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Do You Remember How To Truly, Deeply FEEL?

Lately I’ve been realizing that it’s not really the experiences we’re chasing, but rather the feelings we get from them that we’re really after.

For instance…

You don’t go skydiving simply to jump out of a plane and free fall! You go because you want to FEEL ALIVE, and EXCITED, and ADVENTUROUS!

You don’t learn Spanish so you can bitch out the guy that called you Hijo de Puta. You learned because you wanted to FEEL what it’s like to communicate with, learn from, and bitch out a person in a language different than your own. (!Hijo de puta la concha de tu vieja! [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][very very bad words])

We do the things we do because they ultimately give us the feelings that define what makes us truly happy in life.

SEARCHING FOR THAT FEELING

One of my favorite feelings to seek out is THAT FEELING – It’s called that feeling because it doesn’t quite have a singular word that defines it. Simply stated though, it’s the one when everything just seems to make sense and it all just feels RIGHT.

Yes, that feeling.

I started to think more in depth about how to go about seeking out this feeling after reading The Inquisitive Traveler’s Kyle Morgan’s post Where Is That Feeling. Reading about his moment of reencountering that feeling, he described it perfectly as,

“It was one of those moments in your life when you have an epiphany and are brought to a complete standstill, yet all at once it seems as if everything comes to you in a mad torrent, complete understanding of who you are and where you are going.”

I read that and I thought to myself, wow what an amazing moment and feeling. People spend their entire lives hoping to get just a glimpse of what that feels like. And there I was, reading about his experience and feeling inspired.

It’s those moments when you feel you have a complete understanding of who you are and where you are going that life just seems to make sense. It’s just THAT feeling.

CHASING FEELINGS

For me, personally, I am not able to ignore when my general feeling is one in which I’m just not feeling it. I can’t look the other way when something feels off. I can’t not chase a feeling because it seems outside or inside circumstances won’t let me.

I wanted to feel Alive, and Excited and Adventurous. So I jumped out of a plane a couple of years ago and got to stare at the skyline of Philadelphia while I plummeted to the earth with a lunatic who does this for a living tied to me back.

I wanted to feel what it’s like to communicate with, learn from, and bitch out a person in a language other than my own. So, I moved to Argentina for 6 months where I also had the opportunity to bitch out some fugly cat-calling boludos.

Nowadays I’m chasing a lot of feelings. I’m chasing the very one that Kyle was talking about above. I’m chasing after the feelings of accomplishment and the rewards of hardwork through my entrepreneurial endeavors. I’m chasing after the feelings of calmness and peace through practicing and learning more about spirituality. I’m chasing after the feelings of being connected, feeling understood, and feeling part of a group through reaching out and connecting with those that share my passions and values. And the list goes on and on and on!

SO, HOW ARE YOU FEELING?

It seems we are simply on a mission to cross off more and more from our To Do lists. We’re forgetting to actually FEEL! We forget that it’s not the experiences that we really are seeking, but the feeling we get from them. And so, by the time we reach that experience, sometimes we aren’t even sure how to feel anymore.

So,  stop and smell the roses every once in awhile. Let’s you and I both pay attention to each and every nano second of a special moment in which we’re feeling an epiphany, or the love of a significant other or friend, or the accomplishment of reaching a mountain’s highest peak, or really anything that warrants time to FEEL – which is actually EVERYTHING.

We all have to DO in order to BE. But we also all have to FEEL in order to embrace and truly take in what it is we DO and who it is we are BEING.

What feelings are you chasing after? How? Why?

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About Lauren Rains

Hi my name is Lauren Rains. I write about the human experience. Through thick and thin, I’m dedicated to growth, adventure, integrity, and love. The Mad To Live is based on my pursuits, experiments, research, and lessons of challenge and triumph in all areas of life, including being entrepreneur, a writer, a philosopher, a traveler, a teacher, a student, a creative, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a significant other, a stranger and the list goes on. At the end of the day, I believe human beings are here for two reasons: 1.) to love one another with total acceptance, and 2.) to see what we’re made of as we create the possibilities for an abundant life for ourselves and for others. No more bullshit, let's just enjoy our lives.

Share with me what you're getting into that matters to you. It could be stepping into entrepreneurial pursuits, embarking on a journey of the self, making a crazy life change, or even if you're totally stuck. I want to connect with, support, collaborate with, and learn from as many people as possible through this blog (that means you!) Click the *Share* link in the main menu and let's connect by filling out the form.

"What you seek is seeking you."

