Do you feel overwhelmed?
Are you obsessed with improving your habits, producing more, and obtaining more?
Do you live through your pleasures: sugar, alcohol, sex, fame, money, and power?
What can we do when neither striving (pain) nor obtaining (pleasure) satisfies us?
First, we must admit that we are addicts - chemically and consciously out of balance.
Your neurobiology is primed and prone to easy manipulation. The Knowledge Economy is winning the daily battle for our attention because we have not figured out how to take care of ourselves - our attention, our awareness, and our minds.
Our culture is obsessed with teaching you ways to strive = to be more productive and offering endless ways to satisfy your every desire for pleasure.
Your mobile device allows you to be connected 24/7 with access to an overwhelming variety of drugs, food, news, shopping, gaming, texting, sexting, tweeting, posting, liking, being liked, and reposting. The exponential potency of highly rewarding stimuli is overwhelming.
While it is true that we will never win the Dopamine war because we cannot live without Dopamine - all animals need a balance of Dopamine to survive or thrive.
Our hope lies in our ability to balance our pain and pleasure, to bring attention to everyday things - a flower, a child's touch, a cool breeze - To develop the deep awareness that comes from repeating this process.
Next, we can create environments and conditions that foster our ability to concentrate and allow us to analyze our reactions and actions in ways that balance doing with being.
Finally, by acknowledging that we are addicts and that our ability to balance Pleasure and Pain is a daily struggle, we allow ourselves not to be ruled by it. So, accept the fact that you are susceptible to swings in Dopamine. Be aware that pleasure and pain are modulated through the same neuropathways in our brains. Notice when you experience these swings - and try not to respond or fall victim to them. Pay special attention to repetitive Dopamine urges - pleasure (obtaining) or pain (wanting).
Human experience is about movement. We, as a species, spent hundreds of thousands of years wandering, exploring, and discovering. Our neurobiology is built upon this fact. Today, we can choose to be aware of our tendency to seek and obtain pleasure but not let it be our only guide. Instead, we can influence our immediate surroundings, then change or shape our direction, speed, and intensity of our lives and what we want to explore. We can decide when to go for more or be content with less, when and where to make our temporary home, and most of all, how we share ourselves with others and the world.
Your existence today is in part determined by where you started - under what circumstances - your past. But today, you can change your circumstances - surround yourself with positive, supportive, and "Dopamine free" environments that do not offer easy access to pleasures or promote ceaseless striving.
Instead, you can choose to create and live by placing value on being, not just doing. Being Radically Honest - Open - Authentic - Playful and Kind. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable with others can lead to new opportunities to flourish.
It is never too late to try to live with less anxiety, fear, overwhelm, fragility, depression, and despair and bring more joy, hope, gratefulness, flow, and resilience.
There are ways that you can structure your life and use technology to balance your pleasure and pain pathway and break your addiction cycles.
Join me as we explore and share experiences together, and I introduce new and ancient tools/methodologies to help you create a life that balances = a life worth living.