Monday, January 12, 2015

Going to Today, and How to Get There

The theme of 'character development' has been emerging more and more in my life lately, in the material I choose to read, the people I choose to be around, the ways I choose to spend my time, and, maybe most importantly, in my inner life, in my thoughts and my heart.

Especially as I continue on a spiritual journey at this time in my life, I've been making it a point to attend church every weekend, and this weekend I was excited to listen to a very important message about the power of setting a personal schedule. As soon as the pastor started speaking, I got excited, because it resonated with something I've been learning over the past year and a half:

That life is more fulfilling, meaningful, and authentic when we think of what we put on our personal schedule as a means of getting us closer to the person we want to become, not just as a means of keeping a mandatory, automatic, often stress-inducing to-do list.
This theme is something I remember journaling a lot about when I returned from Peru. I started to realize something at that point in my life that has ultimately changed it: that if all my weekly planner ever says is work from 9-5 Monday through Friday, and occasionally get in whatever else fits (working out, cooking fresh meals, time to work on art, time to promote and share art), then my entire life is going to pass by and all it'll ever amount to is me occasionally being who I am, while the rest of the time- even though I'd say it wasn't what I was doing- I was ultimately conforming to societal (and stale, past-based, personal) expectations of what life should look like.

And there is nothing more emotionally halting, development stunting, and spiritually deadening than that. 
When I look at my calendar these days, I have things on there that were never of any importance to me before: 'bring art to this shop to sell,' or 'use this day off to maintain my etsy shop,' or (even more unconventional), 'use this day off to paint.' To simply engage in something that makes you remember why it's good to be alive

We tend not to do this kind of living if we're overly concerned with what others will think, and if we're overly concerned with being 'right' about anything or secure in some knowledge that we're 'doing the right thing' with our lives. It's an important part of the spiritual journey to walk it, not talk it.

But what a difference in inner vibrancy you gain when your life shines with the kind of light you know you were made to shine with. The spiritual awareness I've gained in my life is related directly to this seeking of the inner world: when our actions come from this place, our lives start looking different.
And while you may experience the disapproval and indifference of a lot of people when you live from this place, you will- if you can trust your own unseen path, because it is as much a part of you as you are a part of this world- also experience the joy and happiness of many, many more people who are glad for your willingness to be yourself, to shine not so that people can 'see you,' but to shine so that other people can see light. The power of committing to something higher than what you currently are is the most self-loving, other-loving, transformational, humbly intelligent, joyous, adventurous, brave, and creative thing you could ever do.

"Each of us is an artist of our days; the greater our integrity and awareness, the more original and creative our time will become." -John O'Donohue
So the simple things in life start making the most applicable sense. You could think of it like everyday you are on some journey to somewhere, to some place. Very simply, life is happening. Where are you going? Do you know why? Do you have not just your mind but your soul to take you there? You are either journeying daily only to work, only to more money, only to a retirement fund, only to security- or you are journeying daily to yourself too.

And when you journey to yourself, you go securely. Your character simply can't develop unless you are concerned with your development, and that usually means being less concerned with the things you were concerned about before you start thinking this way. It changes things to make your life a story about character development versus a to-do list that you're not terribly excited about doing. And it can start as simply as looking at a calendar page and realizing something both simple and profound: today is the day.

1 comment:

M said...

Self development seems to be the goal of my life too, and you've described this beautifully in your words. We aren't really living if we're just following some routine. We need to continue building ourselves to become the kind of person we want to be, day by day. And we can't be caring about what others think, or whether it's mainstream enough for society. We need to do things for ourselves. And that's how you become a light, not for others to see, but for yourself to be enlightened.

The Life of Little Me