How often have you had a “gut” feeling about something? And maybe you did the thing your gut told you to, or you didn’t. Maybe when you didn’t, you thought “dangit I knew that would happen.”
These days we have loads of information about the connection between the brain and the gut, often referred to as the gut-brain axis. This network of communications between the central nervous system, the brain and spinal cord, the autonomic nervous system, the enteric nervous system, and the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis, comes together to create that “gut feeling” we all know.
On some level, we all know that in order to make our best life possible – whatever that looks like for each of us – we have to ask ourselves what we want. Then we have to wait for an answer. A “gut feeling” is often regarded as something of a “spidey sense,” with a bit of mystery about it. But it’s actually just your body saying “yes” or “no.” We can leverage that to help us live more well-rounded lives, tailored to our own wants and needs, if we start to tune into it more often.
The life you want is perfectly balanced for you
We also need to ask ourselves what we want, and this part is key because many of us simply don’t. Many of us float through life from one thing to another, with no real direction. There are plenty of reasons a person might do this, most of which have to do with conditioning. For a lot of people, lack of action is actually a trauma response learned at some point in their formative years.
Not asking ourselves what we want may be rooted in a fear of failure or perfectionism. If we just don’t do anything at all, then we don’t have to fail. Or be judged as imperfect.
Lack of direction, and too much going with the flow without asking what we want, can be a people-pleasing response too. People pleasing as an adult may result when a child doesn’t receive the acknowledgment they need. So they just do whatever their parents want, then whatever their friends want. Later it’s their partners in life, and they never get around to asking what they want.
There are tons of reasons why a person may not ask themselves what they want in life. But I’m starting to think that’s the origin of pretty much every successful life, however a person defines success for themselves. We have to ask ourselves what we want, listen for an answer, then act on that answer.
The importance of life and lunch
Asking yourself what you want can be as big as imagining what your biggest dreams and desires look like, or it can be mundane too, like what to have for lunch. I think both things are worth approaching with curiosity and purpose.
What do I want for lunch? How often do we ask ourselves that question, versus going on autopilot and having whatever’s quickest or easiest or cheapest? What does my body want and need right now, what’s really good for me? How do I feel, low energy or high energy? What would feed me best and help me be amazing today?
What I have been thinking about lately is, do we even realize that we’ve denied ourselves an opportunity to more directly and purposely build our lives in those lunch moments? Do we notice that we didn’t ask what we want, and consider whether we could make that happen? And in doing so we did not look at what would actually serve us best… we didn’t seek balance.
The “lunch question” may be more important than the “life dream question”, particularly at any given moment, because a well-nourished body and brain will make better decisions over the long haul. All the big dreams will come together easier with a strong body, mind, and network in life. You can focus on each of those building blocks every day, all the time, by getting quiet inside, asking yourself a question, listening for an answer, and then honoring that answer.
Too often we make decisions from a place of ill-preparedness. Sometimes that’s due to physical or environmental factors, sometimes it’s because we don’t even make the decisions to begin with. The decisions get made for us.
What would our lives look like if we did more of what we truly want, because we thoughtfully asked and then took meaningful action toward the response?
Peace and love to you, wherever this message finds you.