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death-http://agingdisgracefullywell.com-sarah-blick

Life, death… and life

The life cycle we struggle with so much

Life. This we understand.

Or not.

We’re born, we grow up, we do things, we own things, we get old, we die. That’s pretty much it. To make matters worse, we’re participants in this thing we call life. We take part in a game designed for us by others. Our parents, mentors, society.

Before you object to what I’ve said, answer me this.

Is your life meaningful? Do you know who you are and what you’re here to do?

I thought not.

My life wasn’t meaningful, either. Until I dug deep to discover why my little voice kept on asking me “Is this it?” for much of my adult life. That’s where I found the meaning.

Making my life meaningful changed everything. For me. For those I serve.

I didn’t understand death any better. And I’m guessing that you don’t, either.

When beings I loved died, I saw it as an ending. A final act. I couldn’t imagine finding that love again elsewhere. At least, not for a long time.

A lot of this stemmed from my belief system at the time. I told myself I couldn’t bear this type of heartbreak again. I also told myself that ‘replacing’ this being in my life would be disloyal to the one who had died.

I felt guilty. About a lot of things.

  • Whether she knew I loved her.
  • Whether I’d done right by him.
  • Having feelings of happiness or love ‘too soon’ after the death.
  • Not having enough love in me. So, I’d have to love him less to have enough love for someone new.

Turns out, I was as wrong about death as I was about life.

If life is meant to be meaningful, then death is meant to be enriching.

This is how nature works. A Western red-cedar tree knows exactly what it’s here to do. To be the best possible Western red-cedar tree. It spend its whole life doing this. And then it dies.

When a Western red-cedar tree dies and falls to the forest floor, it leaves its richness behind. Its wealth of nutrients are there to give life to all that inhabit the forest. Insects, animals, other trees.

In death, the Western red-cedar tree leaves its world richer, primed for new life.

And in death, we humans also leave our world richer, primed for new life. If those left behind could only see it.

When beings we love die, the pain we feel breaks open our hearts. This can prime us for even deeper love, for even deeper connections.

Or it can prime us to close down.

If we are to honour those who die, then we, too, must use the richness they leave behind. The lifetime of happy memories. The heartbreak from their death.

We must use this to give ourselves more life. To become more human. To love and connect with others more deeply. To be more compassionate. Not to waste a scrap of what these beings gave us through their lives.

Life, death, and life. Meaning, enrichment, deeper meaning.

Nature’s cycle is ours, too. Believe it.

 

 

Sarah Blick is a very tall, dog-loving, morning person. She loves to be in the great outdoors, to write, to eat well, to be active and healthy, to make her own household and personal care products, and to listen to indie music. She’s an ENFP (Myers-Briggs) and a Rockstar (Fascination Advantage).

 

success-http://agingdisgracefullywell.com-sarah-blick

You have everything in life

So why does it feel like you don’t?

You’re successful. You have the job you worked hard for, the family you always wanted, the life you always wanted. You’re well liked, well respected and have a large circle of friends.

You’re living the dream.

So why doesn’t it feel like that?

You have everything you ever wanted, so you should feel great. And you did, for a while after you succeeded at each goal. But right now you don’t, and the inner critics inside your head are having a field day.

“So many people in the world never had the advantages you have. The least you can do is be grateful!”

“What makes you think you’re so special that you deserve more?”

“Why can’t you just be happy?”

“What’s wrong with you? You have everything you ever wanted and now it’s not enough??!!”

“Everyone else seems happy with what they have, there must be something wrong with you.”

You try to push your feelings away and focus on what you have. You have so much! You know this, you KNOW you have so much. But still, there’s a little voice somewhere inside, a voice that feels less clarity about what you’re doing with your life, a voice that wonders “Is this it?”. It all makes you feel so uncomfortable, ashamed even.

I know that voice intimately, because it lived in me for years. I first felt it at 25, when everything was going well for me. I’d been working for a few years and was a rising star. I had a lot of friends. But I didn’t feel very alive and was less than happy. I hated feeling like this so much that it propelled me into action – I just had to figure out what was so wrong with my life that I couldn’t be happy with what I had. I was totally on my own – it was pre internet and a time when no one talked about such things. So the action I took ended up involving A LOT of change – my moving home, job and country repeatedly – as that was the only way I knew to shake things up and get to the bottom of my discomfort. That voice came and went over the years, usually returning after a success glow had worn off. Every time it came back, I dove back inside, and changed more about my life. This went on for 30 years, until I knew why I hadn’t felt fully alive or happy or self-fulfilled.

