I find I'm happiest, healthiest, and most whole when I filter new opportunities and invitations through my self-invented "Thrive Cycle." This includes three interrelated and vital categories: Play, Rest, and Nourish.
Play is all about what is fun and fulfilling.
Rest is all about what restores and replenishes my mind, body and soul.
Nourish is more than what I eat and drink but also how my mind fills with creativity, my heart fills with love, and my gut fills with courage.
My idea evolved from a recording I listened to from Martha Beck that explained her "infinity loop of play and rest." I loved the concept of when you aren't in play, you are resting. When you aren't resting, you're in play.
"Rest until you feel like playing, then play until you feel like resting, period. Never do anything else."
- Martha Beck
But then I wondered—when was I going to eat? Seemed like I would need more energy than just rest to drive play, and that's when I added "Nourish" to her "Play-Rest" filter and developed my self-invented Thrive Cycle. Many thanks to Martha for sparking that in me.
At first, I called this the “Eat, Play, Rest,” cycle. It had a nice ring to it. And then I realized it sounded a lot like Elizabeth Gilbert’s book: Eat, Pray, Love. Don’t get me wrong, I adore that memoir, but I didn’t want Liz on my case (not that she’d do that…she’s too lovely.)
But I also realized I don't just eat to fuel my life. I also drink. And read. And dream and scheme. You get the picture. So the word "Nourish" took "Eat's" place at the end of the line, which felt more like me. I like the more holistic approach of that word.
How It Works
With my Thrive Cycle in place, I can more easily make a decision when something new crosses my path. Whether I jump in or stay out depends on how the opportunity stands up to my filter. If I can't make a case for how the opportunity helps me Play, Rest, or Nourish, then I have two options:
1) Say "no thank you," or
2) Change my perspective to see if it can fit.
What I've Learned (So Far)
I've been filtering my life this way for about nine months now. And I must say, it is liberating. It's become my "permission slip" to stay within my essential self. It helps me put my best interests first. And you know what? No one has suffered when I said no or changed my perspective. Especially me.
I say "no thank you" with conviction now. I don't feel guilty. I don't lament my decision. No more self-flogging. No more "shoulds" and "should-nots".
My essential self is in charge when my filter is in place. Sure, my social self and her band of chatty monkeys get unnerved when the filter comes out. She knows she's going to lose that battle. Her wagging finger and fear-filled scolding don't stand up to my Thrive Cycle. And so she sulks off to put the monkeys down for a nap.
When I change my perspective rather than say no, I've found a whole host of situations where I discover something new. My perspective change lets me see a gift from the Universe that was hidden from my initial view. A new frame of reference opens up new possibilities. And I experience a whole lot of peace, joy, and wholeness as a result.
Some Thoughts to Noodle On and Share
What parts of your life fit into my Thrive Cycle: Play, Rest, Nourish?
What parts don't fit?
What would you be willing to drop or change to make that work for you?