I know, I know. Those of you who know us and who have been following our adventures must be rolling their eyes over my use of the word “boredom”. Because our lives probably look anything but boring. Being nomads, moving from place to place, working on creative projects wherever we go, discovering new things. I mean, yes – it’s an exciting life – and we’ve been hooked to all the external stimuli we seem to get from it.
But then, even within this endless adventure – there’s a time where we find boredom. A time when, ironically, we live that contradiction where it does feel like we’ve somehow spent too long in one place, even if we haven’t. And when things do not feel so “new” and exciting anymore.
First signs of that happening is when we start to fidget, looking for the next thing to do, or see, or discover and then realize that nothing will really make the cut, as it did a few weeks ago. Going to yet another beautiful coffeeshop (as we love to go to) and feeling less and less inspired. Exploring another new neighbourhood, experiencing cultural sights and having fewer and fewer butterflies in our stomachs. Finding fewer and fewer ideas in this place where we’ve come to expand our creativity. It is ironic that we get to experience this …as nomads. Perhaps it is just time for us to “move on”. But wait… what exactly does this state of mind really mean?
Now before you judge me for pointing out what seems to be a #firstworldproblem, let me just say that it felt like a message. It made me realize just how hooked we really are to external stimuli. Not just us nomads, or creatives in search of adventure. This is not about me. It’s about everyone. We are all, to a certain extent, hooked on… well… doing. Seeing. Experiencing. So, we end up in an unfamiliar place when we actually run out of things to do next. Or when we don’t feel like doing anything. A somewhat frustrating place: that “blah” state that we all seem to dread. Isn’t that right?
Well, guys – I made a ground-breaking discovery. That “blah” state of mind does have a reason to be. It’s the universe that’s trying telling us something!
Yes. It certainly feels like that if you pay attention – which makes it instantly less frustrating and more intriguing.
While experiencing this newfound boredom and lack of intake from the outside world, something in my mind changed. What happened is that, my attention shifted from the external to the internal.
This generated a subtle little transformation. Instead of looking for the next external source of inspiration (a new destination, a new culture, a new environment), I looked for that inspiration in my own internal space. In the body and the mind that has carried all my frantic nomadic experiences these past few months. Is there anything that I have kept “inside” all this time? Any emotions, patterns that were buried and that should be brought back to the surface? Am I disconnected? Is there anything about myself that I need to examine?
So I took a step back. Or…in.
- I realized that despite my interest in health, I haven’t been eating very mindfully, so I decided to start watching my food choices just a little more closely and how those affect me. I noticed I haven’t been consistent with exercising either, so I analyzed why that was – then created a little fun challenge with attainable goals that I can experiment with. I also questioned what it is about this place that doesn’t inspire me to do yoga or meditate, and found some answers here and there.
- I reflected upon the relationships I have with people. Family, friends and clients. Which, even in this busy life, should not be ruled by time and planning but rather spontaneity and care. Acceptance as the state of mind that brings me most joy. Just being a caring person and accepting other people’s inability to catch up sometimes, yet being aware of when a relationship is toxic and knowing how to deal with that too.
- Thinking about my daily interactions with David, this human being that I spend all my time with. Of how incredible it is to be able to be so raw and honest with somebody and how grateful I can be about it. Realizing that in the present moment, there’s nothing that is keeping us apart, nothing that we cannot share with each other.
- Examining which parts of my day bring me joy, what times of the day I have the least energy and why. Looking back into my past work, my present work, de-structuring it, seeing which projects have brought me the best ratio of fulfilment, and what those who haven’t, have taught me about myself.
- Speaking of projects – one of my “personal” projects in illustration is really flourishing at the moment. Which makes me feel encouraged to keep pursuing it. I try to pay close attention to what brings me the inspiration to produce this craft, so I can do it even better.
- Similarly, I analyzed my interests and how they have been shifting these past months. There has been an ongoing longing for slow-living values, connection with nature (and how that explains why I’m technically not in the right place at the moment), as well as a newfound, inner craving for spiritual knowledge, making me suddenly drawn to all things mystical. I’m currently reading a book which is de-bunking a lot of myths about astrology, tarot and so on. It is so fascinating and it could perhaps help me discover a side of life I did not know before! I might share more about all this as I experiment with it.
- I visualized how I feel about being here now and how I imagine being back home in a couple weeks, when we’ll take a short break from our nomadic journey. And what “home” will really represent at that moment, physically and emotionally.
That’s just me, and that’s just the start of a little inwards “opening” process can bring. My point is: boredom can reveal things. I’m not saying it is life-changing, but one thing it definitely does is allow you to connect with yourself.
So think about this next time you feel like you’re in that zone that’s void of inspiration or things to do. If you too, feel like “external” life is boring you right now, don’t fret – see it as an opportunity to reflect inwards. That is the role of stillness, after all.
This post’s illustration was inspired by Hannah Snowdon. Of course I HAD to draw her someday! She’s such a kickass tattooist and charitable human being.