The boredom paradox!
I recently exchanged emails with a brilliant colleague about a dynamic that is frustratingly familiar to many brilliant people in their quest for a passionate and meaningful life and dealing with boredom. It goes something like this:
Your life is pretty good but you feel restless. You sense there is a far more alive and passionate life you could be living, and your keen and active mind often generates inspired ideas for that kind of life – which you don’t act upon.
Either the ideas themselves are fleeting and seemingly insubstantial – they’re here and then they’re gone, like the light of a firefly at dusk – or they seem so big that you feel defeated by the sheer amount of work it would take to realize them. Or maybe you just don’t know where to start in bringing them to life.
And so you don’t do anything with them. You keep living the same life you’ve been living and you feel…bored. Unfulfilled. Underutilized. Maybe a little cranky.
No two people are alike, of course, but I’ve learned a few things about boredom after decades of helping people create deeply fulfilling lives. Like so much in life, boredom is a bit of a paradox: it is both a call to change and a barrier to change.
Once you understand that, you can intentionally choose to follow the call and ignore the barrier.
Let’s look at the call of boredom.
It is the unexpressed desire for enlivening change which arises from the recognition that you’re not thrilled with where you are. As I wrote in March’s post (Making Peace with Desire), you are an extension of Source, whose eternal impulse to create is the very essence of desire. Your desires are Divine inspirations to creatively express more and more of who you are. They are natural, life-giving and essential.
So the feeling of boredom is a call to honor your desires, which is a really good thing. Yet it arises because you’re focused on your life as it is now, which isn’t exactly what you want it to be. And because of the power of focus – what we focus on is what expands in our lives – when you’re focused on what you don’t like, you expand – or continue – what you don’t like. That’s the barrier.
So the feeling of boredom stimulates desire, but the focus on what bores us keeps us right where we are.
Added to that is the lightning-swift tendency many people have to judge any desire they have as impractical, irresponsible, unimportant or just plain crazy, not to mention the crushing tendency to judge themselves as not having what it takes to realize their desires, anyway. And the energy of judgment, in any form and directed toward anyone or anything, is always diminishing and depleting. Always.
Talk about a barrier!
So if you’re a teensy bit bored with your life right now, where does that leave you…besides in good company?
It leaves you with a golden opportunity to create a new, self-loving approach that can help you follow the call of desire arising from boredom without getting tangled up in the barrier.
First, a few reminders of basic energy dynamics:
- What you focus on, and what you accept as true, is what shows up in your life.
- The way you feel is an indicator of the degree to which you’re in harmony with your true desires.
- Your true desires don’t arise from your brain. They arise from your heart.
- The energy of self-judgment will never, ever get you where you want to go.
Here are 5 simple steps for dealing with boredom
1. Make a Vow
Vow to suspend all self-judgment and to recognize, honor and cultivate your heartfelt desires.
2. Love What Is
Practice genuinely appreciating yourself and your life as it is right now. The energy of appreciation is loving, expansive and in full harmony with your heartfelt desires.
Appreciation turns boredom into acceptance, which is the opposite of resistance. And I’m not just talking about acceptance of what is, but acceptance of your innate goodness and your Divine power to create something new.
Appreciate your brilliant mind and all of its wonderful ideas! It’s an idea-generating powerhouse. But don’t force yourself into action until you’ve consulted with your heart. The mind creates options; the heart reveals true direction. Isn’t it a good approach to dealing with boredom?