There was a time when nothing made me happier than trolling the mall in search of the perfect pair of shoes. And years ago, setting up my first home, I was driven to acquire a beautiful couch, or the perfect dining room table. I was on a constant hunt for lovely things to fill my space.
Today, on this post-Thanksgiving, post-Black Friday Saturday, I take pleasure in knowing how different my desires are. What makes me feel happy and engaged and productive no longer includes buying something, but revolves around bringing people together to do something creative or to talk about living life creatively. This “gathering” of people can take the form of a class that I teach, or a workshop I conduct, or maybe just a casual conversation at lunch talking about a book or a movie that helps us wake up to living our lives more fully and more creatively, more passionately and compassionately.
Sometimes this feeling comes to me when I’m alone, often in the early mornings, after mediation, when I’m doing my daily writing. It is a felt-sense, an actual physical energy that rises from the lower gut and moves energetically into the heart, then the throat. It happens when I read a good review of a new book I want to read; or when I struggle pulling ideas together that I want to talk about or write about; or when I imagine people coming together in a comfortable place to share ideas and yearnings; or when I anticipate meeting with a group of bright, engaged friends to see a movie and share a glass of wine together. Ideas pop. Insights emerge. Yearnings are expressed. And sometimes, action plans begin to form. The body speaks more loudly than the mind sometimes.
How often do we ignore these bodily messages? These signs that something is alive and moving in us?
This feeling, this felt-sense in the body, is a message from my soul to move toward these activities. This is where my life unfolds in the happiest way. These feelings may not lead us to our life’s work, but they will lead us to our soul’s work. They will help us shape the way we want to spend our time, to devote our energies, and to hone our skills. They will guide us to our real work in the world, which will always lead to deep satisfaction and sustenance, if not a pay check.
Listen today to that felt-sense, that gentle nudging in the belly that says, “Yes, here is your joy. Be here.”