Do You Need a Nudge?
By Art Ramsay, Ph.D.

 Complacency is the end of life. Consider this rather bold statement for a minute. What does it mean to you? In fact, what does the word, complacency mean? The Free Dictionary says A feeling of contentment or self-satisfaction, especially when coupled with an unawareness of danger, trouble, or controversy.  also an instance of usually unaware or uninformed self-satisfaction.

 Now the preceding definitions would seem to define a place you would want to be: ‘contentment’, ‘self-satisfaction’ coupled with ‘unawareness of danger, trouble, controversy. And in the moment I would tend to agree. But we don’t stay in the moment as humans, and taken to another level it is the “stuck zone” of life. It feels good to have finished something and be totally happy with the results; but is this where your life ends?

 For example, I have just finished my third book’s fifth or sixth editing, and to a point where I can turn it over to my publisher. If I am satisfied with this completion, what would I do next? Stop right here and not get it published? Surely the publisher will have updates for me to complete on the manuscript, plus creating a cover, putting it into book form, get ‘blurbs’, promote the book when it is published, and so on.

 There is always a “next” in human life: the curvy, hilly, stop and go that continuously unfolds. Being complacent then, stops you in your tracks. Let me be clear about where I am heading here. I am addressing the nature of the average human on the planet, not an enlightened guru or yogi, although even they are continuously growing spiritually.

 While my articles are based on spiritual growth, most of their content involves our everyday ways of living, since you cannot really separate the two. Living a conscious spiritually based life feels and looks different than living an unaware one. For example, the average unaware human goes to a job every day, comes home, has a beer, eats supper, watches TV and has a beer, and finally goes to bed; and repeats this sequence year after year.

 Aware humans may have a similar routine as the one stated above, but are consciously aware of their feelings about what they are creating. This awareness is what identifies the spiritually based life. From the standpoint of this article’s content, even an unaware life is dead when the person is complacent, because there is no ‘to do’ list and nothing gets done.

 The first few years after I retired I was often asked “what do you do with all that spare time?” I would chuckle to myself, because the average person’s life is based on a job, and has no idea what life is like without one. Retiring from a job frees you to do the things you had always wanted to do, but couldn’t due to your work.

 While complacency may sometimes be disruptive to the unaware human due to not getting important things done, the aware human cannot live with it. The aware human knows that moving on and continuously taking the “next step”, whatever that means in a person’s life, is monumental to life itself.

 Change is the food of life; without it we die. In fact, it is impossible to live without change, because it happens whether noticed or not. Many people today deal with overwhelm; there are so many things to do with seemingly not enough time to do them, that stress takes over. When this happens we either succumb to stress, or ignore it and get ill anyway.

 Can overwhelm lead to complacency? Yes. We feel so stressed by the perceived importance of all that needs doing, we become complacent and stay where we are. This is termed the “stuck place” of spiritual evolvement. This situation is similar to overwhelm because it keeps us from taking the next step.

 Where are you in the wheel of life? Are you trying to follow some plan of action(s) to move along on your “spiritual path” or even in life itself? Do you even have a “plan”? That is, have you thought about what you want and steps toward getting it? You might have two plans; one for your “human” endeavors and one for your spiritual growth.

 Any plan would have steps toward carrying it out and achieving a goal or aspiration. Everyone’s physical life has a plan of sorts; birth, grow, learn, evolve, die. Generally, turning that into a more common Westernized life might be, birth, learn, school, dating, marriage/partnership, family, work/creative expression, serve, senior years, die.

 A plan serves to keep you away from getting stuck, at least to some degree for it gives you the next step to take; that is, if you are willing to take it. Of course, you have to have a goal in order to draw up a plan. All of the preceding points are ways to keep from becoming complacent.

 What happens when your next step is stopped by something unexpected? And it will, believe me it is part of life. You can either put off what you are doing and take care of the interruption, or ignore the interruption and keep going. This takes discretion, and only you know the answer. While interruptions are inevitable, it is important to choose how to handle one in the moment.

 So where are you? Do you need a nudge? Are you stuck in life and don’t know why, or are you just cruising along without a care in the world and nowhere to go? Either way, you might want to take a moment and look more closely at your life. Is everything working for you? Do you have any idea where you are headed, or do you care?

 Taking stock of your life, at least periodically, is important to you, and your family if you have one. Your life on planet earth has meaning, and if you have not contemplated that meaning, maybe now is a good time to do that. Your life is worth living with the ultimate power you can give it. Live each moment as if it is the most important moment of your life – because it is.


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