Good day, team,
This week’s challenge is about hunger, as in hungering for something you don’t have. We all understand the typical use of this word as it relates to food. I want to address the spiritual or emotional hunger that can create so much longing within us we will change our entire lives to satiate it. So what is it? Good question. It’s hard to describe what is not tangible, is invisible, seems to come out of nowhere at any time it chooses and is almost impossible to understand with the logical mind.
It can be a longing to belong, a deep desire to be loved, a strong sense that what you’re doing in life doesn’t align with your inner values, an itch you can’t scratch, a purpose unfulfilled, a strong conviction that you must do something about this thing you can’t even describe. I could go on, but many of us know exactly what I’m talking about. And we know the experience of this intuition or conscience—for lack of better words to describe what’s actually happening–how it can awaken us in the middle of the night with a pain in our hearts so devastating we can barely breathe.
Last week, I went to see “Avatar,” and the film went right to the phenomenon I am describing: A man is involved in a project that will result in the extermination of the peaceful beings he ends up living with on another planet. In the course of the movie, he finds his true values and becomes more and more hungry to align his actions with his deepest feelings and beliefs.
I even experienced some of the hunger myself when I walked out of the theater. For more than two hours I was immersed in lush landscapes full of neon colored lights, beautiful background music, and tall, slim, bluish-green people who had a special connection to and appreciation of all sentient beings. I was hit by a deep hunger as I re-entered four city blocks of parking lot next to a shopping mall under grey skies. Who would prefer to live here, I thought. How do I get to that paradise? I was hungry to return to fairyland.
The next morning I read that huge numbers of people around the world have seen this film, many of them more than once. Are they just attracted to the special effects? The storyline is not extraordinary, and the acting is pretty average. What it is about this film that appeals to so many people so deeply? What are they hungering for?
The article went on to say that many of the people who have gone to see the film are experiencing a sort of after-“Avatar” depression. They want what that colorful, beautiful, peaceful place full of beings who make profound heart-felt connections with each other have, and they can’t seem to find it here. That world full of love and light must be so central to our true nature that when it’s represented in a work of art, we gravitate to it.
This week, see what you’re truly hungry for and try doing something about it. We can create a more “Avatar”-like world by expanding our own hearts and having the courage to embrace what we desire. Years ago, I volunteered for the SMART reading program. It fed me in a way that nothing else has since. I miss the emotional food that I received from the loving children I read to each week. Thirteen years ago I changed career paths. I took that leap of faith to be able to do something for a living that was in better alignment with my inner values. Soon after I moved to Portland, I determined to meet people and made myself go to a particular coffee shop in Portland where I would start chatting with someone who looked like they also wanted to make new friends. Sometimes people were annoyed but other times, people welcomed my reaching out to them. With this little bit of courage, I was rewarded with new friends and a richer emotional life. I couldn’t let fear prevent me from expanding my life.
One of my clients pulled himself out of the depths of depression, (both the one he experienced emotionally and the one he left on the seat of his recliner that he escaped to daily). He identified his hunger and changed his life to find that inner joy he had lost touch with. After 15 years of going to the same job, sitting in the same cubicle, doing the same programming job, he found what rekindled his joy and now takes people fishing six months out of the year and does programming the other six months. He had the courage to face that gnawing in the pit of his stomach and created a better way to live his life that offered him the peace and tranquility of nature and an opportunity to share it with others. Is he happier? Without question. I think he saved his life.
As he said to me recently, “I’m not sure I even know who that guy was who hid in the recliner in front of the t.v. every night. My life has changed so completely and I’m so much more satisfied, it seems like someone from another life.”
Have a good week!
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