Answer by Jill Uchiyama, MA in counseling:
More than enjoying life, you can have an ecstatic life. No matter what your life circumstances are, you can find so much to be excited about. It's all about perspective.
The secret to an ecstatic life is the continual balance between pressure and everyday pleasure.
Work your fingers to the bone, push. Work hard. Dedicate your best self to that job every day. Make your money. Save some for a goal and then breathe. While you breathe, throw your branches out to the wind just a little farther. Feel the ecstasy of that growth. Work wherever you need to until you work your way into the job of your heart's desire. Isn't there a way to touch people in your job? Make it a point to make someone else happy- every day- by being the best at your job. No job is beneath you until you get to do what you want to do in life. Nothing is a waste of time when you are on your path and you know it. You can enjoy being in any job knowing that it is leading you somewhere, even if it feels like the job itself is going nowhere. This is the perspective: your nowhere job is leading you somewhere on your own path, to your own goal. Therefore, it is a part of your ecstatic life.
Have you ever gone for a long run or walked a lot of miles and then sat down to a meal? Your body is tired, your legs are throbbing, your head is light. The food comes and your can't believe how good it looks, how good it smells. You pick up your fork or chopsticks and take that first bite and it is the best tasting food you've ever had. Life gets dull when you are not using your body, mind, and spirit to make something happen. Sitting around for long periods of time will make you miserable, bored, and dull. We are meant to be active. Look at your hands. Look at your legs. Is this a body that is meant for laying around? Hell no. Everything about you is made to create something, do something, push rocks up a hill, man. When you meet that evolutionary expectation regularly enough, you will enjoy your sleep more, your food, your sex life. You will be in touch with the ecstatic nature of every day potential.
Books are our direct connection to the live wire that connects us to the rest of humanity- including its history, emotions, fears, and beauty- as does all art. Some people pick up the New York Times on a Sunday as if it is a rare jewel. They grab their coffee and are feeling the groove of being part of the world and its news. It is their special ritual. It's so enjoyable to dare to care and be part of the world, rather than a bored, passive by-stander. It is possible to feel such an electric charge from holding a new book that you can't believe how good life can be. So what's the difference between someone who feels that way and someone who is disinterested in reading? How alive you are on the inside. How deeply you dare to really be here.
Art is not just a nice thing that some people get and means nothing to others. Art is actually a time capsule into the past. When you walk into an art museum, you can actually feel the energy of hundreds or thousands of years of conscious thought in the room if you are perceptive enough. Stare at something that was sculpted thousands of years ago and let in that depth of time. Let in that a human being created that work of art and try to imagine yourself from the point of view of that human. What was he or she trying to accomplish? What was in his/her heart? What is that artist trying to tell you? Life becomes ecstatic when you bring a multi-perspective approach to your world and not just look out at this incredibly dynamic world beyond imagination with just one set of eyes.
Don't just enjoy life. Live it. Living life is so much more than just getting through each day. It's a conscious decision to be in life, totally, completely, for as long as you have on this planet. Dare to be thrilled by the ecstatic nature of life. Isn't that a great way to spend the rest of your time here?