on purpose, what’s yours?

on purpose, what’s yours?

When you awake each day, what is the first thought that crosses your mind? What is the first thing you do? Why are you doing what you are doing?

If you do not think about these questions, you will never have the answers. The problem I have found, is that not asking these tough questions is equally as bad as not asking them enough. 

We are creatures of habit. Our habits define who we are and who we become.

Trying to reach the tipping point between action that is keeping you stalled (or even in recession) and action that will take you towards your goals and greater purpose is the essential missing link in many of our lives.

I ask myself this question each day, “why are you doing what you are doing?”. Until you answer this question, until you realize what it is you truly want and admit it with honesty to yourself, it is almost impossible to achieve.

If you really want freedom and financial wealth, or to become an expert in your field of study or to live in nature or be a school teacher, you need to realize this within yourself, be honest with yourself and embrace it.

I was recently moved by an article by Derek Sivers, “Why are you doing”, which inspired me to write this post (read it, you will be thankful). Instead of trying to regurgitate his ideas in my own words, I will leave you with them:

Maybe the most important thing to you is learning, or creating, or giving. Maybe it’s how many people’s lives you can influence. Maybe it’s how deeply you can influence just a few people’s lives.

Once you realize it and admit it, you need to pursue it.

Like if you want freedom, then you own a business but delegate all the work. You won’t be learning or creating or giving as much as you could with a different strategy, but that’s OK. You know freedom is what you’re after.

Sometimes your best strategy is counter-intuitive.


 

Seriously, read the full post from Derek here. Stay golden.

on the good life

on the good life

The good life. A whisper, wives-tale, unreachable, too reachable, promise. Something you learn about growing up. The good life. Something you are meant to achieve. A balance of personal sacrifice, freedom and happiness. All of us are suppose to be working towards it yet so few admit to ever arriving. 

I regret that I do not yet have the key to the good life for you. Those answers I have yet to find for myself, but I do believe a few things to be true for anyone hoping for more happiness.

Have good thoughts.

“the soul is dyed the colour of its thoughts” ~ Heraclitus

Good is such a subjective word, but that is why it works so perfectly for the idea of a “good” life and the practice of having “good” thoughts. Have good thoughts. More of the thoughts that make you happy and fewer that do not. Easier said than done. For me, it started with 5 mins, each day, for a week. 5 mins of positivity, reflection and gratitude. If I was feeling like shit that day, maybe it was 5 mins of thinking about how or why I felt that way and how to avoid it in the future. Have good thoughts, dye your soul a whole new colour.

Make gratitude a habit.

“When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love…” ~ Marcus Aurelius

The more I read, think and learn about what it is that will make me happy and fulfilled, the more I realize that it comes down to habits. I came across an idea recently I absolutely LOVE that I think describes it perfectly: The journey is the way. We are all products of our habits and to live a more fulfilled life, habits must not be overlooked. 

“Get to iconic levels not by your to do list, but by your NOT to do list.” Robin Sharma, from a talk at the Archangel Summit 2016.

If you can do ONE THING TODAY to improve your day and inject some instant gratitude into your life, it is to read the following quotes which I shall leave you with today:

When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love…

and

Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.

 


When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love…
Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.

Both quotes are from Marcus Aurelius in his work, Meditations. I read or reference this book monthly. I highly recommend it as a starting point or point of continuation for learning more about stoicism, the good life and philosophy. Get it from Amazon here.

in search of moments

in search of moments

There is a beautiful moment, (a day or two too early and you miss it, a day or two too late and you miss it) when the summer heat turns to autumn cool and the leaves of the forest make their most miraculous swan song.

This moment is spectacular. One can spend their life in search of a perfect fall moment and it would not be a wasted life. I have the privilege of living in a place where the colours of autumn are perhaps the most vibrant of all.

Having just experienced one of the more perfect fall days of my life, it has me thinking about this moment in time and other moments in time, where if you are just early or just late the moment is gone.

How many of us can say we have just missed an opportunity and many more could think back on opportunities we did not even know we had that were missed.

My thought is that these moments of perfection do not come too often, especially if you do not know how to look. This is where I find my thoughts today, wandering and in search of moments. I think in part we are always searching for moments, moments to be turned into great memories, moments to be frequently shared and embellished and moments that seemed so perfect that to even recall them in detail does not do it justice.