To save you 30 years of deep soul-searching, here’s why!

Despite having all the success and accomplishments you could ever want, you will never feel fully alive until you do one thing. Find what lights you up. Without knowing this, you won’t know your life’s purpose. And without living your life’s purpose, you won’t have lasting self-fulfilment or happiness.

Success is getting what you want. It gives you fleeting happiness, because after you’ve achieved it, you start aiming for the next success, the next goal.

Self-fulfilment is getting what you need. It gives you lasting happiness, which leads to lasting success.

You have everything you want. It’s time to find what you need.

 

Sarah Blick is a very tall, dog-loving, morning person. She loves to be in the great outdoors, to write, to eat well, to be active and healthy, to make her own household and personal care products, and to listen to indie music. She’s an ENFP (Myers-Briggs) and a Rockstar (Fascination Advantage).

 

happiness-http://agingdisgracefullywell.com-sarah-blick

How to use change to increase happiness in your life

You feel so ungrateful, so confused. After all, how could someone who has everything feel anything less than elated? Yet, that’s how you feel. Less than happy. Less than self-fulfilled. Less than clear about what you’re doing and why.

You ask yourself “Is this IT?”

All your life you’ve been working towards what you have today, but now you’re here, you don’t feel like you expected to. You expected to feel happy when you achieved your success goals – and you did, for a while. But then the happiness dissipated and you were left wondering what was next. What’s the next success goal you’re supposed to have to make you happy?

While you figure this out, you’re just going through the motions, day in, day out. You’ve been in that mode for a while. It’s not that bad – your life isn’t that bad. But it’s not that great, either. Maybe people like you aren’t supposed to have great lives – most people don’t, do they? As long as you have a roof over your head, food to eat, an income and loving people in your life, that’s enough, isn’t it?

No, it’s not. If it were enough, you wouldn’t be wondering if this is it.

You’re right, there’s nothing wrong with your life. But it could be so much more! You are a human being and humans who have their basic requirements met need more. They need to feel self-fulfilled and to have a strong sense of purpose in their lives – Maslow’s 1943 Theory of Human Motivation was all about this.

You need to feel self-fulfilled and to have a strong sense of purpose in your life. Without this, you will always wonder: “Is this IT?”

When you’ve spent your life pursuing certain success goals, chances are that you’ve lost some of what makes you uniquely you along the way. Those goals depended on your meeting certain standards – being a certain person, behaving in a certain way – and that inevitably meant that you stopped being fully yourself.

How can you be yourself if you’re expected to be a person who meets a certain external standard?

It’s the loss of those parts of the real you that you’re feeling. Not being fully yourself is making you feel less than happy, less than self-fulfilled. 

If you want to do more than merely exist, if you want to thrive and be happy and self-fulfilled, then you need to stop looking for external answers. You need to stop waiting for something to change and start changing yourself. Yet, you resist change, because change feels scary, like a threat to your security. Besides, it would be too unsettling to change anything now – change is so disruptive.

Exactly. Change is disruptive. Change is innovative and ground-breaking. Change is THIS version of disruptive.

Trouble is, you only see change as the other version of disruptive – change as a threat. So you’re afraid of making changes in your life. And that’s not surprising, given that your human brain is wired to hate change, to view it as a potential threat to your security.

But change isn’t the real threat.

Doing nothing is the real threat. Because doing nothing threatens your happiness and self-fulfilment.

So do something!  Choose happiness and self-fulfilment and use change to help you get there.

Take the first step towards a life that is meaningful and makes you feel fully alive.

 

Sarah Blick is a very tall, dog-loving, morning person. She loves to be in the great outdoors, to write, to eat well, to be active and healthy, to make her own household and personal care products, and to listen to indie music. She’s an ENFP (Myers-Briggs) and a Rockstar (Fascination Advantage).