Let’s get bubbly.
Today we’re going to talk about one of my favorite words: effervescence.
Full disclosure: I stared at ‘effervescence’ for a few beats just now after I typed it, with 99% confidence that I nailed the spelling, but maybe I didn’t, but then I checked and sure enough, I got it! Booyah!
We’re going to go on a circular journey today and stray away from effervescence for a little bit, but I promise we’ll come back to it in the end. Stay with me, okay?
Remember when we talked about Core Desired Feelings earlier this month? You don’t? If you missed the post from earlier, you can click the link in the previous sentence and start there or indulge in this short summary: your Core Desired Feelings (CDFs) are a statement of how you want to FEEL rather than what you want to DO. The idea behind this is that DOING the activities or tasks that are in alignment with how you want to FEEL is an ideal way to spend your time, energy, and money. A bonus of this approach is you’ll ideally feel replenished rather than depleted while pursuing and after completing your goal. This philosophy of goal setting can make the journey more sustainable for you. I personally find this to be a much more pleasurable way to look at my long-term goals on my big and dreamy “to do” list. My intention in expanding on this more is to give you tools that can channel your wild ambition into dream actioneering.
Are you with me so far? CDFs are about getting clear on the desired feeling, not the end-goal or achievement.
This doesn’t mean that you necessarily have to throw SMART (simple, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely) goals out the window. I think Core Desired Feelings are very empowering in tandem with this SMART goal-setting method. They can be perfect partners in productivity, especially during times of hardship.
For example, let’s say you are a Ph.D. candidate. Your academic and work life is likely filled with the exhaustion of years of compounded academic work, research, dissertation advisors, revisions, comprehensive exams, revisions, grants, funding concerns, teaching, grading, job hunting, and the ever-present nervous anticipation about whether or not your dissertation will get published. Yikes. If this were your life, you might quickly respond to the question of: “What are your Core Desired Feelings?” with: “I don’t want to feel stressed out” or “relaxed” or “at peace” or “just freaking done and over it already”. Of course you would. That would be understandable. Any type of work that asks a lot of us will eventually wear us down if we don’t replenish ourselves in one way or another. We are not robots; we are humans living in a competitive world.
Our human motivation patterns can be split into two categories: pleasure-seeking or pain-avoiding. Most people would move heaven and earth to get out of an oppressively hard situation. Most of us stay in the thick of hard situations because of the long-term commitment. Following the example of a Ph.D. candidate, if you have come so far in your academic career and everything in you is screaming: “GIVE UP NOW AND GO TEACH SURFING IN HAWAII”, maybe you should consider it in an extreme case. The body does carry a lot of wisdom (more on that in a future blog post). But if you keep coming back to the thought: “But I set a goal…” stop and listen in to that voice. You’ve invested money and time and even though it’s hard, you want to finish this degree and hopefully, it won’t kill you in the process (sidenote: I have met people who have nearly or actually died and come back to life as a result of work-related stress; also a post for another time). Try to think back: when you set out to get your Ph.D., how did you want to feel? Maybe you didn’t even ask yourself why back then. Maybe you knew you wanted to achieve a degree, to study more in your field, to work in a specific lab, or do research that sounded interesting, publish books, get paid more money, have more career options, or secure the illusion of job security with tenure status. Now switch up and dig a little deeper into that surfing metaphor… do you want to teach surfing in Hawaii so you can go with the flow more? If yes, how you can manifest that flow feeling now in the midst of your hard and difficult task?
The magic of Core Desired Feelings in tough times is the power of reframing. Even if you hadn’t previously set a desired feeling when you began your task, you can now decide: “I am going to finish this task I set out to do AND this is how I want to feel while doing it and at the end of it.” You set the terms. You get in the driver’s seat. It’s completely up to you how it gets done. The approach is yours to control. To me, that feels freeing to be able to succeed on my own terms. It feels powerful. Reframing makes me feel bulletproof in the face of an ever-changing, unpredictable, and messy world full of uncertainty. When we reframe, we can move forward differently. This is a must-have in any coach that you choose to work with; they should be helping you move forward.
Right. Circling back to effervescent. When choosing your core desired feelings, it’s important to choose words that can be felt or perceived. I’ll give you some resources for helping you out with vocabulary if you’re getting stuck in thinking of the exact right words for you. When I wrote my Core Desired Feelings for 2018, a word that I desired to feel every day was this:
This word for me denotes feelings of joy. Excitement. Smiles. Bubbly. Celebration. Fizziness. A quickening.
I do my best to put myself in the path of effervescence as often as possible. These situations often include time spent in nature while exercising with friends in the Pacific Northwest. When I am in the woods or the yoga studio, hiking, hand standing, and trail running with my people, I feel effervescent. Oxygenated. Bubbly. Joyful. Grateful. Win win win win.
How does the word effervescence resonate with you? If you also feel compelled to put it on your CDF list, go right ahead and take it. I’m happy to share.
Since this was one of my top words, you can imagine my elation when I came across it while reading Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown this past week. Check it out:
The French sociologist Émile Durkheim introduced the term collective effercesence in his book 1912 book The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life. Durkheim was investigating what he originally descrived as a type of magic that he witnessed during religious ceremonies. Durkheim explained that collective effervescence is an experience of connection, communal emotion, and a “sensation of sacredness” that happens when we are a part of something bigger than us.
Collective effervescence is a sensation of sacredness.
That is it. Not only is that phrase now added to my CDFs, it’s also driving the revised mission statement for Onward Woman:
Onward Woman is a movement for people who want to explore the divine feminine and find communal effervescence with other like-minded visionaries who are also seeking joy and connection through movement, mindfulness, and travel.
I hope this post can give you some more specific tools for how to apply Core Desired Feelings in your own life so you can feel and be more and start doing less.
Did anything in this post stand out for you or leave you wondering more? If so, leave a comment or a question in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!
Onward in effervescence!
P.S. As promised: here’s some tips on finding just the right words for how you want to feel.
Part of what I love most about sitting down to write out words for how I want to feel in a year is the wordsmithing that’s involved. I love a variety of vocabulary, but I can get stuck in a rut of using the same words over and over to describe what I mean.
Cracking open my good friend Thesaurus helps me find richer and more complex synonyms for more generic words such as: “happy” is such a joy, er rather a pleasure. An elation. A euphoric sense of ecstasy. A state of rapture! (Okay, I’ll stop reading the thesaurus to you now, but see how fun it is to ride on the vocabulary hamster wheel?)
If you have a Mac OS computer, you have a built-in thesaurus included with your Dictionary app. Most word-processing apps these days have them too. And there’s always Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com which can also be downloaded as apps on your phone.