“You need to start living life with open palms. You tried to grasp onto the good times you had, and the experience has gone. But any challenges you have now will also go, you just need to hold onto them softly, with open palms.”
-As quoted by Benjamin Fishel
The idea of living life with open palms has been on my mind a lot lately. When our life is happily humming along and things are going great, we tend to want to clench onto the moment with an iron fist. However, life is a constant ebb and flow so holding onto anything too tightly can lead to disappointment, frustration, and discontentment. Here’s where the open palm comes in to remind us that accepting our humanity means accepting that pain is part of life. But just like joy and all other emotions, pain is a temporary. Keeping open palms through the good and bad allows us to maintain our presence and curiosity through each experience which in turn brings longer term satisfaction and contentment.
If you’re struggling with finding joy and satisfaction in your life, take a look at some of the common issue that may be contributing:
- Comparing yourself to other
- Waiting for the right time or conditions like having enough money or reaching a certain weight to allow yourself to feel joy or do the things you’ve dreamed of
- Constantly being busy but not doing things that bring you joy, overworking, not having time to enjoy the activities that usually make you happy
- Trying to fulfill others’ expectations of you that you as opposed to asking yourself what you want and what deeply matters to you
- Socialization of women not being allowed to seek or savor pleasure especially when it comes to sexuality or food
Despite all these barriers that we may come up against daily, there are many ways to overcome them. Here are some ways to keep your palms open and let joy and satisfaction come into your life:
- 5 Senses Technique – Intentionally engage all five of your senses. Wear clothes that feel comfortable on your body, light a candle with a scent that bring you joy, set the table nicely when you sit down for a meal, take in the aroma of a fresh cup of coffee, or put on some music that makes you want to dance. Scanning your body for the current sensations it’s feeling can instantly help put you into a mindful place.
- Mindfulness – Slow down and be present for your life. If you’re always looking ahead and planning what’s next or get bogged down in what has happened before, you miss what is happening now. Consistent mindfulness takes practice. Try meditation to help guide your mind and body to being more mindful in everyday life. Get curious and present with your experiences, good and bad, for they are all fleeting. Practicing mindfulness helps us get the most out of our experiences.
- Self-Compassion – Treat yourself like you treat your loved ones or a young child. Show yourself care and nurturance.
- Being Vulnerable and Authentic – The more you let your whole self be known, flaws and all, the more you will experience full acceptance.
- Gratitude – Being grateful helps you to focus on what you have and what you enjoy. Each day make a list of the things you are grateful for in your life – big and small. Share your gratitude with others.
- Service and Community – Joining a club, group, or movement can help us to feel more connected to each other. Find a meaningful cause and do what you can to forward the cause such as educating yourself, volunteering, donating money, or spreading awareness. Even if you think your effort is small, it in can help fulfill the biological need for community and acceptance.
- Alignment – Take some time to think about where your values lie and how they align with your current life. Any discord between these two can result in negative emotions. Start spending your time and energy on activities that are inline with your values.
- Enjoyable Activities – Pay attention to how you feel when you’re doing something. Does it give you energy or zap your energy? After you’re finished do you feel satisfaction and peace or exhausted and anxious? Keep a mental catalogue of these feelings, it will help guide you in which activities will truly bring you joy and satisfaction.