In a modern age where fast-track success and over-booked schedules are the norm nothing is more exhilarating than going slow. In an age of distraction nothing is more luxurious than paying attention to the present moment. In an age where success is thought to be about money and accolades there is freedom to be found in chasing simplicity and savouring the ordinary moments.
At the core of living a fulfilling and contented life is waking up each morning with the clear understanding that what you do in your everyday life matters and makes a difference.
Your daily life should be an expression of your authentic self. Its about waking up everyday to embrace all the seasons and changes. Its about learning how to take pleasure in absolutely everything that is delivered your way. It is about intensely savouring every moment; from picking fresh strawberries in your garden, searching for treasures at flea markets, designing a sacred space in your home to giving something back to others (whether it is time, acceptance, a kind smile, freshly baked pie, a line of wisdom or a bunch of fresh flowers from your garden).
A life of quality is about celebrating moments, you and others. It is about choosing to become a prayer, turning your life into a sacred offering to others and becoming a filter that sees divine beauty in everything. Is this how you feel about your own life? If not, then I suspect you probably have that nagging voice within you urging you to do something more with your life.
That niggling feeling you get, that strong inner push to make a significant change in your life, is in fact the language of the divine. You are being encouraged to reconnect back to your own true nature and tap into your passion and find a way to use that passion to spread a universal message of peace, love, justice and equality. And lets be frank, with the state of our current world, we need more people than ever to step up and take on the call.
Todays your new beginning, today is the day you start living a life that fulfils you. Today you are going to step up and create your own masterpiece. Its a new chapter in your life waiting to be written. There are new questions to be asked, new experiences to be felt and more wisdom to be gained.
Today take the time to carve out a quiet interlude for yourself in which to dream. What are your hopes for the future? Write down any aspirations that you have kept tucked away from the world. Trust that now is the time. Take a leap of faith. Believe in yourself. And believe that there is something bigger than you at work - waiting for you to say 'yes to life'.
There are years that ask questions and years that answer - Zora Neale Hurston
Your Masterpiece Is Found Within Simplicity
The biggest thing I have learnt in my own life is that happiness is found in the current moment and in the most ordinary of situations. When it comes to making the most of life, nobody does it better than the French. The lives of the French are slow and mindful with an emphasis on simplicity and accessibility. Days are filled with simple rituals and traditions; from cooking the family meals, market trips, to creating a nurturing and charming domestic setting. The ordinary moments of each and every day are always something to be savoured.
How Did We Get So Off Track
We are a sophisticated society aren't we? I mean look how far we have come in technology, finance and high living. We encourage young people to overachieve and over accomplish, then in our middle ages we over consume and over analyse, and then when we get to old age society finds it more comfortable if we are not seen or heard.
Modern civilisation talks about ideas and ways of getting ahead, and in the process we have lost the definition of real success. When I say 'real success' I don't mean the kind of success based on fame, fortune and accolades, but rather a success that is measured by how much we have served others.
We are disconnected and miles away from our raw origins. We have traded honesty, vulnerability, compassion and kindness for power, achievement, opulence and success. We have bottled religion, beauty and even formulas for success. We are modern, we are advancing, we appear to be successful yet we remain lost.
It’s much simpler to take the route you’ve seen completed by your parents, family, friends or what the media portrays 'the norm'. But why follow a path that doesn’t electrify you? Why settle? As children we are the most authentic version of ourselves. It is the only time in many peoples lives that they live with true passion.
As children we are raw and unedited. We don't know what is normal, acceptable, good, bad, ugly and so forth. All we know for sure is what we know and feel from within. Then, as we grow up, the grip of 'whats expected or whats normal', begins to have its way with us. As a result we seek out the comfortable so that we don't risk to be appear going against the grain. After all; it is human nature to want to fit in and be accepted by others.
The question we all must ask ourselves is, are we on a life path that is authentic to who we are or are we instead choosing a path that is non-confrontational simply to gain acceptance from society? To truly answer this question requires each of us to become in tune with who we are, find the inner strength to pursue what is speaking to us and fight the urge to 'follow the norm'. Take a moment to be still and examine the path you are currently traveling. Be honest about why you seek what you seek.
Trust me, what you discover will be more liberating than you ever thought possible.
To live is to be slowly born - Sister Joan Chittister
Creating Your Own Masterpiece
The more we listen to the demands of the ego, the more we move away from the truth. The ego insists on pursuing more: more stuff, accomplishments, status, triumphs, and money. More is the mantra of the ego. In an effort to obtain more we fall into a vicious cycle of always striving and never arriving. We need to put a stop to the ego and this starts by dropping self-importance and practicing self awareness. The more aware you are of your thoughts and the reasons behind them - then the more control you will have over your ego and the decisions you make. Start getting yourself in a positive mindset. Here are some simple ways to amp up your positivity and get closer to your own truth:
- Never quit on your masterpiece: Everything unfolds in its own natural time. Click here
- Become less so that you can become more: Many of us get so caught up in day to day living that we forget about ‘just being’ in the present moment. Many of us are not content with what we have; this then puts us on a path of endless seeking. The truth is that you have everything you need NOW. You are enough, just as you are today. Once you can stand comfortably in whom you are today, life suddenly becomes simple and not so stressful. When life becomes simple, you have greater clarity, balance and mental strength. You have the ability to not only see the opportunities in front of you, you also have the ability to see and use the tools in front of you. Discover why the secret to happiness and finding your purpose revolves around 'just being'. Click here
- Make your passion and purpose revolve around serving others: It doesn't have to change millions of peoples lives or be some big achievement. Just do something. Making one person breathe a little easier because of what you did for them - thats enough. Learn about dropping self-importance and serving others. Click here.
