The Simple Life of Love, Energy and Expansion
If stories are what we construct our lives around, then words, or rather “concepts”, become of vital importance. Words already carry meaning; concepts weigh even heavier due to the multiple, summarized ideas they imply.
Therefore, when looking at the concept of Life, you may already sense the heaviness this implies.
And yet, I choose to take Life lightly. To see it as something that is simple — even though I admit it to be impressive in all of its manifestations.
Because if stories are what we live by, then aren’t those stories exactly what make Life complicated, easy, sad, happy, confusing, clear, etc.?
Let’s unwind the ball of yarn that is Life, and take three concepts that I see as essential parts of it:
These concepts are neither meant to be exclusive nor exhaustive when describing Life.
I see Love as Energy, Energy as ever Expanding, and Life as an expression of an ever loving, expanding energy that is Consciousness.
You don’t have to agree or even keep up with that last statement. I have a different suggestion. Formulated into three questions.
If Love is a part or Life, then why let we dictate its meaning — and therewith the stories we create about it — by the way society describes romantic love (i.e. through Hollywood movies)?
If Energy is part of Life, then why do we — as adults — often think we don’t have enough energy?
If Expansion is part of Life, then why do we confine ourselves to habits that never change?
These are not questions I wish to answer for you. They are questions I keep asking myself.
With regards to the Love question, I’d like to refer to last week’s post where Mandy Len Catron points out how the (English) metaphors we use for romantic love, like “falling”, being “struck”, “crushed’, or how love makes us “crazy” or “sick”, actually lead up to relationships being problematic from the get-go. Her point sure makes one think, doesn’t it?
Another favorite of mine is the way Mark Manson undresses romantic love, for instance by writing:
“The point here is that romance and all of the weight we tend to put on it is a modern invention, and primarily promoted and marketed by a bunch of businessmen who realized it will get you to pay for movie tickets and/or a new piece of jewelry. As Don Draper once said, ‘What you call love was invented by guys like me to sell nylons.’”
Lastly, there’s the philosophical point that Alain de Botton makes:
“But if, when you’re really being honest, if you ask yourself, ‘Why am I in pain?’ and you can’t necessarily attribute all the sorrows that you’re feeling to your lover, if you recognize that some of those things are perhaps endemic to existence, or endemic to all human beings, or something within yourself, then what you’re doing is encountering the pain of life with another person but not necessarily because of another person.”
Energy. We can choose to believe the scientifically proven statement that “everything is energy”, which is a story, or we can choose to rely on our senses, which tell us the story of a reality dictated by what we can physically see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. Either way, have you ever stopped to wonder why you don’t have the energy to do something?
I often don’t feel like doing something, the thought alone makes me tired. But I’ve come to realize that, at the same time, I always DO have energy for something else. So to say “I don’t have the energy for it” doesn’t seem true anymore. I do have the energy, it’s just focused (by whom?) onto something else.
“‘When you’re inside the bottle, you can’t read the label. Get out of the bottle so that you can read the label.’ — Unknown
The only way to break the jar is to stop playing by the rules of that jar. You need to get way outside of it and start innovating. Start getting new perspectives. And stop caring what the people in that jar think about you.
This takes an incredible amount of courage and creativity. It takes depth and reason for doing so.”
These are Benjamin P. Hardy’s words from his article on authenticity. I refer to them because of the compelling point he makes on our intrinsic need to innovate, to change, to move — in other words to expand. Unless you wish your life to remain exactly as it is, until the day you die, in which case I’m surprised you’re still reading this.
On the level of human life, expansion is oftentimes related to growth — successful growth to be more precise. The harsher reality is, however, that we usually learn more from our mistakes than we do from our successes. Though stories about failure are more and more accepted into society’s discourse, we still don’t like to fail. But if failure is how we grow, then expansion requires it.
Expansion is a part of Life, or as Michelle Zarrin puts it:
“Life has a natural process of coming together. It contracts, it expands, it goes up and it goes down. If we get out of the way and stop emphasizing our energy on the contraction and the down, then we allow space for the expansion and up to happen quicker.”
I usually ask myself the above questions when I feel stuck or simply out of luck. For the purpose of living Life lightly, and experimentation, I invite you to do the same.
How do these questions change the stories you tell yourself?