ZEITLOSE GLÜCKSINSELN SCHAFFEN
Von Markus Schudel
Translated by Jutta Jerlich
Hobbies and the Internet gobble up all our time. Those who have too much time at their hand, on the other hand, live an anachronistic life. And there are many of those people, just that they do not say so: Who likes to admit that they have time in abundance and don’t know how to use it?
24 hrs can be a long time if you get stuck and walls you built around you close in. Seven days of a week are even longer. And it’s better not to look further ahead. It becomes unbearable when the empty endlessness is before your eyes.
For example, think of someone who loses a job, for whom no suitable work is in sight for months, for whom, moreover, no partnership or family provides meaning, or where the children have already fledged, not starving to death, because the unemployment office or social welfare systems gives a basic income, which is enough for physical survival. But the person concerned dies of thirst internally, loses hope and courage. Emptiness and meaninglessness eat you away from within like a cancer and infiltrate your life energy. In addition, the voice in the back of the head torments you: “Why aren’t you working? Why aren’t you earning your money? Why aren’t you being productive?” It is easy to guess that this condition is unhealthy in the long run and makes you sick.
Decision with Intention
If you struggle with these thoughts and inner voices, you feel shut in, because neither TV, Internet, chocolate, sports, psychiatrists or medication is going to help. If you feel it is working, it is at most temporarily and partially. The inner voice continues to gnaw at one’s self-worth. One’s own inner world will make itself heard more and more. The feeling of being a victim, of being powerless, asserts itself.
It takes a clear decision with a clear intention: “I don’t want this anymore. I don’t accept this anymore.” – One must “cross the Rubicon,” as Caesar did when he marched on Rome with his legions. Despite all doubts, he implemented the decision and did not deviate from his plan.
Whoever makes this decision will feel a sense of strength at the same moment, because one has just left a piece of powerlessness behind. It can even trigger a feeling of happiness. And that’s what it’s all about: we need to rekindle, cherish and expand this feeling of happiness again and again.
The power of thought
At the same time this is where the sticking point begins, because you will trip yourself up a hundred or a thousand times before you embark on this new path. Unfortunately, man’s intelligence is not as bright as we might think when looking at technical achievements, philosophical abilities or unchallenged supremacy on the planet, because we do not understand: Whether we carry the notion of “too much time” or “too little time” within us or only look at the material side of things, it definitely shows that we do not have our lives under control. We are guided by unconscious programming that is, determined by the body, not the mind. The mind, on the other hand, has little chance because it is outnumbered 1:20 by our emotional body memory. This is not fate, because we have conditioned ourselves during ten, thirty or fifty years to such an extent that our life always repeats itself to 95 percent: Nothing changes, because if we think like yesterday, we also feel like yesterday and will behave like yesterday in the future. What is there to change?
It is indeed a battle of Goliath against David. After all, we know that the story ended in favour of David. This also leaves us with a positive experience: I can overcome. We can overcome. Do you feel that little feeling of happiness?
Gratitude and “reverse spoon list”
A powerful tool is gratitude: thoughts and feelings of gratitude trigger feelings of happiness. Every day, write down ten things for which you are grateful. These can be small things and situations: a friendly smile from the clerk in a store, a quick phone call with a friend, a sunny spring day, or a good meal. If you write down what you are grateful for, you will instantly feel better. Because gratitude creates meaning in one’s past and makes one more peaceful as well as content in the present. Isn’t that a happy vision for the future?
The gratitude exercise can be extended: Instead of writing “bucket lists” which you use to visualize all the things you have yet to experience and do before you die, – as it is common today – reverse the perspective: In the so-called “reverse spoon list,” list everything you were able to experience and receive in your life: interesting trips, great friendships, things acquired, wonderful experiences, challenges mastered, etc. If you thinking about it long enough and review your life, you will come up with several hundred or even thousands of “experiences” which you may be grateful for. You will see: This triggers real feelings of happiness and creates meaning right away.
Time thus becomes a valuable gift, and you almost feel a guilty conscience for not valuing it more.
Moments in your daily structure
Don’t give up when you get caught up in your own negativity. It happens all the time and to everyone. Write down the negative thoughts that come up on piece of paper, as this makes you become aware of your own programming. Then burn them in an empty flowerpot in the sink and throw the cooled ashes into the trash. This ritual helps to diminish negative thoughts. Don’t be frustrated if the same thoughts keep coming. Just keep doing it. It will get better with time.
Yes, it is Sisyphean work, but there is no way around it. I’m sure you have a daily planner where you create your daily structure. If you don’t, get one. And even if it seems a bit strange at the beginning to create a schedule for yourself, even though you have time without end, a “to do” list is a good motivator. However, don’t just list “household,” for example, but break it down into: Clean up kitchen, dispose of trash, clean bathroom and toilet, do laundry, sort out clothes, and water plants. It’s very motivating when you can cross off five or six items on the list as done instead of just one. It’s hard to believe: even housekeeping can make you happy. By the way, you are also allowed to write down things on the “to do” list that are fun: Drink coffee, take a break, watch an episode of your favourite show, or eat something good. Free yourself from the Protestant ethic of only feeling good when you’re struggling.
And so reclaim every area of your life: whether it’s exercising, cooking, reading, or wherever. Create small, timeless islands of happiness.