Here’s to a life full of those moments.

on being present

on being present

Marcus Aurelius says to be grateful when you rise each day.

“to think, to enjoy, to love.”

Seneca speaks of living each day like it is its own life.

“begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life.

Trying to live full, honest and mindful every day seems daunting to me still. It has been the better part of a year since I made the conscious decision to wake up each day with a purpose, wake up each day wth presence and to wake up each day with as much gratitude as I could muster. Though it has been a great personal triumph these past few months living a more positive, stoic lifestyle, it is easy to be drawn back into the rat race. Negativity and barriers in thought are almost unavoidable.

How do you cut out the negativity? How do muffle your mind from the noise?

I think the answer is, you don’t. Not entirely at least. Negativity will always be there, the noise of society will always be there. To me, it is about taking steps each and every day towards recognizing these obstacles of negativity. When a car drives by as you wait to cross the street does that stop you from eventually crossing? No, that is, unless you go out to greet it. Let the car pass, let the thought pass, let the external negativity pass, and then cross the street.

Take steps each and every day towards your personal and professional goals. Wake each day and try to be more mindful and grateful for just a second more than you were yesterday. It is these steps that are the way. The journey is the destination.

I am always ‘here’.

how do you create original outputs?

how do you create original outputs?

What does it mean to have an original idea?

How do you cultivate originality?

Lately I feel my best thoughts and ideas are a patchwork of knowledge gained through reading, listening and questioning others and then repurposing that knowledge to my own liking. Using inputs to create my outputs.

Originality and creativity comes with my interpretation and repurposing of these inputs. If this is true, and quality original thoughts are the desired output, are quality thoughts and ideas required as input? OR can quality of thought be created?

I hypothesize that good inputs = good outputs.

It is for this reason I have made it a goal to read more (even more) and begin to think of learning as an occupational passion. The best ideas are the product of good inputs.

LIFE GOAL: Be in search of good inputs. This will not lead to a wasted life.

 

celebration of life

celebration of life

This phrase is becoming more common and in many circles, is replacing entirely the use of the word funeral. I find this fascinating on a few specific levels.

There is a stigma quietly becoming more popular in society today around using the word funeral to label someone’s end of life ceremony. More and more often, family and friends of recently deceased loved ones are using the title ‘celebration of life’ to label the ceremony instead of calling it a funeral.

We think we are invincible, we have cures for many diseases and death is something we just don’t seriously talk about. It is the one thing guaranteed in life and yet the one thing people are reluctant to discuss. It is interesting and understandable why people would rather call a funeral a celebration of life. You may have never spent enough time actually celebrating your loved one’s life while they were with you and must now make up for it and reflect upon all of those beautiful moments in hindsight.

I think celebrations of life are wonderful and I have been a part of some absolutely beautiful, reverent ceremonies. My thought today is: Let us not celebrate life as an afterthought, let us celebrate life as it happens. Show your gratitude and be present as often as you can. Take time to be grateful even if it is for just a moment and slowly you can begin your own celebration of life as it happens, every moment of every day.

wood wide web

wood wide web

Trees are amazing. When I think of my first memory of trees, my introduction began with leaves. Fallen leaves. Autumn leaves on the ground to touch and smell and rake and jump in and collect.

I heard an interesting thing today on one of my favourite podcasts RadioLab: Trees are connected, by underground networks, to share data and collectively support each other in growing the wealth and health of the forest. Woah.

Networks of fungal tubes connect old trees to young, oak trees to maple and even insects to roots. These networks truly are the original world-wide-web. The trees provide sugar to the fungus’ which grow expansive networks between nearby trees and breakdown local matter and minerals to then transport back to the trees that need it most.

My first thought, “so the biggest, oldest trees have the most connections, get the most nutrients and continue to keep growing bigger and stronger” ah makes sense. Not true. The trees actually coordinate the allocation of minerals to weaker, younger and even diseased trees to help them become stronger and communally grow the health of the forest.

With all our human genius we have trouble supporting equally our neighbour, let alone another culture or species. Trees are amazing.


Check out the original RadioLab Podcast here – From Tree to Shining Tree