This is a guest post by Bridgett Tulloh of Love the Life Pursuit, who is an integrative health coach and follower of PLM. In this blog post, Bridgett shares much of her wisdom on how to truly enjoy your life while finding your life vision and purpose. Enjoy!
If you’re like me, you’ve spent many years searching for meaning and purpose in this life. You may have spent most of your life feeling as though you were simply a part of the vast unfolding of fate and that you had little to no control over your own life circumstances. Fortunately, the truth is that you do, in fact, have a great deal of control over how your life unfolds before you, and how you choose to experience it.
Stefan has shared many aspects of his life, and how he has achieved success in many areas. I think his story is a remarkable and inspirational one, and I love the gratitude he regularly and deeply expresses.
For myself, having grown up with notably difficult circumstances, it took me years to gain a sense of control in my life. I searched for meaning in this life, time and time again. I devoured self-help books, spiritual books, tried out meditation and more. And, bit by bit my life did improve. By the time I was in my mid-30’s I felt I had actually come quite a long way. In fact, I had a pretty darn great life. I had a husband I adored, a beautiful 1-year old son, a new home we loved, and having left teaching behind, I was living the life we had planned for of being a stay at home mom.
Meaning in life? Wasn’t sure I had the complete answer to that one, but I sure felt close to understanding it at the birth of my child. Life, in the act of living it, is intrinsically beautiful.
But, you know, even with all of the truly wonderful things life had brought me as I grew older, I continued to search for answers. One day, I stumbled across one book, which led to another, and then another…. Which, amazingly, all seemed to be answering crucial questions I’d held. These books gave me new insight to old questions I’d held about purpose, religion, spirituality, fate and more.
I began to believe that you can create the life that you want. That, in fact, we are all creating our lives, moment by moment, year by year, whether we realize it or not.
I learned the saying, “What you focus on expands,” and I began to be inspired by people I’d never before heard of, like Napoleon Hill and Wallace Wattles. I then found modern-day mentors, like Stefan Pylarinos and Pat Flynn.
If you’ve never considered it, let me assure you, there are many successful people out there who will confirm it. You create your own reality. You hold the key to your own success. And you are more powerful than you ever realized.
What was my life vision? I began to create it. And you can do this now too. Get a pencil and paper and do this now, free form: Write down exactly how you’d like for your life to be, in every aspect.
Most people think that…
1) they don’t have control over most of their life circumstances; and
2) there is no way that the things they truly want could ever come to them.
The sad truth is that most people are afraid to admit to themselves, or anyone else, what they truly want in life because they cannot imagine that they could actually have it. So, they live a life of convenience, of status quo.
You can be happy with a house in the suburbs (I have been!) You can be happy with a traditional job (I was!) And you can be happy with the relationships you currently have in your life (Here too!) But, here are a few things to consider:
Are you truly enjoying your life, or getting stressed out by it?
Do you know what your life vision would even be? Have you mapped it out?
Do you truly experience living, the deep richness of all life has to offer? Or are you coping, just trying to get ‘through the day’?
If you feel like you’re working for the weekend, or waiting until that rare vacation to actually feel enjoyment, then you’re missing out on the true beauty of life.
There are 2 key things that need to happen for you to truly begin enjoying the life you have been given.
1) Learn how to enjoy and appreciate what you have by living in the moment.
2) Learn how to create a life vision that aligns with your values and ideals.
Let’s take a look at each one in-depth…
How Do You Begin To Enjoy Life?
It sounds pretty simple. You might imagine yourself sitting on a beach chair with a drink in your hand, watching the sunset. “Ahhhh, this is living!” you might say. Yes, I’ll agree that having the freedom of relaxing in a beautiful spot is good living.
But what about your day to day? Do you enjoy your daily activities? Eating a family dinner? Your exercise routine? Cutting the lawn? What about your commute? Are you super-stressed after the drive, or did you take the opportunity to create enjoyment by listening to a favorite cd, for example? Did you bless others around you or curse them?
You see, as crazy as it sounds, you can find peace within almost any circumstance. It comes from mindfulness practice and awareness.
Here’s a simple exercise in mindfulness you can do right now. Wherever you are, after you read the next few lines, close your eyes and practice. Think about where you are sitting. Notice your environment, the sounds, the smells. What about the texture of where you are sitting, the chair you are in?
Do you have a glass of water nearby? Pick it up. What does it feel like in your hand? Is the glass cold? Are you thirsty? Take a drink. What is the sensation as you drink it?
(I was privileged to be group-led in these mindfulness exercises by Dr. Jeff Brantley. He leads Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction at Duke University.)
In these pure, but detailed observations of life, you are experiencing being in the moment. It is profoundly simple, and yet profoundly calming to your nervous system, to your mind and to your spirit.
Practices like these actually create more joy in your life because instead of living mentally in yesterday, or tomorrow, you are here now. I find this is especially helpful in alleviating anxiety.
When I am sitting with my 2 year old, who is joyfully eating a bowl of blueberries, I sometimes catch myself. I was thinking about that terrible conversation yesterday, or even the one from a year ago! Or I’m thinking about the future, what I’m going to do about that dreaded phone call tomorrow or whether or not I feel like going to the gym.
When I stop, and make myself present in the moment, I actually start enjoying the beauty of life again. I enjoy the blueberries. I notice my son’s funny expressions. I laugh with him. I am truly living in these moments.
What About My Life Vision?
Your life vision is the other absolutely essential element in creating a life with purpose and fulfillment.
There are many aspects to life visioning that stem from 3 main areas: Physical, Mental and Spiritual. Below, you can get an idea of what kind of life inventory you truly need to take to begin creating a life that aligns with your values and purpose.
Physical care involves your nutrition, rest, exercise, medical care and physical environment.
Mentally, we think of care for your mind, including personal development, professional development, and even the mind-body connection.
Spiritual care can be connecting mindfulness practices with your inner self, your relationships and communication.
Each area requires careful contemplation, because they are all a cumulative effect on how you experience your life.
Try out an in-depth free assessment in each of these areas. When you complete a brief but introspective assessment in your physical, mental and spiritual health, you can then begin to choose a focus area.
Remember, what you focus on expands.
And so, after you create a vision for your life, you’ll want to take some time to clarify what that future ideal self looks and feels like for you. You can enjoy a free guided imagery session here to see how powerful ‘seeing’ yourself in your ideal circumstances can be.
Like Stefan, I strongly believe in the power of setting your intention to create the life you dream of. This process has made an amazing impact on my life, and though I am on my journey creating the end result of all that I envision, I am thoroughly enjoying the process.
Life is not meant to be lived with an end-game success as the ultimate goal. Enjoy the process of creating the life you dream. Take a deep breath, remember to express gratitude for all that you have, and more will come to you with each passing day.
Love the Life Pursuit