Life and living

Are You Being Pushed or Pulled?

I have recently started feeling that familiar pull towards the ocean. It happens every year at this time, as spring has now arrived here in Norway and that means it’s sailing season again. This longing for the sea is what I like to think of as a pull. What that means is that it’s something I want and choose to do, nobody forces me. It’s the same with my writing and my connection to the woods and the natural world. It’s a pull.

A push, on the other hand, is the exact opposite. While a pull is positive, a push isn’t. I’m pushed to pay taxes, drive to the city for the occasional business meetings and to accept the existence of dogmatic people and small, loud motorcycles. And while we all need a push from time to time, in this context a push is something you do only because you will be, in one way or another, punished if you don’t.

I try to minimize the number of things I’m pushed to do. And I try to follow my urges. I know, you’re thinking that we can’t just go out and do exactly what we feel like. Well, I have found that I can. I don’t have urges that would be unhealthy to my body or mind, which keeps me out of trouble most of the time. I don’t drink alcohol, I don’t feel a need to drive fast or to eat a lot. Some people do, of course. Some people need to live by rigid rules. But I still believe that for most of us, following the pull gives you a much better life than the push. And maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I really do think that anyone who has a good connection with himself/herself, wouldn’t have unhealthy urges and no need for those rigid rules I just mentioned. When I worked as a therapist, I found that a lack of connection with self is often the reason why people start doing drugs. Overeating is another symptom — this modern world is eager to fill the emptiness of anyone lacking in  connection with herself/himself.

I find that following the pull rarely costs much money. Following the pull can actually improve your economy, since most people will often be pulled towards a simpler life. I have never met anyone who feels a pull towards buying a bigger house, but I have met many who feels a pull towards selling everything, buying a boat for some of those money and sailing around the world.

So let me ask you: When you’re doing what you’re doing, are you being pushed to do that, or is it a pull? Do yourself a favour and ask yourself how much of what you’re doing that are things you’re being pushed to do. If you’re spending most of your time doing things you’re pushed to do, ask yourself if it has to be that way. Maybe it’s possible to change things around and live a different and better life.

Here’s me following the pull of the woods:

-Bjørn Andreas Bull-Hansen