"When was the last time that you did something just because it felt good and not because you had to?"
I felt the wind knocked out of me. Her question had rendered me speechless. And, as a woman who makes a living (and a life) with words, I can say with certainty that that almost never happens.
… Just because it felt good?
I searched through my recent memory, flipping through the past few days, weeks, months.
I sat in stunned silence and realized... I had spent so much time and energy building up other parts of my life - the career, the house, the savings account - that I had forgotten to build in experiences that felt good. For no other reason than that they might, well, feel good. What other reason did I need?
Now, I don't mean to say that I don't have a truly magnificent life and don't "feel good" on a regular basis. I have an unreal life. Wonderful family, incredible friends, a phenomenal sweetheart, and an abundantly beautiful existence. I'm grateful for every sweet little bit of it.
But, for me, feeling good was an after-thought, a side-effect of the relationships and habits that were built into my life. It wasn't the point or the purpose, and, without the intention (or attention) in place, I caught only the crumbs of those good vibrations.
Only the crumbs. I thought to myself, surely we were built for more than crumbs.
So, I decided to explore. What makes me feel good?
I began by simply asking the question.
I gathered lists of things that made other women feel good. Massages, coloring in coloring books, singing, dancing, chanting. Hiking, walking with the dog, dance parties with their kids, drinking green juice. Nights out with girlfriends, mani-pedi appointments, dreaming about their ideal life. Running, biking, creating collages, yoga. My girlfriends are magic when it comes to feeling good.
And then I tried them on for size. In the process, I learned a hell of a lot about myself and what gets me vibe-ing with joy.
I'll never be a runner, but 20-minutes of yoga can right any bad mood.
I don't have kids but playing on the carpet with my dog is a jolt of all things good and pure and joyful.
I love when the house is empty, and I can blast my favorite Spotify playlist, sing loudly, and dance in my socks on the slick hardwood floors.
And creativity, in whatever form I'm craving, never, ever fails to feel good.
Here are my Top 10 - the top ten things that can make me feel crazy-wonderful-amazing right now (in no particular order):
- Stream-of-consciousness gratitude lists. A list of the top 100.
- Cat naps in the shade on a warm day. Even better? Hammock naps. Oh, sweet goodness, yes. Hammock naps.
- Reading at coffee shops. People watching at coffee shops.
- Yoga, yoga, yoga.
- Impromptu dance parties.
- When my honey scratches my back.
- FaceTiming/texting/phone calls with my best friend. Deep, deep trust there.
- Creative expression. Singing. Dancing. Writing. Drawing. In the zone.
- Long, slow walks. No destination. No time limit.
- Getting lost in my favorite local bookstore.
Learning more about what feels good just because it feels good… well, it's expanding my heart and my life and my ability to receive. Which, in turn, expands my ability to give.
It's no longer about crumbs. It's about getting a whole slice of whatever feels good.
Photo Source: Sylwia Bartyzel, Unsplash
Kate McCarthy is a writer, mentor, and the founder of katekmccarthy.com, a wholehearted hub for all things creativity and courage.
She’s been called the voice doula, copy makeover artist, and fairy godmother for your words, but, whatever the title, she’s passionate about hearing your heart and helping you hear it better, too.
Kate lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband, Patrick. She’s obsessed with coffee, cats (she has two), a puppy named Tonks, tall pine trees, daily dance parties, and love. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram and over at the katekmccarthy.com blog.