This question, which may appear selfish at first, is one that can shed light on just about any situation or problem that we’re facing.
It can help us make up our mind about tricky decisions. It can help us prioritise when faced with an overflowing to-do list. And it can improve any and every relationship we’re in.
When I tell you this question in a moment you are going to know it so well and yet for many people it poses problems.
Either they can’t really get in touch with it or for some reason can’t seem to apply it to themselves and their lives (it’s much easier to do for other people of course).
Or they hold it so so tightly that nothing can move.
So what is this question?
It’s a pretty common sight. Two people looking at a video on a phone and laughing at whatever nonsense they’ve just been watching.
We’ve all done it and I am eternally grateful to the light and easy entertainment that comes from being able to access all this material with such ease I do wonder how it might be affecting me.
There have of course been concerns about this for a long time.
Is it monopolising our attention to the detriment of real life relationships?
Are we outsourcing our capacity to think for ourselves?
Are we turning into people who can only consume and can’t create?
Well…… yes and no.
His theory that the universe revolves around the sun was definitely revolutionary for his time (no pun intended).
Until then it had been thought that the sun and all the planets revolved around the earth.
His revelation totally changed the whole understanding of how the universe worked. No small thing.
It definitely offered a superior explanation to what was available at the time.
And yet we also know now that the Sun is not the centre of the universe, but only the centre of our solar system.
What is the purpose of life?
For some it is the accumulation of as much wealth as possible.
For others it is the pursuit of love.
And for some it is how to make the biggest contribution.
In the world of coaching and self-help a lot of focus has been put on finding the way we are going to change the world into a better place.
A lot of work goes into discovering ‘the thing we were put on this earth to do.’ A kind of mission that we have been giving by those on high, a special role we are to fulfil for humanity.
There is SO much incredible research and writing on how beneficial gratitude is as a state to develop.
A simple google search throws up any number of books and articles on the subject.
My personal favourite is ‘Thanks! How the new science of gratitude can make you happier’ by Robert Emmons which is informative, well-researched and an enjoyable read.
Some of the reported benefits of cultivating the state of gratitude are that it improves productivity, health, sleep, relationships, resilience and happiness while reducing depression.
For some people dreams are just the byproduct of our brains ceaseless whirring, a kind of soup made up of our hopes and dreams and the innumerable little happenings of our day.
For others they are a way that our unconscious minds process our emotional lives so that we can make sense of our day and discharge any stress we may have picked up.
And for still others they are messengers from the gods. Or at the very least from the spiritual realm.
~ Are you taking the offers that life is giving you? Insights from improvised theatre ~
In improvised theatre there is a beautiful and well-known principle which keeps a scene moving forwards and stops it from getting stuck.
It’s very simple and as useful to maintain flow in life as it is in keeping a scene going.
The principle is called ‘yes and…’ and at it’s simplest is a way of making sure that we continue the thread that another person has started.
So simple, but what it does is it stops a person from the habit that most people have of blocking an offer.
Have you ever had the experience where someone has so completely bamboozled you that before you know it you’re completely disconnected from your power?
And before you know it you’re handing over money or engaged in something that in a clearer state of mind you’d never contemplate?
This happened to me once early one Sunday morning when I’d popped out for a relaxing coffee in Brixton, London.
I was happily reading my book when I became aware of a presence in front of me.
Have you ever thought of a friend that you haven’t seen for a while and then lo and behold they call moments later?
It’s a very weird experience when it happens. And it happens to me more often than seems likely if it were only down to coincidence.
But does this really point towards the idea that the universe is conscious? Or do we live in a universe that is like a beautifully oiled machine?
You’re sitting at dinner with your partner and you ask them a question about their day. They don’t really respond and you’re left hanging.
Or you’re telling them about the day you’ve had and from their body language and lack of interest it feels as if they couldn’t care less.
Or you make an effort to organise a special night out and they turn up an hour late.