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4 New Words to Help You Love Your Life Now

4 New Words to Help You Love Your Life Now

This might be too much information, but the other day as I was sitting in the restroom of a coffee shop, I glanced at the wall in front of me where either bored or inspired patrons had inscribed their particular sentiments.

One scrawled word caught my eye: Exploreality.

    “What a cool word,” I thought to myself.

    Walking back to my table, I turned the word over and over in my head.

    Exploreality. Exploreality.

    I’m not sure what the artist meant when she scribbled the word on the wall, but it did what good art is supposed to do – it made me think.

    That’s how I understood the word and it got me pondering about what it meant to me.Explore reality.

    A portmanteau is a combination of two words into one new word such as exploreality. Here are a few of my own portmanteaus to sum up my thoughts about the inspirational restroom art.

    1. Extendenial

    Why did the bathroom writer encourage us to explore reality?

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    Because we spend most of our time in a type of veiled, extended denial – extendenial.

    Denial sometimes gets a bad rap. When we are traumatized or experience severe adversity, denial is a protective factor that helps us rest before we actively address the trauma or problem.

    But used too much, denial gets in our way.

    It prevents us from seeing what is right in front of us – the life that we have, not the life that we think we should have.

    It’s this latter idea that forms our veil of extendenial. We don’t embrace the reality of what is in front of us because we hold an illusion that “someday” life will be ____________. (Fill in the blank with whatever you don’t have right now.)

    Don’t get me wrong. There is certainly nothing wrong with having goals.

    But how much of life are you missing by thinking, “I’ll be happy when . . .”?

    2. Busymbiotic

    A way to extendenial is to be busymbiotic – having a symbiotic relationship with being busy.

    Our social norm of “busy = productive = good” has caused us to glom onto busyness as though it is an integral and reciprocal part of us. Just like a symbiote, we think we need busyness in order to do well in the world and be happy.

    But busyness is just another way to engage in seeking the “someday” life and disengage from the life that you have right now, both the glory and the gloom.

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    Someone commented on my blog the other day that she decided to put away the busyness of life so that she could get on with the business of life.

    Amen to that.

    3. Interactuality

     So, how do you stop being so busymbiotic that you’re in a state of extendenial?

    By interacting with your actual life – interactuality.

    Let me say again that there is certainly nothing wrong with having goals and being motivated to better yourself in life both emotionally and materially.

    But interact with your days now as you are working toward those goals.

    Enjoy friendships.

    Learn something new.

    Notice how you like the aroma of coffee in the morning but would be happy to not have to smell your partner’s burnt oatmeal again.

    Find something that you like about work and emphasize that in your mind. Note the difference between that feeling and the one that comes up when your annoying co-worker walks by.

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    Life is good and bad, joy and misery, contentment and discontent, and many shades of gray in between those things.

    But it’s your actual life. Interact with it.

    Love your life now.

    4. Remindfulness

    Yes, this portmanteau is exactly what it looks like: reminding yourself to be mindful.

    Mindfulness is the art and practice of noticing your present experience without judgment.

    So maybe part of what inhibits you from exploring reality is that reality isn’t such a great place for you so it’s easier to be in extendenial.

    But is life really that bad or are you making it worse with judgmental thinking?

    The thing about mindfulness is that it allows you to be engaged in your current life experience without all of the drama that you add to it in your head.

    So for example, as I’ve been writing this, I’ve drifted in and out of extendenial and remindfulness.

    Although I enjoy writing, it’s very hard for me. It takes a long time and I can get very easily distracted.

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    My thoughts tend to go something like this:

    Geez, this is taking forever. Maybe I’m just not meant to be a writer. I really want to do something else right now. Focus . . . focus . . . you can do this. Other people must be faster at this than I am. Maybe I should . . . squirrel!”

    You can see that I spend a lot of internal energy wishing my life was something other than it is at the moment.

    But when I remind myself to be mindful, I come into the present, take a breath and realize that I’m . . .  okay.

    Even with a mind that gets distracted by a squirrel or takes a long time to finish a sentence. It’s all okay and I recognize that my mind has been making me miserable only seconds before by judging my experience of writing.

    Now that I’m in the present and not judging it, I can accept that writing brings me both joy and frustration. Like you, I want the joy and not the frustration.

    But frustration is a part of life and mindfully accepting the emotion, not magnifying it in my head, and moving on frees me from getting stuck and wishing my life was something that it is not.

    Instead, I acknowledge that this is the life I have and to live fully is to interact with it consciously and with mindfulness.

    And, as I remind myself to be mindful by taking that deep breath, I look up and notice the sun outside my window and hear the sound of the chimes in the trees as they blow gently in the breeze.

    Reality.

    I’m exploring mine. What about you?

    Featured photo credit:

    Heart in Hands via Shutterstock

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      Last Updated on March 13, 2019

      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

      How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

      Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

      You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

      Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

      1. Work on the small tasks.

      When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

      Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

      2. Take a break from your work desk.

      Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

      Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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      3. Upgrade yourself

      Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

      The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

      4. Talk to a friend.

      Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

      Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

      5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

      If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

      Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

      Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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      6. Paint a vision to work towards.

      If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

      Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

      Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

      7. Read a book (or blog).

      The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

      Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

      Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

      8. Have a quick nap.

      If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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      9. Remember why you are doing this.

      Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

      What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

      10. Find some competition.

      Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

      Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

      11. Go exercise.

      Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

      Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

      As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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      Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

      12. Take a good break.

      Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

      Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

      Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

      Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

      More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

      Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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