I have been creating a new kind of happy in my life lately. In the midst of weather woes, health issues, and family needs, I have been finding more peace and contentment than I think that I have ever known. In my whole life.
This has come about for many deep reasons, but it all really comes down to one, simple thing: I have been living my life beyond the impulse.
I love to be impulsive, like get up and go somewhere that I hadn’t planned on. Buying myself something special that I really want. Writing to or calling someone out of the blue. But, there is something interesting that I have been discovering about me and impulse.
When I am impulsive, I tend to act without fully considering my choice. It doesn’t make all of my choices wrong choices; but it really means that at times, I have been not fully present to the choice that I was making. If I wanted a drink, or three, I would have them, simply because the impulse was striking me. If I wanted to eat junk food because I was upset or depressed, I would allow myself that. If I wanted to spend money, lots of it at times, on something that wasn’t planned, I would do it.
And then, the guilt would often set in. Moments, hours, days after I would make the choice, I would feel massive amounts of guilt for choosing something that I wished, after all, I hadn’t. Or, that I at least had thought more deeply about. So, even if it was a sound, good choice, the guilt would shadow any perspective that I might have had about it.
What I have been doing now, in the last couple of weeks, is getting more acutely present to my life than I have ever been. I breathe through the moments, if they are difficult ones, and remember that they are part of the mosaic of my life as much as the joys. When I want wine, or dessert, or an extra hour of sleep, I breathe through that too, just to ensure that my decision is based on me being in my life, right then and there, rather than because there is something that feels urgent, pressing, or uncomfortable so I need to numb it in some way.
And, the beauty of it all is, that when I am present to every decision that I make, there is no room for guilt. It doesn’t mean that I won’t make choices that end up not working well for me; or that I might not have regret for choosing something, or not. It just means that my actions are fully thoughtful, I am embracing the process as well as the result, and I get to own fully what I choose.
To me, when I cater to my impulse, I miss an opportunity to really be in the moments of my life. And, the moments of this life ARE my life itself.