Someone once told me something I’ve never forgotten. It’s a very simple analogy, you may even liken it more to a story, but the simplicity of it is why it works. I find it helps me on the days when I’m not feeling so chirpy, or I’m being hard on myself, or when life is not going according to my expectations. It goes like this:
When we are born, we have all our switches turned on. Imagine. Little lights all over our bodies with switches to operate each one. We’re radiant, beaming with light. We have a little switch for enthusiasm, another for connection, one for love, one for adventure, one for joy, one for desire, one for fun, another for our belief in magic or the unseen, one for enthusiasm for life, one for creation. You get the idea. The list can go on and on. These are my chosen ideas for the switches, the ones that appeal to me, but you can come up with your own.
But things change over time. Over the course of our lives, these little switches get turned off. One by one, the lights start to dim and many just, well, go out. A teacher once made fun of me in one of our first physics classes at junior school. Instead of writing bulleted points in a scientific fashion for my homework, I’d written a nice long and descriptive story. I was so proud of my observations when I handed in my notebook to her that day, certain I’d done a great job. Yet quite unexpectedly, she singled me out and read my ‘essay’ out loud to the class, laughing at how long it was, how unscientific, how silly. It caused me great shame and embarrassment and that day, one of my little lights went out.
You’ll no doubt be able to think of countless times something similar has happened to you. Something someone did, or the meaning you attached to it which caused one of your little switches to dim, or turn off. When you were ruined by love and vowed never to give your heart to another. When you stopped making friends because you thought you had enough, or perhaps when you told yourself you were getting ‘too old for that’ and stopped going to techno-infused nightclubs, or when you stopped skinny-dipping because you got too sensible.
And over time, the odd one or two begin to mount up, don’t they? Then, before you realise it (and often you don’t), many of your lights are well and truly dipped. That little boy or girl with so much vigour, joy and excitement for life, has now become someone who watches over their shoulder for the next oncoming vehicle and expects to be run over by life at any moment. Sometimes you don’t even notice. Failure and average becomes expected, par for the course. You’ve stop dreaming. You’ve stop dancing naked in the rain. You’ve stopped living. Einstein’s quote comes into play and you recognise life has ceased to become the miracle you once thought
There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
But what if, after reading this and recognising that this could indeed be you, you found that you could turn all those little switches back on again? Restore your vibrancy. As simply as that. Reach out, and turn the switches back on, one by one. Today you might want a joy of life back on, and you go out into the park or your garden and instead of walking by with your eyes glued to your phone, you look up and actually see, smell, feel the beauty that was always right there in front of you. But today you see that beauty once again in glorious technicolour. Or maybe you’ve been burnt in the past by a callous lover. But today, you recognise that was then and this is now, and instead of playing the victim and keeping small, you’re going to turn the love switch back up to full volume and get out there and find somebody new.
Like I said, it’s a simple idea. But if you’re anything like me, you might just find it works for you, too.
This piece also features on Medium.com