With Flourish & Panache…
Flourishing means getting on with the things that are important for you to do, exercising your capacities, actively trying to ‘realize’ what you care about and bring it into life…
– John Armstrong, How to Worry Less About Money
There’s a big reason my new book – the first Love Life Practice book – is all about figuring out what you want out of life. It’s based on a class that was born out of necessity.
Nearly a decade ago, as I began to travel around North America and Europe teaching, over and over I found that people wanted less of the technical skills of movement and performance and more of the psychological skills. They were interested more in conversations about motivation, presence, character development, collaborative creation. Over and over the questions kept boiling down to the same question that people asked themselves and others: Why am I doing this?
The unfortunate response they were discovering, over and over, was “…because I thought I was supposed to.” That’s not a terribly satisfying motivation. The process of the Defining Moment, while coming out of a performance framework, moved beyond scenes and plays and into people’s lives, trying to change “…supposed to…” into “…had to because it was right for me!”
Now that’s a motivation! That’s something you don’t have to get behind, because it’s already behind you, pushing you towards your destiny.
Yes, that’s right. I used the D word, because it is what proceeds inexorably from the other things we talk about here:
Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habit.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”
– Lao Tse
Every once in a while it’s worth it to take a look at your life and ask: Am I flourishing? Or am I merely surviving? There are certainly times when just doing the latter is quite an achievement – but it’s also an opportunity. If all you’re managing is survival, then you have the chance to really look at what you might add to your life that would take it a step closer to flourishing.
It could be something big, like a different living arrangement, a new job. It might be the cultivation of a habit, like journaling or eating more fresh fruit. It might be as simple as trying to find things to be thankful for each and every day.
Really, it could be anything. But it almost certainly is something. If you don’t start figuring it out today, that’s one more day of flourishing that you’ve denied yourself.
Quick: ask yourself “What flourish can I add to my day?”
See? That’s not so hard!
“Flourishing captures what we actually aspire to: the best use of our capacities and abilities; involvement in things we take to be worthwhile; the formation and expression of one’s best self.” – John Armstrong
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