Hi there, and welcome to Charlie’s Toolbox. It’s been a while, but I needed this break so bad.
During the whole pandemic, I’ve been taking evening classes 3-4 days a week. I would teach a course on Friday and work full-time. And if you add this podcast, YouTube, writing, my hobbies, a social life, and trying to keep healthy. You have someone who is only functioning with no actual downtime or enjoyment. So, I had to recharge, and I think I will incorporate rest into my strategy and planning in the future. I don’t take off so much time. I don’t leave you guys hanging, And I don’t disappoint myself.
So, let’s get into some music and culture. I’ve been watching this girl for a second, and I think she is up next Her name is Laya, and she makes cool NYC girl music. She reminds me of a mix between Aliyah with her smooth sound and Doja Cat with her experimental looks. So, go check out her songs and let me know what you think. I have excellent music taste, so I am sure you will enjoy it.
Today we will talk about something that I’ve been going through, rediscovering that spark or hunger for life.
Let me explain. When I was growing up, I had this sort of giddiness for life, and I was excited to see how I would operate in the world. I knew that I was special and that the road would take some time to get there because I knew my wants were extraordinary. So, I’d dream about what life would look like for me and how exciting it would be, And often I felt like I was bursting at the seams.
But then I became an adult, and I began experiencing the grief of life. My first upset was heartbreak from friends and lovers. I started having a slight strain on my family after realizing how controlling they were Then. I chose safety in my career because I didn’t have the energy to be unstable anymore. The fluttering butterfly that I thought I was was tired as hell, and I had to persevere and develop resiliency, and over time, I lost some of that hunger and spark I once had for life.
That feeling I used to get when I traveled to a new city or country wasn’t quite there The feeling I used to bring about NY was not quite there, And I had to ask myself, how do I get inspired again? How do I have that fluttery feeling when I dream about life again? How do I feel what I call God again Or find light when you’ve been fighting to keep afloat?
Currently, that is what I am actively trying to find. Now, I don’t have any full-proof solutions, but I have some ideas that have been helping me re-develop that spark and that hunger for all things great and beautiful, And one of the first things I had to do, gave myself some gah damn grace.
1. I am going through a pandemic.
I’ve never been through a pandemic. I was not taught how to take care of myself through a pandemic; I had no clue what this meant, how to operate, or how seriously I should take these regulations. We’ve had to adjust our life to something that has not happened since the 1980s with HIV/Aids and the 1918 Spanish flu. We have no real roadmap on how to handle our own emotions during a crisis. We have no idea what the next year looks like. We don’t know how to be there for others during a crisis. So, how can you feel excited about life when every element of life is in a crisis? You can’t, really, and that is not to say give up. That is to say that you are coping naturally, and maybe you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself. Perhaps you should not feel that being disconnected from a life you once loved is a personal failure because it’s not. You are human, and you are coping. You are not failing.
2. Beyond acknowledging the reality. One must steer clear of using busy work to distract yourself from facts.
This one is not only for you but also for me. Like you, I am inspired by high achievers. I look up to Beyoncé, Shonda Rhyme, and Issa Rae because they have impeccable work ethics. They produce in ways that I only dream about. So, when I felt down because I am in a global pandemic. I looked to them for help and decided working hard was how I would get out of my lull, but I messed up in my assessment of them. They are not busy for the sake of being active. Nor are they busy distracting themselves from their emotions or the world's troubles. They are alive because they are pouring into something that lifts them, and that is what I had to learn. Working hard is ok. I think we all should work hard. I also think we should have a break. However, when working hard, you need to make sure that whatever you are pouring into is lifting you in return, which was my missing piece. I was not feeling lifted by any of the work I was doing. I felt obligated and used up, which made me resentful, tired, and disappointed. So, pour into things that give you pleasant energy back.
3. Safety, comfort, and routine.
Being safe, comfortable, and with the same routine is lovely until it is not. It can lead to moments where you live your life on auto-pilot, and when you are on auto-pilot, you aren’t present. The days run together, and you spend most of your time either dreaming of a better life or reviewing the past. When you are in the loop of reviewing your history, it’s never really for collecting evidence to show that you are capable. You usually look back to find evidence to hurt your feelings. When you are in the loop of your future or dreams, you may not be grateful for your reality or beat yourself up because you are not reaching or moving towards that dream. So, imagine …. You live life, and because you are in your mind all day, you are not experiencing it. Instead, you are either in the past, which pains you, or in the future, discouraging you. This loop is destructive and takes a toll on your spirit because who can be excited about themselves or their life when everything you think diminishes you and says you are wrong. So, you have to break up your routine sometimes and decide to be present actively, and that looks like trying something you would typically say no to. Or Go to a place you’ve never been. Take a walking route you’ve never tried. Going to a free digital class and making yourself uncomfortable and trying an open mic, doing anything to experience something new, and forcing yourself to be present. Because when you try something new, you can’t be in your mind punishing yourself for existing.
4. Win small
According to counselor Bill O' Hanlon, winning in small ways creates motivation and spark. Small wins create the feel-good brain chemical dopamine, linked to motivation. So, making a small goal the night before and achieving that goal in the morning can be a springboard for more dopamine! It can generate those highs you once felt, and it is a way for you to tap into that source whenever you feel a lull.
So, please review some of these ideas and subscribe to my podcast to get an alert for PART II, which will be released next Thursday. I have so much more to say, and I don’t want to bombard you all at once.
And on that note, take care! And thank you for listening to Charlie’s Toolbox.