We have been fostering a culture where we are expected to have high energy, power and strength at all times. Successful people are considered the ones that achieve these requirements. What we forget is that there are costs to this expectation. These costs can come from different sources, from our own health, from our family, from lack of sleep, from our constant worry and lack of internal peace…These costs are not healthy nor humanely geared, but real. Why, as a culture, do we still extract immense costs from individuals, families and society in order to succeed?
We need to achieve a level of human development where we work towards fostering more creativity with purposes to achieve power, strength and high energy, without unhealthy costs. The first step towards a change is usually awareness and a life-long spirit of inquiry. Let us take a good look at our lives and ask ourselves what are our purposes and values.
According to the dictionary success means “accomplishment of an aim or purpose”. We need to first redefine what it is to be successful in our lives. The more clarity we achieve, the better chances we have to be successful. With this definition in mind, if our life in practice does not align with how we fundamentally want our life and society to unfold, how successful are we?
To be a good leader of our own life, or a group, or a company, it is required that we have courage and commitment to achieve individual and social purposes with responsibility. To a great extend it is in our hands to make our life a successful one. With inquiry of our own experiences we can achieve a deeper understanding of our own world and purposes, and therefore make healthier and responsible choices. By remembering to pace ourselves and to set small and realistic, meaningful and achievable goals we have greater chances to achieve fulfillment and personal success. When we align our efforts with our own common purposes, energy, power and strength come naturally!
“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” Rumi
We sometimes forget how important is to be reverent and look for beauty in our daily lives.
As we age, our lives get busier, the demands on our time increases, and less time is left for reverence and beauty. I refer to beauty as the delight in our hearts when we find something that touches us. The intrinsic quality of things, an aesthetic satisfaction that reverence can bring to the surface. Can we rescue the sense of beauty, its intrinsic quality, in our everyday life?
I think of the feeling of joy and depth that beauty can evoke in us, the transcendence from everyday life. This depth and joy provides us with the opportunity to feel complete and part of the wide world. Beauty brings us to the sense of being part of a bigger picture where we work, relate and live everyday. There is a miraculousness of the world that we bring to surface.
Usually we experience beauty through our senses. I find it fascinating to pay attention to our senses. The senses are connected to our brains and it is in our brains that we process our experiences. Wouldn’t it be worthwhile to pay attention to what are we exposing our senses/brain to in our everyday lives?
The senses are a powerful way to feel alive. However we need to be careful to not become beggars of our sensorial experiences, or slaves of pleasurable sensations. It is a fine balance to find beauty with our senses without believing that pleasurable states are the reason for our existence.
We can bring beauty to our hearts from art and nature, perceived with full conscious awareness. Through art and nature, we can be in touch with a deeper consciousness of belonging to humanity.
The beauty of nature invites us to a depth and joy that is even difficult to describe. Nature is beyond just descriptive words, I would need to rely on poetry for that. We can’t experience beauty in a rush though, we have to take some time to contemplate and take it in. It doesn’t take much but a few minutes to really absorb the beauty. Conscious awareness and appreciation of the beauty around us is the antidote to dullness in life. It is worth our time, to get away from our computers in regular intervals, and for brief moments contemplate some beauty. We might find that those moments will recharge our energies, so we can continue the task at hand with renewed perspectives.
It is important to rescue the human experience of sensing the world with awareness and appreciation. We all have experienced and appreciated, at some point in our lives, the beauty of a frog singing at night, or a bird singing, a child’s smile, a loving hug, or music that awakens feelings, experiences big in meaning. We probably have each a particular way to absorb beauty. Since we all have this capacity, let us pay attention, and invite more of these special and reverent moments that fill us with liveliness and belonging. If we take the time to perceive how we are receiving these gifts of beauty, we probably will experience more joy, depth, and productivity in our lives.
Have a beautiful life!
We are inundated with outside pressures to conform to certain values that are not necessarily our own: be a certain kind of professional, adopt some lifestyle, dress this way, go to these places, etc. Sometimes it seems easier to ignore crucial aspects of our own lives and just keep living according to what is expected from us, put on the automatic pilot and move forward. But how long can we ignore the nagging voice inside of us, calling for more authenticity?
