Have you ever felt the meh? You know, that feeling when things are good but they’re not great. They’re not terrible either. You feel like you have nothing to complain about but you find yourself meandering through life without any real intention or purpose. And all of it feels meh. The only thing that’s missing in those moments are the sparks.
Blame it on last weekend celebration of Bastille Day, but I see these sparks like a firework: something that is going to take you higher and make your heart burst with desire and energy.
The term was coined by Jonathan Fields in his book How to Live a Good Life: Soulful Stories, Surprising Science and Practical Wisdom. The author identified five types of sparks that might have the power to lift you up and fill you with joy and meaning: curiosity, fascination, immersion, mastery and service.
Of course, I had to try.
What sparks me
I remember these being also part of Jonathan Field’s academy at WDS 2017. At the time, I didn’t take the time to do the exercise, but there’s no better time than the present, right?
The Curiosity spark: what are you curious about?
For the past year, one theme that have been on my mind, and the whole purpose behind “UntiedAudrey” was the question of Freedom. My big question is “How can we live more freely? Detached from conventional systems?”, “How can we make subtle changes into our day-to-day life to make it more joyful?”, “How can we be more intentional about our lives, and not just following a system, a culture or a trend?”
The Fascination spark: what fascinates you?
That being said, I have also been fascinated by many topics along the way: productivity is one of them, as well as entrepreneurship, marketing, creativity or travels. I’m interested in self-improvement (through meditation, journaling, retreats to take distance from the day-to-day life, readings…) and I’m following authors that discuss all of these subjects: Jonathan Fields, Leo Babauta, Seth Godin, Brenée Brown, Elisabeth Gilbert, Chris Guillebeau, and more…
There is one topic that fascinates me and that I have not given any time to despite thinking about it often: the race to the South Pole (yup yup…) or, more widely, anything that has to do with climbing a mountain top for the first time (and dying along the way, most of the time… the 1936 Eiger’s north face story is brutal… I love it!) And no, it’s not something I would like to do, but I’m deeply fascinated by the flame that burns within Robert Falcon Scott, Tony Kurtz & co…
The Immersion spark: what type of activity do you get lost in?
Writing is among the activities that put me into a state of flow. Last year, I tried to make it a goal of mine and I crashed and burned. I didn’t like writing because I felt I had to. So I quit for a while, until I found a renewed pleasure into it. I also battled with the shift between writing in French and writing in English. In the end, I believe English is my writing language of choice, even though it’s not my mother-tongue. I know, now, I have to be careful with my approach to writing, even though I’m certain there’s something here for me.
The other activity that I love to pursue is singing. I can spend hours in a rehearsal room singing the same song over and over again, and not be tired of it. I feel like a total fraud with singing. I still believe I suck. I know I suck less than I used to (hello years of lessons), but I still suck nonetheless. But it doesn’t matter, the pleasure in doing it is so strong that I am ready to publicly suck and try not to care about it.
The Mastery spark: what would you like to be really good at?
For all of these things, I have absolutely no feeling of competition, whether it’s with others or with myself.
Yes, of course, there’s my running that I love to see improving. I’m happy when I do a better time or when I run a little longer or a little further. But that’s really the only thing that I feel competitive with myself about. For everything else, I don’t need mastery, I just want pleasure in doing them.
Except maybe with writing. Without trying to be world-class great, I would love to see my skill improve in some way.
The Service spark: is there anyone (or anything) you feel compelled to help?
During many WDS academies and meetups this year, a question often came up: “who do you want to serve?” The answer rose quite naturally in me: “my students”. I feel a deep connection with them and I take a lot of pleasure and a lot of pride in helping them achieve new things and forming their characters.
Strangely enough, for a very long time, I thought about giving less classes, about removing myself from the education system. It doesn’t really fit with my #1 goal: freedom. There’s nothing more boring to me than having to give a 2-hour class every Tuesday at 10:00 am to the same group of students, in the same school. Shoot. Me. Now.
But if I did, I know I would miss the interaction with students, the feeling of transferring my experience to someone else and to see them grow, change and become the wonderful human beings they’re meant to be.
Turns out, it was a deeply moving exercise. Seeing all that written out truly inspired me. I know I promised big things in my last blog post, but, in light of that exercise, I do feel that the juice needs a little more brewing before I can talk more about it. Hang on little tomato!