Rumi’s words resonate at the core of my being, and remind me that life is too precious to live stressed out every day because I am not doing what I love or being the ‘real’ me.
So what does Rumi mean by these profound words?
When we are doing what we love in life, we are in alignment with our true self, which means we are doing what’s of most value to our self and what makes us feel at ease in our core being. When we do what we love we can expect to experience good health, happy relationships, and a sense of purpose and fulfilment in our life.
Sadly many people fill their life with doing stuff they don’t love. The pressures and demands of life drive people to make choices based on economics, social expectations and cultural norms, rather on what fills them with passion and joy.
How many people do you know who talk about how unhappy they are in their job or in their life in general?
In Japan ‘karoshi’ refers to a very real condition where people die from overwork. When our life is out of balance to the point where we are no longer doing what we enjoy, the negative consequences can be huge. Over 10,000 people per year die from this condition, brought on by stress and overwork. Apparently statistics are even higher in the U.S.
Lissa Rankin MD (Author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself, Hay House, 2013) found scientific and medical proof that doing work you don’t enjoy will actually shorten your lifespan. However, spending time with close friends, enjoying laughter, investing in your relationships and generally doing what you really love are key factors that make a difference to a person’s health and level of joy and fulfilment in life.
A few facts: when we are stressed, our “fight or flight” physiological stress response is triggered in the body by the sympathetic nervous system, which then produces large amounts of adrenaline, cortisol and epinephrine in the body. These stress hormones elevate the heart rate, blood pressure and de-activate the body’s natural healing and self-repair system. As a result it leads to poor health and dis-ease in the mind and body.
However when we are doing what we love, the ‘relaxation response’ is activated and the parasympathetic nervous system kicks in, releasing ‘feel good’ hormones, enabling the body to relax and do what it does best, heal it-self.
So the question is – if we are not living our life doing what we love, then why not?
Doing what we love can be as simple as laughing, dancing, listening to uplifting music, meditation, singing, playing with animals, taking a vacation, sleeping, doing your favourite hobby, exercising or pursuing a creative activity. Or it can be choosing a career or vocation that gives you great satisfaction because it matches your values and is moving you towards fulfilling your goals and dreams.
When we consciously choose to do what we most love in life, we are living in a way that fosters a spirit of gratitude and love for the person we are. We are better able to attract abundance into our life, such as good health in our mind and body, loving relationships, and a life that is enriched and fulfilling.
What matters most is that we make ‘doing what we love’ a priority and not something we do if we have time. It also means to live life consciously and on purpose. If you are feeling drained, unmotivated, or stressed, it could mean that you are not doing what you truly love in life. Now is the time to check in with your self, not tomorrow. If you are not 'loving your life', then it's time to find out why and make some necessary changes.
When we do what we love, we reap the benefits of great health and a fulfilling life. It means we are living in a way that matches our values and brings joy and abundance to our life.
At mid-life many people experience change and this prompts them to re-assess how they are spending their time and energy. A great question to ask your self is – "Am I really doing what I love and is it giving me meaning and fulfilment?"
Are you having fun in your life? If not, why not?
It’s easy for anyone to slip into an unconscious way of living, where we become accustomed to the same routine, without really questioning the direction we are going.
Rumi’s words are poignant, and for me they had the effect of giving me a kick up my rear-end, causing me to question if I was really living as my authentic self. For a long time I was doing what I felt I ‘should’ do, but underneath I felt empty and unfulfilled. Over a longer period I became filled with doubt about my own abilities and this affected the relationship I had with myself and others, leaving me feeling down, low in energy and motivation, and just simply - unhappy. I was looking at my life through a lens of scarcity and deprivation, focusing on what was missing. Needless to say it didn’t lead me to a path of joy and happiness.
One of the first things a Life Coach will tell you is that ‘if you want things to be different in your life, you need to think, believe and do things differently’.
Several years of my own personal transformation was a slow transition from seeing myself in a limited way, to living life in my own way, and feeling gratitude for the blessings and abundance I was experiencing every day. Deep down I knew that only I was responsible for my happiness, not other people or the ‘things’ I thought I needed in life.
Putting energy into what makes your heart sing
At mid-life we often realise life is too precious to waste time putting energy where it doesn't serve or nourish us. Making the change in my life meant not just talking about it, but actually taking action.
So why don't we put energy into doing what makes our heart sing? Why do we have a belief that it's not ok to be happy? If we did believe in our own happiness we would do more of what makes our heart sing.
There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path in life.
We can invest a lot of energy into thinking and knowing stuff about ourselves, but nothing changes until we actively and consciously do something about it.
When we are doing what we most love, we are able to make better choices in life because we are less stressed and we can think and see more clearly the options available, and what is good for us.
We create health and abundance in life when we do what we love
Doing what we love activates the feel good hormones in our body – dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, estrogen, progesterone. This means we can experience feeling good both physically, mentally and emotionally when we are doing what we love and being our authentic self.
Did you know that when we spend time doing something creative (zoning out and using our imagination), we naturally relax? When I get lost in my ‘happy place’ of doing what I love, I find that I see more beauty and abundance in life. I notice details in my surroundings and in people that were previously invisible to me. I am more appreciative for what I have, rather than worried about what I have not. Friendships are more cherished, and every day experiences are enjoyed rather than taken for granted. As my mind settles into peace and calm, stress leaves my body. Motivation and inspiration return fuelling my sense of purpose and mission. I feel a zest for life and gratitude for who I am. Rather than ‘making’ life happen, I ‘allow’ my inner light to shine. Now, I just focus on being ‘me’.
When we 'still' the noisy mind we hear the answers from within.
If you have trouble finding the ‘real’ you inside so that you can do what you love, it may be because your chatterbox mind is ruling the show. If that’s the case, it’s time to let go. Let go of the rules and restrictions you put on yourself and you will find that your ‘higher’ self will step forward. You will hear your inner voice speak the truth of your soul to you.
Many of us are not accustomed to letting go of the need to figure everything out. It's a bit like an addiction to the need to constantly 'think' or reason our way through life, and to get those answers we believe will give us certainty. The truth is, there is no certainty in life, so we may as well enjoy what we are doing. We become so focused on problem solving that we loose touch with what most inspires us.
We all have the answers inside. No one else knows you better than yourself. All you need to do is trust yourself. Don’t be afraid of being the ‘real’ you. It’s your life, so make it count and do what you love. Be purposeful and enjoy your life.
When we listen to our heart and soul, and do more of what we truly love, we focus less on the past or what could be in the future. We just end up living in the now – which is really all we have. It’s in this space we can be our ‘true’ self. When we are doing what we love, there is no effort or resistance, only peace and joy.
Are you being your true self and doing what you love in life? If not, what can you do, think or believe differently so that your life is lived with spice?
Rebecca Gabrielle, author of "The Power of Soul Loving - a spiritual guide to freedom".
Rebecca Gabrielle has been able to see the magnificence and truth of people’s souls from an early age. With a background in psychology, counselling, life-coaching, spiritual development, and energy healing, Rebecca has fine-tuned her psychic and intuitive skills to connect with the Divine to receive and deliver messages of unconditional love. Through her writing, soul-coaching and card readings she assists people to reconnect with their true self so they can experience clarity, peace of mind, joy and passion for doing what they love.