- Learn to be grateful for the small things in life: Practicing gratitude turns what you have into enough. What you focus on is where your energy goes. You attract what you are not what you want. If you are struggling to be grateful for your own self-happiness, then turn your focus to those billions of people that are not so lucky. Read more here.
- Don't know your passion: Then follow your curiosity. Click here
- Have a spiritual practice: Do whatever quietens your soul and connects you to that divine being and wisdom within. I have personally found that I have resonated with yoga, meditation and the teachings of the Tao Te Ching.
- Zen and simplify: Declutter your mind, body and home so that you create the space to grow your passion and purpose. Read my ideas on ways to simplify your life.
- Accept where you are today: Accept who you are, where you are and what you have done, for you are unique and are on your own road to self-discovery. So what if you have made mistakes, they are the greatest learning tools of all time. The key is to learn to accept and appreciate exactly where you are today.
￼Live your truth: Release perfection and embrace authenticity. Don’t do what you think others want to see, show the world who you truly are, the good and the bad. The world resonates with truth, not perfection. From today forward take a deep breathe in, allow your heart to open, reconnect with your inner guidance and release all the noise and attachment to anything that is not your honest truth. Dare to walk the path less travelled.
Live with passion: Get excited about life, expel enormous amounts of energy into everything you do. We are all explorers and born with an innate curiosity. What makes you wonder? What are you questioning? What's new in your world? Keep your eyes open and you will be amazed at what you discover. Live to explore!
Look after your health: Choose to seek wellness. To be able to enjoy a happy and purposeful life you need to nurture and nourish your mind, body and soul.
Practice intent and kindness: Live your life with mindfulness by being aware of the words you use in your everyday life. This means learning to be conscious of how you speak to people, how you speak to yourself, what thoughts you let loose in your mind and how you let situations affect you.
Master your mind: The world is full of endless possibilities and life is way too short to spend years stewing over negative experiences. It’s time to start living your life to the fullest. No matter whom you are or how bad your situation is, you can change your life, it just starts with one positive thought. Your reality is based on your perception, if your perception is negative then so will be your experience.
- Get off the consumerism train: Consumerism is a drug. It works as a temporary distraction from life - giving us a short high while dulling down any feeling of 'lack' or pain that we may feel. And like a drug, it is addictive. Also like any drug addiction there is a sense of denial that comes with it. Most of us live in a state of unconscious excessive consumerism, and the more we chase the consumer high the more further we distance ourselves from what 'truly matters to us'.
- Redefine your meaning of success: Unfortunately, mainstream society has developed a narrow view of success, viewing success as money, acknowledgment, power, beauty, fame and so forth. However true success comes when you are living a life aligned to your own true nature. Read more here.
- Stop the blame game: Blaming other people for your misfortune only brews resentment and pain within you. When someone hurts you or treats you unkind you could crawl into a dark hole and shut yourself off from the rest of the world. Or you could bury your pain with cynicism and view the world through eyes of bitterness. But I beg you not to do that. You deserve better. Find ways to to forgive the people who have served you pain and rise strong by finding strength and purpose in your pain.
With practice you will start to hear the voice or feel a pulling within. You will be more clear on what it is that you should be doing in your life. Creating your masterpiece takes courage and the belief that you have a gift to offer others (or yourself). It also takes self-mastery and a positive attitude!
Understand that while your circumstances may determine the colours that you have to work with, the choices that you make day-to-day are in fact, the brushstrokes that will define what your masterpiece looks like.
In order to discover your masterpiece you must be a searcher - I will leave you with the wise words from author James Kavanaugh
I am one of the searchers. There are, I believe, millions of us. We are not unhappy, but neither are we really content. We continue to explore life, hoping to uncover its ultimate secret. We continue to explore ourselves, hoping to understand. We like to walk along the beach, we are drawn by the ocean, taken by its power, its unceasing motion, its mystery and unspeakable beauty. We like forests and mountains, deserts and hidden rivers, and the lonely cities as well. Our sadness is as much a part of our lives as is our laughter. To share our sadness with one we love is perhaps as great a joy as we can know - unless it be to share our laughter. We searchers are ambitious only for life itself, for everything beautiful it can provide. Most of all we love and want to be loved. We want to live in a relationship that will not impede our wandering, nor prevent our search, nor lock us in prison walls; that will take us for what little we have to give. We do not want to prove ourselves to another or compete for love. For wanderers, dreamers, and lovers, for lonely men and women who dare to ask of life everything good and beautiful. It is for those who are too gentle to live among wolves. ― James Kavanaugh, There Are Men Too Gentle to Live Among Wolves