What turns you on?

I don’t mean like, my turn-ons are long walks on the beach and well-defined abs (although I do like those things). Yes, being “turned on” is definitely used to mean sexually aroused— and that’s cool (hot?), but I like the metaphor beyond that. Hear me out. 


I’m thinking more “tune in, turn on”. When you plug something in or flip a switch, and it comes to life, it seems like magic. With electronics, it’s clear— we know what we need to do to turn it on, and we know how it will respond. With people, not so much. But that’s part of what makes it so amazing when it happens. Your eyes light up. Your energy peaks. You’re suddenly animated, charismatic, alive, as if the hook of a killer song just came on. Something got electricity flowing in you.


Sure, maybe your lover got you grooving this way, and you’re flooded with hormones and ready for action. Or maybe it’s something else. Maybe you’re on the basketball court or mid-paragraph (see also: flow). Maybe you heard an idea that you instantly get. Maybe you just put together the perfect outfit and it. is. on. You could induce these moments chemically, and maybe there’s a place for that (I always think of these photos). Think of the language of being buzzed. Or high. Or lit. But wouldn’t it be marvelous to create it organically? To have an endogenous source of mojo?


Most of us don’t know the recipe for these moments— and none of us are born knowing how to make the magic happen. But we can learn.  And we should— because we deserve to feel the magic, and the world deserves to have us at our most brilliant.  But we’ll never get there if we’re stuck in a grind and constantly phoning it in. Or worse, faking it. So you want more magic passion and energy in your life. Now what?

  1. Un-give up. If you have decided that you can’t, won’t, don’t deserve, or any other form of denial— sit yourself down and and have a chat. You do no one any favors by pretending. The most obvious application here is about orgasms— if you fake it, you shut down communication and don’t develop the skill and patience for the real thing. It’s ok if it doesn’t happen every time you want it to. Take this concept to other parts of your life too. You deserve to come alive, and you can nurture your desire through hot spots and cold spells.
  2. Pay attention. Is there something you do that makes you feel stirred and excited? Or can you recall a time in your life when you felt that way? It doesn’t have to be something that set you off in a full-scale conflagration– maybe an ember. Maybe it was when you were a teenager. Maybe last week. Is there something that you’ve always been drawn to, something that you smile when you think about it? For me, I can see that live performances of all kinds light me up. So does doing something intensely physical in an awesome landscape.IMG_2848
  3. Let go of the tyranny of what other people think. This is not easy, and sure, there are times when it matters (like whether your partner supports your choices). But if you catch yourself saying you’re too old to wear that, or you’ll look silly, or a college professor shouldn’t run all-night relay races, you can shut that shit down right now. No one else gets to decide what you do or why. Most of the judgement we feel is imagined, anyway, and if we always listen to it, we’ll water ourselves down into a lowest common denominator of blah. Do what you feel and let haters hate. They probably aren’t even listening.
  4. Say yes to something. There might be a little voice inside that says YES, ME! I WANT! sometimes– and most of us are really good at shutting that little voice up. So listen close, and pick something to say yes to. Ideally, something that you have to commit to, sign up for, pay for. . . and do that before doubt can override excitement. This might involve feeling a little uncomfortable, which, as a reminder, is not fatal. It might involve trying hard. It might involve some work. Some planning. Some money. Some something. Figure out the logistics later. A classic example of this is signing up for a race, and figuring out the training later. It works, if you go all in.IMG_3950

So, can you plug yourself in? Get fresh batteries? Flip the switch?

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