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  • Well again Lauren, it seems like we are on the same track…

    First off I wanted to mention to you and your followers that your weekly blogs and my responses are more of a theroputic activity for me than anything else. It helps me reflect on my plans, what I have done, and who I have helped along the way…makes ya feel good about yourself and helps assert yourself that no matter what walls you may hit, you have been known to knock them down before and you will again…

    I think this feeling that you are talking about comes from a lot of things and experiences in life. A good friend of mine helped me out just recently. I felt stuck, confused and alone. But I had lost track of who I was, what I had done and what I knew I could do with myself.
    I think setting goals for yourself, whether it be traveling, starting a meet up group, or saving money in a sense gives a pre-THAT feeling because it assures you that you have put the right pieces in place to get to THAT feeling in the future.
    Since I recently just returned from working and living abroad, I could either sit here in my apartment in Jersey City and say…oh man, traveling around Asia, interacting with different cultures and meeting new people was so fun, what possibly can I do now to match that? I forgot one important thing…I LIVE IN AMERICA.
    Every culture I’d want to interact with is just a train ride or walk away. I can join a million MeetUp groups of my choice, I can help those in need, guide others that in doing so will help guide myself. I can give back to people, tell them the stories of my experiences, get feed back from them and maybe we can start to create something where its not a matter of GETTING “that feeling” but holding on to it.

    For me, even looking back at what I have done gives me that feeling. Heck, I’m 23 years old…23…that means really I have only been making decisions on my own since i was in my teens…thats only a handful of years. And I have only been making smart decisions, well im not at that point yet but that doesn’t matter, that can wait for my 30’s haha.
    I think too many people get caught up in NOW NOW NOW and don’t realize that reflection is one of the best medicines. Yea, I understand that nowadays its so easy to gain information, contact others, and move 100 MPH but is that really that happiest way to live? Maybe when I was in Italy and the barber made me wait until he read the entire newspaper before he cut my hair wasn’t something I should have got upset about, I should have looked at it as more of a life lesson…yea you could go shopping, get a haircut, eat, fill up my car and take the highway somewhere, but have I learned anything, haver I experiences anything, have I FELT anything. This was a lesson (not word for word) but something I realized in one of my Landscape Architecture classes in college taught by Terry Clements at Virginia Tech: “The experience makes great landscapes.”

    So maybe we should all read the paper, walk down the street and experience our surroundings, eat with a group of friends over a homemade meal that lasts 4 hours. Maybe the feelings we seek arn’t in a jungle in Africa, a beach in Thailand, a alleyway in Italy…maybe if we stop and look, the feelings we want are from experiences we can take advantage of right around the corner…

    Keep Exploring!!!

    Mark

    • Hey Mark,

      WOW. That is one of the best comment responses I’ve ever gotten! You’ve outdone yourself on this one 🙂 I mean, just reading it I felt, well, GOOD. 🙂

      There are so many great points you made here:
      – “The pre-THAT feeling because it assures you that you have put the right pieces in place to get to THAT feeling in the future.”
      – “I think too many people get caught up in NOW NOW NOW and don’t realize that reflection is one of the best medicines.”
      – “Maybe the feelings we seek arn’t in a jungle in Africa, a beach in Thailand, a alleyway in Italy…maybe if we stop and look, the feelings we want are from experiences we can take advantage of right around the corner…”
      -” “The experience makes great landscapes.”

      Okay I could highlight forever here! So many great points! So many good words if wisdom! Your comment is like PART 2 of my initial posting! haha

      Returning from living abroad is can be tough at times. But we just have to look at it as the next adventure. And hey, at least we get to FEEL what it is like to be like this, ya know? Some people never leave their hometown! We know what it’s like to miss a home – be it the one we grew up in or the one on the other side of the world. I guess the world is our home now, so, we’ll always be missing something somewhere. That’s why it’s so important to remember to just FEEL and BE in that very moment wherever you are. 🙂

      Anyway, may we both walk through these great landscapes that our experiences, and just, well, FEEL. 🙂

    • Mark, that was one of the best responses I’ve ever read, you made me understand something that I’ve kind of known, but haven’t been able to define: perspective. When I originally sought out THAT feeling, I was 19 and somewhat lost emotionally after a long year, I was so far gone that I was ready to do anything to get THAT feeling. It landed me in the middle of southern Nicaragua and ultimately exactly what I was looking for: THAT feeling.

      Flash forward a couple of years after many travels and experiences (good and bad), and I now have perspective… Back when I was 19, I didn’t have that perspective and could only find what I was looking for by being caught up in the NOW NOW NOW, but I did find what I was looking for and for that I’m thankful, but it was only a small piece of the puzzle that has brought me perspective, a puzzle that I’m still filling the pieces in on, the perspective that is needed to ‘stop and look’ and discover that ‘the feelings we want are from experiences we can take advantage of right around the corner’.

