I was talking with an acquaintance yesterday and when I asked him how we was doing, he answered, “Oh, I’m just motoring along. Life is neither up or down for me.”
I’ve been thinking of his words this morning because I can’t relate to what he expressed. I think life is very up and down. I don’t just motor along in this world- I hurt deeply, struggle earnestly and rejoice loudly. I experience glorious, breath taking moments and heart wrenching, spirit sucking moments and side-splitting, hilarious moments. There’s no motoring along for me.
I think many people have a weak “feeling vocabulary” and hence, can not articulate what goes on in their heart in a single day.
Many years ago, I came across a wonderful tool that I have used numerous times in counselling and in my own life. I don’t remember where I got this sheet of paper so I am unable to give proper credit but it’s helped many people to identify a feeling and then be able to talk about it.
When I think back on my last week, these are some of the feelings that I can recall:
Wednesday, October 10 – anxious, exhausted, optimistic, relieved, calm, impressed, inadequate, protective, started, tense, helpful
Thursday, October 11 – inpatient, concentrating, frightened, satisfied, ambitious, light, motivated, fascinated, disappointed, stumped, pain
Friday, October 12 – curious, useless, agitated, hurried, melancholy, weird, provoked, self conscious, unsure, trusting, happy, empathetic, tense
Saturday, October 13 – joyful, humbled, foolish, inspired, amused, frantic, competent, eager, embarrassed, enthusiastic, helpless, uncomfortable, misunderstood
Sunday, October 14 – (church, Coco, IKEA) frustrated, bugged, loved, bored, humored, warm, wild, chagrined, astounded
Monday, October 15 – elated, bashful, bursting with joy, blissful, confident, impulsive, ecstatic, perplexed, flustered, relieved, appreciative
Tuesday, October 16 – bewildered, bothered, relaxed, riled, protective, enchanted, weary, struck,empty, inspired, hurt, dependent
Wednesday, October 17 – disbelieving, grieving, thoughtful, crushed, honored, overwhelmed, perplexed, rattled, sorrow, upset
This is not motoring along – life is too short to just motor along. The highs and lows are all part of the journey. Feelings are a gift from God and the smorgasbord of our life experiences provide endless opportunities to feast.
Helen Keller once said, “One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar.” There is a time to putter along and there’s also a time to race wildly.
People living deeply have no fear of death. Anaïs Nin