Early this summer my family gathered in southern Florida to celebrate my mom’s 80th birthday. After a full day of swimming, eating, and playing I joined my nephews on a pull out couch upstairs in the loft where they had just gotten ready for bed…watching a show. I crawled in between them and my younger nephew sighed in the most simple way and quietly said the exact words I was feeling…’I’m happy.’
The Gush. A word I use to describe a feeling that I really enjoy. A connected feeling. A satisfying feeling. An expansive feeling – anything can happen…anything is possible.
The Gush happened this week during a morning walk. I observed six white pelicans floating in a big pond. I connected to the beauty of the moment. This time the Gush was quite literal as tears welled up behind my eyes. A connected feeling. A satisfying feeling.
My brother once asked me about this thing I talk about…this feeling. I have only referred to it as the Gush in a school setting. I think I named it ‘the Gush’ when I began to practice it intentionally during times when I knew I was feeling judgemental or irritated…feeling a strong sense of being ‘right’ – meaning that the other was clearly wrong and interfering with my day. It helped me level the playing field and care about the other person…to create a space for problem solving rather than add to negative energy.
My brother asked if the feeling I refer to (I originally called it the ‘I Am’ space in a self-awareness curriculum I began several years ago) is what he feels after a good workout…at the water fountain..satisfied…complete. Of course. That’s the feeling. Connected. Alive. Present.
I lead my thinking.
As you practice self-awareness you become quite good at recognizing different feeling states in your body. As you begin to orient your belief system toward a ‘life is for me’ theme…you start to recognize how you like to feel…THEN…you can intentionally practice thoughts that allow that good feeling to be your baseline…and you return to it over and over again…using the discomfort as a tool to help you focus on alignment with what feels good.
I’ve learned how to use my thinking intentionally to create this ‘gush’ – it’s great in meetings, waiting in line, or whenever you recognize discomfort (I don’t want to be here…this is not going to go well…we’re never going to figure this out…). For example, when I notice the discomfort I can intentionally use the memory of ‘I’m happy’ or the pelicans to shift the way I feel inside…and then turn that feeling toward the people who are actually with me in the meeting, in line, or whatever the circumstance.
As you become familiar with this state, you may recognize that it is a variation of other good feeling states…and it often shows up when you orient yourself toward it on purpose, or when life ‘surprises and delights’ you with a beautiful scene in nature or a natural setting with people, animals, things that you enjoy and bring you comfort.
Here are three ideas that can help you connect with this expansive state:
- When you notice that you feel good…own it…without trying to put boundaries or a definition to it…allow it…enjoy the state. Maybe ‘state the state’ like my nephew: I’m happy.
- Intentionally practice habits that support a good feeling state particularly when you wake up after rest…practice one of the usual suspects: taste your coffee, go for a walk, write, listen to or read inspirational content, etc.
- Nature. Whatever feels most natural to you…this could be just spending time being present with children in a calm or play state that is natural, doing art or creating/making without rules and boundaries, pleasurable activities that are natural to you (ie: sex), and then the obvious ‘time spent in nature’.
…there is nothing wrong with you…you have a natural way of being exactly who you are…you are the dragon warrior…chosen…to bring peace back to the valley…the inner valley…