By C. W. Stratton
Throughout our lives we have been bombarded with information about ways to improve our lives and to be successful. Some of us have wandered through life aimlessly in hopes to find the one place we fit in. We’ve followed the direction of others but soon found out, “this isn’t a comfortable place either.” As a result, we move on to the next adventure that has been suggested to us. A continuation of these events eventually makes it appear that we’ve become “a jack of all trades.” We may have full resumes of things we’ve done in the past but taking a closer look we can find that nothing we’ve done really aligned with our inner being. Some of us engage in things for social status or to say “look who I am now” or “look what I’ve accomplished”, only to find that these things were temporary and were no longer fulfilling…superficial. Envision our lives as a leaf falling from a tree during the autumn season, it looks beautiful but the leaf will blow wherever the wind takes it; it has no direction or control of where it lands. Some of us have lived our lives accordingly to the point it has created suffering, confusion, frustration and total discontent. We as human beings have absolute control of what direction our lives go; during those dark times of our lives it may appear difficult to see. However, or inner selves possesses a light that can guide us in our pursuits. Taking time to sit with ourselves and begin searching within our core to find our passions in life is critical. All of us have something that we’re passionate about. This can transcend to a doorway for us to walk through. Although fear of the unknown and fear of change surfaces, we are safe to identify our passions; this identification becomes our foundation for our direction. Our passions will eventually lead us to our purpose.
By C. W. Stratton
We go through our present existence wanting and craving a variety of things to make us feel better or appear more than what’s actually inside. Some sit with thoughts of ways to improve their experiences in the world. Our society and culture has conditioned us to be the winner or most impressive in every given situation. The messages conveyed with regard to this conditioning has many of us seeking ways to become better, smarter or more accomplished than the next person. Being someone who’s ambitious isn’t a negative thing; having goals and dreams aren’t negatives either. What happens in many cases is that we become consumed, overwhelmed and confused with what being accomplished entails.
The very things we bring to our lives we feel will make us more accomplished and fulfilled are the things that keep us confined and unappreciative of the natural necessities of life we are given. The conditioning we’ve experienced has cluttered our thought process and other areas of our lives. We tend to want more of everything that may makes us feel good; at the moment. The materialistic world that we’ve become so accustomed to being a part of has taken away some of our humanistic abilities to prosper without cost. To prosper isn’t about:
*Having the most money
*Having the most attractive spouse
*Having the most friends
*Having the most expensive and fashionable attire
*Having the most advanced degree amongst your peers
*Having the biggest home
These are very important things to people and many have allowed themselves to be defined by these things. I’m a believer that anything you put before your natural care for self and others, you will eventually lose. When this occurs, where does it leave us? Are we still able to feel a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment despite the loss? Some may struggle this. The though alone can be terrifying and devastating for many. Think of the addicted individual (drug/alcohol addiction) who consistently needs the substance to feel good. Day after day they seek out the substance and once obtained there’s a sense of relief, happiness and even accomplishment. However, the experience soon vanishes and the individual seeks more. Then you have the individual who isn’t addicted to substances who may go through the same experience when it comes to wanting more things to make them feel good. The individual becomes satisfied with their new thing and quickly the newness wears-off and they move one to the next new thing…never being satisfied, no matter what or how much. There are those who are addicted to substances, then you have those who are addicted to “MORE.”
With this thinking and the behaviors associated with it, we can saturate our lives with “things” to the point that it encloses us and the only thing others can see are the “thing’s” we’ve brought into our lives. The individual can no longer be seen. Improving self requires that we actually look at ourselves and begin working from the inside, not from the outside in. When we get to the point of self-accomplishment, self-care, self-compassion and self-love we can place ourselves in a better position to appreciate the small natural gifts that are already given. Anything outside of that become bonuses. When making a life plan that can ultimately change your life forever, we must remember to begin internally. We should treat ourselves just as good as we treatment those “things” we incorporate in our lives.