The other day, I drove out to my favorite beach in Santa Cruz. I climbed down the salty wooden stairway and sat in the sand. My spot is called Pleasure Point, and is predominantly inhabited by surfers. The beach is below street level, which allows you to lean your back against the cliffs and hide out from the world above. I do some of my deepest recharging here.
Anyway, on this particular day I pulled out my journal to explore my "Why?". I sometimes struggle with the emptiness of autopilot. I take the path of least resistance- using the same strategies and routines to get me through the day. Asking "why?" invited me to rediscover the purpose of my behavior. Behavior is guided by principles and goals and morals. I have constructed systems that propel me towards these. The act of calling them into conscious thought reminds me who I am, and why I have chosen to be this way.
Holistic health and human connection: two things I hold in the highest regard. I strive, in thought and action, to coax them into my life. My "Why?" musings from the aforementioned day all align with one or both. I'll share below.
~ Why do I exercise?
I do it to feel the endorphin rush, and to viscerally experience my tank running out. I do it to cultivate discipline, consistency, and health. I do it for the pride and satisfaction of having a solid workout practice under my belt. I like walking the walk- to know why I look and feel the way I do. I do it to feel strong, capable, and beautiful"
~ Why do I eat the way I do?
I choose food to satisfy micro- and macro- nutrient needs. I eat for energy, satiety, and social connection. I usually choose healthy because the cells of our food are rearranged into the cells of our bodies. I indulge because I love sweetness and the adrenaline rush of sugar and breaking the "rules". I like feeling full and absent of the sensation of food- seeking. I indulge too much when I am very tired, stressed, overly restricted, or out of healthy food options.
I'll stop here to separate my "Why?" into two categories. The questions above address decisions I make that spur positive momentum. The questions that follow delve into behaviors that divert me away from my guiding principles.
~Why do I apologize?
I do it because it shows submission and humility, which draw people in. I do it because it allows me to acknowledge the possibility that I have offended someone. I do it to reduce tension, avoid conflict, and initiate an "it's okay" reaction from others. I know that I crave these in an insatiable way. It's important to learn to do this for myself.
~ Why do I over- love on the people in my life?
I do it for them because of how amazing it feels when it's done for me. I do it because I think it keeps the love alive in friendships and relationships. I do it because it initiates "I love you too"'s and I am a black hole for these. Still not sure why it surprises me every time someone says it, chooses me, or thinks I'm smart. (These three things haunt me)
~ Why do I back away from plans?
Visceral nervous energy. Exhaustion. The possibility of doing something else that I actually want to do. I'm more introverted than I think? I am depleted by social activity and my body knows better than I do what my limits are? Maybe my intuition knows how to prioritize my time more than my conscious self.
It is challenging and good to ask "Why?". It can bring meaning to our mundane. It can reawaken excitement about our loftiest goals. It can invite critical thought about our broken habits- and perhaps invite us to change. With this piece, I invite you to delve into the "man behind the curtain" in your life. Reconnecting with purpose and intention helps us to feel like badass creators of our own fortune. And this is exactly what we are!