I often use the analogy of my life being like a book. We are always writing new pages in our books. And sometimes one chapter ends and another begins. I like this analogy, but its also rather limiting. If typical life changes are chapters, then what are major life changes? Are they new books? That doesn’t feel right. Books typically flow in a single orderly progression. Life is often not like that at all.
Yesterday I found a better analogy while listening to Oprah Winfrey’s “What I Know for Sure”. Life is like a painting we are creating on our own canvas! It starts out blank and can be painted in any way we choose – there is nothing inherently orderly about it.
We may use one color for a while, and then switch to a different color. Sometimes we paint in one area for a while, and sometimes in another. Sometimes we paint concrete images, and sometimes its abstract art. Sometimes we paint over existing paint, and sometimes we throw paint on the canvas. Sometimes we don’t paint anything at all. And in all cases, beauty is in the eye of the beholder!
I really like this analogy. I am painting on my very own canvas in my own unique and creative style. And its going to be a one-of-a-kind masterpiece!
I finished listening to “Eat Pray Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert yesterday. It was very good, even excellent, and also very timely for me personally. It really has me thinking a lot about how you can live your life in so many different ways.
My wife and I have long talked about our future possiblities. We talked about extended stays in another country to really soak up the culture. We’ve even talked about language immersion in another country. Or getting an RV and just living on the road. So in some ways this isn’t a new idea at all. But hearing from someone that actually did some of this, and with a spiritual angle to it, is intriguing.
I also find that I’m gradually learning to more easily interact with others. I can now strike up a conversation with the check-out clerk in the store – and make a difference. I give credit entirely to my wife for this, as I’ve learned by watching. This is of course a great skill to have all the time, but it becomes even more important when you pick up and do something completely different.
My life has definitely been a journey, with beginnings and endings along the way. I’m starting another chapter in a few weeks with a new job, but that’s all it is – another chapter. The end hasn’t even begun to be written.
I am finally learning that it really is about connections and energy. It’s not about what you do, who you are, what you have, where you live.
Who do you encounter in your life, and how do you interact with them? If you are not making good connections, then you need to change something! It may be your attitude, but it could be your job or friends or city that you need to change. The tough part of course is figuring that out, but the point is if you aren’t connecting then you are missing out on what really matters!
What gives you energy, and what takes your energy? You need to pay attention to that, as the answers are different for each person. Some people thrive in some energy-giving situations because they get just as much or more back, while others give the same but don’t get the same back. The trick is to find what gives you the proper balance, and it won’t be the same as mine!
Deeper still is to recognize these same needs in others! The people we meet also need connections and energy balance. If someone you encounter seems grumpy then realize they may have given more than they received back. So make that connection and give what you can to them. Hopefully you will see them lighten up and you will be able to some receive energy back also!
And if someone or something only takes energy and doesn’t make connections – then they are toxic and you need to move on to another instead!
I have learned so much of this recently. Now I hope that I can keep applying it with my new job when I start in 2 weeks!
Looked at some quotes from an “Inspiration Jar” and pulled the following:
- Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. – Dr. Seuss
- Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars. – Les Brown
- Only surround yourself with people who will lift you higher. – Oprah Winfrey
- Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
- Why try to fit in when you were born to stand out.
I really like all of these – they each remind me to be “me” and not worry about others.