The ways we have been pressured to live leaves us with barely enough time and energy to tend to our own inner self. So much emphasis is on the doing, that we sometimes get tricked about being. With so much doing and so much to conform to, it is a struggle to find moments of reflection and introspection. Can we really achieve authenticity if we do not understand ourselves? For us to have a better understanding of who we are we need to look at causes and conditions that impact us in everyday life. We also need to develop a non-judgmental attitude towards ourselves, so we can move forward to a more compassionate and balanced living.
To be authentic is more being in a journey than to have gained or accomplished something. We have a tendency to believe that certain values, virtues, or state of mind simply exists, and we have it or not. This is a simplistic and rather narrow view of our human experience. To become more connected to others and ourselves, and to savor more of our lives, we need to be in this complex journey of trying to create balance and well being within our everyday activities. Perhaps we need to notice more how it feels when we are being authentic by deeply observing our thoughts and feelings, and being in touch with our body’s messages. With this self-observation we can create a map of positive routes that we can refer to when it is needed.
For us to be authentic, we need to be in a process of understanding who we are in this world of confusion and doubt. We can search for a more balanced lifestyle, understanding the forces within and outside us, which condition our actions. To be authentic is to be not fearful of searching for more conscious awareness, and practice surrender to the mystery of life.
In New England, we still have so much snow covering the ground and such cold temperatures that the idea of Spring seems far off. But Spring is more than warmer temperatures and flowers. Spring is a shift of the axis of the Earth, getting us closer to the Sun. We usually forget that this shift is happening.
Our internal shifts happen in similar ways; it is a slow process. At first we just feel it, but don’t see many outside signs, however as we continue to work, the results become more visible. If we want to invite changes in our life, we have to go to our core, our axis, and work from there with patience and persistence.
The name “March” comes from “Mars”, the roman God of war. His month Martius was the beginning of the season for both farming and warfare. Interesting enough, both areas invite change and transformation.
In terms of our internal farming, what do we want to plant for the future of our lives? March can be an internal shift, starting with thinking of our dreams and hopes for the future. Like farmers we should know that the weather always changes, nothing will stay difficult forever. Like farmers let us keep our hopes and dreams high, and tend the soil and spread the seeds, with the hope for a big harvest.
By paying attention to such combinations of soil and what to seed, we can learn to avoid disappointments of harvest. Studying our grounds (ourselves) and knowing what to plant (our gifts in life) is a big part of a successful harvest.
As for warfare, I would refer to gathering the courage to confront a situation with determination. Even with fear, we go ahead and confront the difficult situation. We think that to have courage is to have no fear, but to be brave is actually to know and be intimate with your fear. Courage is to believe that you are worthy, and that in baby steps, even with fear, you can reach your dreams and hopes.
If we invoke the hope, patience and persistence of a farmer and the courage of a warrior we will harvest our dreams!
Appreciation: the recognition of good qualities of someone or something. I find when we reflect on someone’s good traits, we learn to take in these qualities. By observing what we like in others we can start fostering those qualities in ourselves. Who are the people we appreciate and why is it so?
People very unlike one another often find that along with their differences exist shared threads of common experiences. One of these universal experiences is that we all like being appreciated. With that in mind, no matter where we live, or where we work, or with whom we relate, let us remember to appreciate each other, because this is one of our common bonds. Let us not forget to appreciate ourselves! Doing so, we are giving positive signals of recognition, acceptance and inspiration.
Appreciation can inspire us to try our best. When someone does something we find worth noticing, give positive feedback. When we feel noticed by others in a positive way, we feel inspired to continue our work, doing good deeds and positively impacting others. When we feel appreciated we usually go the extra mile!
We have a natural inclination to appreciate people and traits that are nice. That is good, and we need to continue recognizing this. Ironically though, the people and traits that challenge us are the ones that make us grow the most. These people and traits can be the catalysts for our own self-awareness and growth transformation. Who are they in your life?
Finding the answers to these questions can give us more clarity about our values and who we are. The more we know about ourselves, the more comfortable we get with who we are, gaining more clarity where our efforts need to concentrate in order to advance. The more comfortable we are with ourselves and the more advances we make, the happier we live.