“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life; living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.”
Henry David Thoreau (Walden; or, Life in the Woods)
I’ve always found this quote generative. It offers comfort and courage in difficult phases of life, excitement and wonder in the less complicated phases. There is a sense of permission granted, permission to make your choices, to embody fearlessness, and to share your lessons. There is perceptible encouragement to discover truth and authenticity in life, your own and the world around you.
It’s easy to get caught up in your feelings and understanding of what is happening around you. It starts to feel like those things are absolute. Everyone falls into this. Suddenly, you’re pretty sure that your relationship is going to end or that you’re going to be fired or that you’re not lovable or that whatever has just happened is the worst possible outcome ever.
You feel contracted and paralyzed. You might stop seeing your choices altogether and feel that fear and dread have taken over your life. This starts to seem like your truth.
But it’s an illusion. Fear and dread are lying to you. You can live as deliberately and passionately and audaciously as you want to live.
About nine posts back in my article titled “What You Need to Know Before You Break Up, Divorce, or Separate”, I talk about the emotion center of the brain (limbic system or “lizard brain”) and the role it plays in shutting down the executive center (prefrontal cortex). The limbic system tells you that a trigger is threatening and scary. The logic center doesn’t disagree because it’s shut down to give way to the fight-or-flight ability, which is governed by the limbic system. Anything can be a trigger so, anything can feel threatening. It might feel that way, but sometimes it’s a lie (actually, plenty of times).
The limbic system lives for comfort, but you don’t have to. So, gently take it by its jumpy little reptilian claw and show yourself that you can live in your awareness and intention and choice. For tips and strategies on how do to this, take a look at past articles titled “Learn to Calm Your Anxiety” and “Exploring Insecurity.” You can also contact me by calling (415) 794-5243 or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What do you live for? What do you want to live for?
Love and Be Loved,