      You’re line ‘The experience makes great landscapes’ made everything click for me. For me, it took many many experiences to create one large landscape, that ‘puzzle’ of perspective. I’ll never stop chasing THAT feeling, but perspective allows me to find it in more places.

      Lauren, you did a magnificent job on this article chasing after and defining THAT feeling 🙂

      • Hey Kyle!
        I know, great comment from Mark, right?! And now from you too! 🙂 You guys rock!

        When you think about it though, Perspective and Feeling go hand in hand. It’s the experiences that give you the perspective, and its your perspective that allows you to really get in touch with and understand the feeling of the moment.

        I’m still chasing perspective like crazy but I came a long way after living in China for a year last year. Talk about a million experiences thrown in my face from self discovery, being out of my element, to language barriers, to seeing the world, and the list goes on and on. I live for that stuff man! For just walking through the great landscape of experience.

        Kyle, I’m glad we’re both on a path that let’s us find THAT feeling 🙂

  • Bob Bonsignore

    Excellent Mark- You got it! The “Feel” is all around us , it’s shared, sometimes created. It’s an extension of your inner self outwardly or the ability to create an environment to share from an external feel- but it’s all around- it’s never filled with victimization!

    Enjoy Life- FEEL!

    • Hey Bob! Very cool how you put that 🙂 How we feel on the inside is definitely a big part in how our outward self comes out. If we’re fall into feeling like a victim, then we end up finding ourselves in more external situations that let us play the roll of a victim. I guess a lot of that has to do with our perspective as well.

      I hope the The “Feel” all around you is nothing but daisies and blue skies these days 🙂 !

  • Lauren, you’re obvious very young (just as Mark is) and I was very surprised to read yous post (and Mark’s answer) as there are not very many people of your age (and many that are much older actually) who have succeeded in finding the fundamantal motivation for seeking adventure.
    I was as lucky as you are to realize very early that what I was really chasing in life were feelings. I am also old enough now to know that getting these feelings is a permanent challenge because, it’s in the human nature to wear out feelings in time. Even the greatest passions tend to fade away with time. Sad, isn’t it?

    So, what do we do? Chase other feelings and passions. This is not entirely wrong as long as we don’t give up some feelings and passions for the sake of others. We can always alternate and come back to old passions.
    Just like you, I’ve tried many things – singing,dancing, skydiving, rafting, sports, trekking, cultural travels, adenture travels….

    Mark is entirely right about the pre-feeling – prepating a trip is almost as exiting as making it. I try to taste this feeling at its fullest everytime I get an idea about doing something or going someplace (as I have now the obsession of going trekking to Machu Pitcchu).

    I made a 3-wek trip to Mexico and Argentina 2 years ago with some friends and I was glad to be the one to prepare it because I enjoy the search and documentation and the exitement grows as I get closer to the trip. Im trying to get the maximum of it.

    I hate coming back from a trip and that is why I have to keep aware of the fact that any adventure has an end and enjoy every second of it.
    One way to soften the return is to anticipate the moment when I’ll watch the pictures and comment with my friends about it and why not, when I’l share these feelings with others.
    And, sadness is also a feeling – I’m gald for that too.
    Alternating bliss with sadness is a good and successful mixture.

    • Hey Anca!
      I really enjoyed reading what you had to say here. Thank you for the kind words as well as sharing your story and your Feelings. Wisdom comes through experience and not just through age 🙂

      It is sad how even our greatest passions tend to fade with time. I guess we change, and we grow, and we discover new things. Sometimes when we alternate these passions they come back around full circle.

      Through all the different circumstances, events, changes in our life it is so important to really FEEL what it’s like to go through them – from beginning to end. And when it comes to travel, well, that’s one of my favorite times to Feel it – even when it’s over. Because you’re right, from that 1st moment you start planning that trip your heart rate goes up with excitement. And while you’re on that trip – nothing could be better. However, when it’s over, after we plan the Machu Pitccu trek, conquer for 4 days straight, arrive at our destination, leave, and return to our home base – it’s that Feeling of, “damn. I did it! But now it’s over.” – It’s a bitter sweet feeling.
      But as you said, it’s all part of the mixture 🙂

      Keep me posted on your Matchu Pitccu Trek!!! I hope as the passions grow and alternate in your life you have a great time Feeling the process 🙂

      • Well, the first days after coming back are the worst – you’re confused, your heart and mind still somewhere else, you feel as torn between two differnt worlds but the bitter taste starts dimnishing while the sweet one grows with time as well as the pride “I’ve done it.”
        And of course it’e tru that not all places resonate with your heart – sometimes you can have “the feeling” just watching a flower, other times you can see wonderfull places, feel good and yet… the bliss is missin (yes, as you said just like with people – it’s a quation of chemistry).
        I loved Loire Valley, I felt great but I was happy on Uxmal Pyramid.
        We’ll keep in touch 🙂

        • ahhh yes – you described it perfectly here, “you feel as torn between two differnt worlds but the bitter taste starts dimnishing while the sweet one grows with time as well as the pride “I’ve done it.”

