When I was solo traveling, I had a couple months where I was cynical, reckless, and ungrateful. But weirdly, I thought I had an awesome life. I wasn't happy, yet I thought my life was awesome.
That's because I had a weird definition of life. I thought it was something we have, not something we experience. I thought of life essentially as a product I could buy at Target.
Don't we all do this a little bit? Consider these phrases: you only get one life, I love her life, I have a great life, get a life.
Now let's replace "life" with the word "tote." You only get one tote, I love her tote, I have a great tote, get a tote.
We are from a capitalist society.
Of course we objectify life.
But I wonder how that impacts our experience of life and how we value it.
When I was feeling cynical and ungrateful in Central America, I thought my life was awesome because I saw it as the combination of what makes someone cool in my culture.
I wasn't thinking about whether I was happy or sad in my life, I was thinking about how my life made me look in my social sphere.
That's where I would derive my happiness. Not from experiencing my life, but from getting accolades for it.
I saw other people's lives the same way, which made it easy to compare myself with them. Scrolling Instagram was just a game of, Who Has the Best Life?
When we distill life down until it's a little product we all own, it becomes easy to compare.
things have changed for me since then: I have started to see life as a being, not an object. And I’ve cultivated a relationship with that being.
Here's what I mean when I say life is a being:
life is a separate entity from me
I can show up and experience life, but I can't tell it how to unfold
my life isn't a reflection of who I am – it's just interacting with me
I don't "have" a life; I partner with life
It's like the moment a parent realizes their child isn't a part of them; their child is her own person.
Or when you get in a fight with your partner for the first time and realize he is his own person. He has thoughts and motivations you don't know about. He is separate from you.
Life is like that too! It interacts with you every day. But it is not you.
it kind of sounds like I'm talking about a supernatural deity. Maybe I am. if you saw your life as a supernatural deity who was interacting with you, would you see it differently?
This is actually an exercise I started doing.
I do this exercise with myself when I start to take social media personally.
When I do the exercise, the impulse to compare my life to others just falls away. Comparison no longer makes sense.
The need to prove myself to others falls away too.
If you have been feeling:
ashamed about the state of your life right now
scared about where your life is going
worried that you aren't keeping up with your peers
regretful about your life choices
jealous about the lives of the people around you
… This exercise is for you.
Sit for a moment and actually imagine that your life is a separate being— a goddess or God or a superpowerful ancestor.
This supernatural being has been with you from before you were born and has been experiencing your life alongside you.
Your whole life has been an interaction between you and this goddess.
She has been invisible and beside you at every stage – rooting for you and comforting you.
right now, you get the chance to talk to this goddess--your life.
what do you thank her for?
what do you apologize for?
what do you want to tell her?
what does she want you to know?
Really take a moment to do this exercise. It's intimidating; you might encounter resistance.
Notice the resistance and let it be there. But don't let it bully you out of the exercise. Stick with it and see what comes up for you.
This exercise made me realize that comparison and the need to prove myself to others both stem from objectifying life.
When we turn life into an object, we start to see it as something that should be shinier and more impressive.
When we see life as a separate being, we are able to appreciate that it is constantly changing, full of depth, and unique to us. It isn't supposed to look or unfold a specific way.
Whew! Thank you for being open to some woo-woo vibes today.
Let me know what comes up for you in this exercise: what does your life look like when it takes shape as a supernatural deity? For what it's worth – mine becomes a celtic warrior goddess.
May feel loved by your life today,