When we're confused about what we need to feel fulfilled and live a meaningful life, it's easy to be attracted by the magazine lifestyle that immerses us in the glitz and glamour of gizmos and idolised beauty.
My youth was no exception. In a search for a sense of belonging it was the veneer of a consumer lifestyle that lead me away from what was most meaningful for me.
Today's inspiration: To live a fulfilled, meaningful and joyful life, our needs have to take priority.
Define for yourself the difference between your wants and your needs. Make peace with the knowledge that you will never have everything you want. Ask myself what needs do I have that are unmet?
The key to me being able to define my needs was to discover what brought me joy.
My quest to find meaning started when I was around 45 years of age. Following a successful career as a midwife and equally successful experiences as an entrepreneur. I enjoyed all the trappings of wealth and prosperity.
Yet I discovered that I was miserable.
No amount of French perfume, Italian shoes and a designer wardrobe filled the void of despair that I felt when I was home alone.
It wasn't because I wasn't actively seeking, I was simply looking for love, joy, a fulfilling life, in all the wrong places.
Love, joy, a meaningful life; these represent our basic needs.
We need to experience connection and belonging to receive the acknowledgment, the closeness and the caring that we call love.
We need to have the opportunity for accomplishment individually or together with someone we trust, so that we experience life satisfaction, as well as stability and security.
When these things are missing from our lives, we'll be spontaneously trying to fill these needs somehow, somewhere. If we're unlucky enough that we haven't been able to clearly define these by reflecting on our role models or upbringing, we'll find ourselves in all sorts of inner and outer conflicts, poor relationships, wrong jobs, and dead end causes in our search for wholeness.
The place I found my answers was by returning to what made me feel good. Ground zero, going back to the beginning. What brought me delight? What made my heart sing?
It took 3 weeks to write a list of 5 items:
walking barefoot on the grass
walking on the beach at low tide
a long conversation with a good friend
Sunday breakfast out at a funky cafe
That was my starting point. At lease one thing that delighted me each day was on my to-do list, and it became the focus of my day. Getting to the end of the work day became in and of itself a delight, as it represented the opportunity to indulge myself in joy. Eventually that increased to 2 things. And I kept adding to the list as I remember more of what brought me joy.
This is also how I started to remember the joyful moments of my childhood.
It changed my life.
Now there is very little that fills my day that doesn't bring me absolute joy. My life in meaningful and happy. I am fulfilled.
Don't be shy to leave a comment. I'd love you to join the conversation.
366 days Towards Self-Mastery
When I considered my New Year's intentions for 2020 I had just one: To allow my heart to love what it loved...and let it lead me. (If not now, then when?)
I've spent months working on integrating my life. To live life more fully with my home life, my interests, my work, my responsibilities, all coming together, all connected. I want to give each the attention that they desire and need, and still have time and energy for the others. That means living and working from the heart. As I was clearing out my bookshelf over the Christmas break I discovered Simple Abundance. I set it aside to explore it on New Year's Day as I lazed through another delicious day of nothingness. Sarah, the author, says this book is about living in grace. Living in grace I realised, is about Self-Mastery.
My thirst for understanding the human condition has driven me all my life, and hand-in-hand with self-mastery it has been a life-long goal. And seeing as I love to write, that living in grace is about self-mastery, and I love a bit of a challenge, then if I am truly going to let my heart lead, I really don't have any other choice. So scary as it feels, I'm starting out on a daily mission of leaning into the suggestions of this daybook and making a daily post to keep me accountable. If not now, then when?
I'm Josie. You can find out a little more about me here.
Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy: by Sarah Ban Breathnach
This book is written for the Australian and NZ market because it refers to seasonal changes. It's available on Amazon here if you'd like to follow along.