life is very hard and hasn’t turned out the way we thought it would.
- Give yourself credit and re-energize past successes
What are some of the toughest times you have been through?
What helped pull you through? What belief, inspiration or process did you use?
How did you become a better person through this difficulty? How can you apply that to current circumstances?
3. Have enthusiasm and clear intent moving forward
Begin and end each day with vision, re-charge throughout and end it in reflection: spend time in the morning in visualization, prayer or meditation to re-stoke that burning desire and pre-plan how you will “Create Your Day.” It takes just one minute of mindfulness several times throughout the day to keep coming back, to build focus and follow-through. In the evening do a review; celebrate wins and also identify where you can improve. Apply the 5-to-1 ratio to rehearse how you will do things differently tomorrow…. by getting excited about our improvements, now course-correcting becomes more positive, more enjoyable. We have something to look forward to, feel more resilient and capable. Now true change is happening, so that even in the midst of our hardest challenges, we have something to hang onto, a reason to keep going, a grit, tenacity and energy that feeds us, that feeds the rapture of being alive!
Call to action: on those tough days; dig deep – bridge the gap of where you are to where you want to be by applying the 5 -to-1 ratio to this very moment… right here, right now. From this viewpoint you actually are where you want to be, only now you get to enjoy the ongoing journey as a way of life, not just sporadically. To paraphrase Campbell…. my god, you’re alive to your innermost being and reality…. and that’s spectacular… that’s what it’s really all about! Draw on the power of intuition to keep feeding the sacred flame within you – that’s its job and you can trust it to help you come alive and stay alive all your life.