Saturday, March 8, 2008

On Motivation

Lately I’ve been looking at the quotes coming into my in-box (I’ve subscribed to a few services) and while I love and relate to the great majority of those saying by brilliant people from various fields, it’s almost inevitable that the motivational quotes, or those that come from motivational speakers, just make me feel inadequate. I don’t like to be made to feel inadequate by something that is supposed to give me some measure of peace and well-being and so I either put them away in a folder that I will get back to eventually, or I toss them out.

It took me a while to figure out that I could do that. Because of course the message contained in much of the motivational literature is a valuable one. But I’m going through a period in my life where this “can do” attitude — and I’ve been a proponent of it myself — can sometimes feel oppressive more than helpful. There are plenty of people who stress how important it is to get out there, be active, socialize, “fake it ’till you make it” and so on. But I decided that this time around, I’m just going to sit, or lie, or sleep this one off, and not concern myself too much which “shoulds”.

I’ve been lucky that I’ve been afforded the luxury to just do as I please whenever I please, not to mention the greatest luxury of all: time. I’ve been given time to just figure out how to find my way again one tiny step at a time. Not that there was any choice, since for all the strong medication they’ve got me on, my mind and body refuses to cooperate and bounce back to full functionality. But I’m rediscovering those quiet activities that I used to love more than anything as a child: reading and writing, drawing, taking pictures. I feel so spoiled and so blessed to have those hobbies.

Sometimes I catch myself feeling that I don’t deserve the happiness that those occupations provide me. But of course I do. Everyone deserves happiness, even me. It’s a question of growing used to feeling true joy again. Not the kind of joy that shouts and jumps all over the place and fizzed out as quickly as it came, but the quiet kind. The kind that, when you take the time to listen to it... you realize has been there all along, but you haven’t noticed it because you were busy with other things. That’s the kind of joy I speak of. That’s the greatest treasure of all. No one can ever take that from you, and once you’ve experienced it, I’m sure it gives you the ability to find it again and again. I keep having this image of a flower growing among rocks in my mind as I write this.

I don’t remember once seeing a motivational text that mentioned anything about this quiet, deeply authentic and personal joy. But it’s there. It exists. Through the best of times and through the worst of times, we always have access to it if we allow ourselves to feel it. When we’re lacking in the will to find motivation, I say it’s fine to just go wherever our heart takes us, and do or not do whatever we want to. It’s in moments when the dishes aren’t made, the floors aren’t washed and I haven’t had a proper meal to eat for weeks that I’ve sometimes been visited by the most beautiful waves of joy I’ve ever experienced. Just allow yourself to feel it, I have to keep reminding myself. And when I do, my heart and soul do a little dance, and I smile.


Ms Dragonfly said...

you are a wonderful writer. that was so easy to read, it just flowed like good writing should. i agree, there must be balance. life is made up of light and dark, we need both or we have no depth just as in a painting.

For The People said...

Well, I think you found the joy. I felt it as I read this. I am not sure what you are looking for but I can assure you that that was motivational for me. Thanks!