The last two weeks at work have been interesting. Every day there is something new – an important customer threatening to leave, a death in a colleague’s family or a spam mail sent to a customer.
I also recently watched the Season 2 of Indian Matchmaking. This time for every episode, they interviewed couples who were married from mere weeks to years. And one of the couples defined marriage as – falling in love again and again.
I am sure some of you are wondering what the similarity between the above two scenarios is. The groundhog movie analogy can explain the similarity. In both cases, you have the same experience every day. You wake up – work and marriage.
Now, I have had two experiences – one where every day was a chore and another where every day was exciting. I have had jobs where I woke up and convinced myself or gave myself a pep talk to go to work. And I have had jobs where I wake up looking forward to a day. At the same time, I have had these two polar opposite experiences in the same job.
Let’s switch to the zen saying about – Chopping wood and carrying water. In the older days in Zen monasteries, a big part of a monk’s daily life included chopping wood and carrying water. And in essence, life is about chopping wood and carrying water. Overall, in the big picture, you are born, and then you wake up every day, do stuff and then go to bed – and eventually, we all die.
When we chop wood or carry water (aka stuff) for the first time – we are super excited. We talk to other people about it and write reviews about it. Then mind takes over – excitement fades away and gives way to boredom. And then we find ourselves complaining about something that we absolutely loved.
Let’s tie everything together. Let’s say every day you woke up was a new day – then will you be as excited to do the same thing every day? It’s like you are falling in love again and again with the same thing. You are excited about chopping wood and carrying water every single day of your life. You are excited to be married to the same person every single day of your life. You are excited to be doing the same job every single day of your life.
Let’s face reality – chances that we wake up with no memories of the previous day are probably not going to happen. So given that we have experienced everything that we have done so far – what can be done to regain the feeling of first love? Is it even possible to do something with as much gusto as you did the first time?
As per that couple – the husband has managed to fall in love again and again with the same person. We have all experienced the feeling that we love doing something repeatedly. Maybe we can explore and find out what keeps us engaged. Chances are that when we love something, we are not thinking about the past or future – we are just present. When we realize that life is happening only in the NOW – suddenly, things become very interesting.
We need to build the muscle that lets us learn from our past but keep the experience fresh – to experience everything without any baggage. There is nothing wrong with seeking change, but if you are forced to live in a circumstance where change is impossible, build the muscle to see everything with fresh eyes.
The starting point for everything is the thoughts that go through your head – just watch them. Can you do that?