          It’s a great feeling – the “I did it!” feeling. And if happens during the trip too. I did a 2 day trek at the start of the Himalayas in China. That thing KICKED. MY. ASS.! But I remember at the end of the day reaching the guesthouse up in the sky as the moon was just just rising above the peaks of the most enormous mountains I’ve ever seen. It was the most beautiful thing I’ve witness, and the sense of, “wow. I deserve this view for what I did today.” It was just, well, it was THAT FEELING 🙂

          The places and experiences that can give you that feeling – well, it’s what makes it all worth it, ya know? 🙂
          I can’t wait to hear what you have to say when you reach Macchu Pitccu – probably a feeling one can’t even describe. 🙂

  • Great post. Feelings really are what it’s all about. I spent time in both China and Japan last summer. I enjoyed China, bur it didn’t have “the” feeling for me. Japan was another story. I just had to walk out onto the street in the morning and I had “the:” feeling. I have just left Singapore……….another place that has “the” feeling for me. I want to go back and explore every inch. For me, that’s what “the” feeling means……..seeing and experience everything a place has to offer. Some places have “the” feeling, others don’t.

    • Hey Nancie!
      I know exactly what you mean! It’s funny how there are certain locations that just evoke “that feeling” more than others. Just like we vibe with certain people we vibe with our atmospheres, be it a small room, a large city, a little village, or an entire country. It’s just that feeling we get.
      Singapore is so beautiful! I definitely got ‘that feeling’ there – I went for a long run in their Botanical Gardens with my favorite music playing – I’ll never forget ‘that feeling’ – I just felt so calm.

      May you continue to travel endlessly in the world and in your life in general to places that give you ‘that feeling’ Nancie! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your story!

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  • Hey Lauren!

    I think that’s a great insight! We’re never looking for the “things” themselves, we’re looking for the feelings they bring us. And if you remember that you can make your life a lot more enjoyable!

    How? Just like that: Go for the feeling first!

    You want to take a trip but have no money?
    –> Maybe what you’re really looking for is the feeling of “adventure”.
    –> You can do already thing right now that make you feel “adventureous”. For example you could explore nature, learn to fight, wear clothes like a hero or anything else that makes you feel more adventureous.

    That way you can close the gap between the desire of the feeling and the feeling itself much earlier.

    Alice

    • Hey Alice!
      I would have responded so much sooner but your comment got hidden in my Spam folder!

      But what a great insight you left here! In fact, in about 10 minutes my friend is picking me up to do some hiking. I arranged for us to go because I have been dieing for some adventure but can’t quite pick up and move abroad again just quite yet. You can always get THAT FEELING if you seek it and are open to it.
      Thanks for sharing Alice!
      LAUREN 🙂

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  • Two years ago I moved to Thailand, and I think this post explains why I did it better than I even really understood myself at the time. I wanted to live in a really foreign place and learn a totally different language maybe because I was chasing after that feeling as well. You could probably say I moved to Thailand because I desperately wanted to feel alive, to escape a home environment where I felt dead and I was expected to grow up and shape up and live my whole life feeling this way, just like everyone else who go through life never experiencing what you are talking about here. It was all I could do but get on the first plane to Bangkok, learn Thai, move south, buy a motorbike, and ride it at 100 kilometers an hour all the way to Phuket and back, even if it scared the shit out of me. Here is a quote from Joseph Campbell that this post of yours reminded me of:

    “People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive. That’s what it’s all finally about…”

    Great post, Lauren. I am really enjoying following THE MAD TO LIVE, and will be sure to tell the handful of other mad ones that I know.

    • Hey Paul!!!
      Wow I have to say it is so nice to relate to every single word that you just wrote here in this comment. I truly feel the most alive when I’m traveling. Maybe it’s because everything is a discovery, be it an unplanned culture shock you get to explore, or a planned set of months where you’re learning a new language. It’s all new, and every single second you’re really living and feeling.
      (lately I haven’t been traveling and it’s been very interesting finding ways to incorporate this same FEELING in my day to day life. I’ve been doign okay with it though 🙂 )

      I love that Joseph Campbell quote. Definitely saving that one to read over every time I need a little inspiration to remember why it is I am doing all the things I’m setting out to do! E.I. – I just got my motorcycle license with the intent of doing a long ass, open-road, hear blowing in the wind, trip like that myself 🙂

      Thanks so much for the comment Paul and for being a freaking badass Mad One! You rock!
      Lauren 🙂

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