Recently I have been reading Robert Taylor’s book, “A New Way to Be Human.” It is so full of inspirational guidance that I am having a hard time finishing the first few chapters because I keep re-reading them. So far, my greatest take-away is to work on my self-editing way of telling my story. I am guilty of rewriting my story to leave out the parts that I feel people will judge. Clutching on to my fear of judgement and my need to be the person I think my loved ones want me to be is a tough one for me. To flourish, is to experience freedom.
The Holy has given each one of our lives a purpose. Every time I go through one of those self-help or life coach purpose exercises I never really get there. I think I know why. I am clutching on to fears and old beliefs that do not free me to tell my human story. Also, in order to flourish, one must listen with intense interest in the stories of others.
So for this week, for this chapter of my life, I will begin telling my story and seeking the stories of others. That certainly sounds easy enough….no. As I read the book, I think of things I have said and done that I am not proud of at all. Bringing those things to light in telling my story are also painful. I do realize now, that shame and guilt are far more stifling and painful than the truth and more importantly, clutching on to them will only keep me from experiencing a flourishing life and becoming a “new kind of human”.
Robert Taylor’s book:
“Relationships and engaged living honor the richness of your need of one another as human beings, feeding your capacity to appreciate others and notice the enrichment, stimulation and positive challenge they bring to your life. It is about living with a widely cast net.” Robert Taylor
Not trying to be too silly, but I am leaving for a cruise vacation today and won’t be able to post for awhile. The vacation does make sense with regard to flourish. Like last year’s cruise, the ocean, music and enjoyable people created the perfect environment. I will see friends and intend on making new friends and building on those relationships. Leaving for vacation I also notice how much I already miss my wonderful family, pets and home, even though I will only be gone a week.
While I write this I admit I am feeling a little anxiety. Getting ready for a trip and my mind instantly wants to worry about what to pack, how to get everything done, how the kids and pets will do while I am away, and you name it. Clutching on to this energy is completely robbing me of the sense of excitement or feeling my life flourish as I have this tremendous opportunity to enjoy a cruise of a lifetime with a wonderful person, dozens of friends, and warm sunshine. As I start to let go of the anxiety my shoulders start to relax and I can see myself sitting up straighter and my emotions shift to a more pleasant place.
This works! Today I am going to flourish. Take control of your environment, pull the weeds, and grow.
Pardon the metaphor, but this is like tending to a garden. Since I am to create an environment in which I flourish, I will have to spend time culling out the “weeds”. Is there anything I am clutching on to that isn’t good for me? In fact, clutching in general is not healthy for my 2017 environment. Robert Taylor’s article suggests that when we stop clutching or holding on to regrets, we actually live longer.
I do experience clutching from time to time. I find it hard to let go of things much like a hoarder does. There is a fear of letting go of something or someone and then finding that the decision was a mistake. Maybe my fear is making a mistake. Or maybe I am just taking much of life far too serious. To flourish in 2017 I will have a second word to work on this year: Clutching. Without knowing it, I started on Flourishing last year when I read Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. It is a similar activity. Letting go of the things and eventually even people that do not bring you joy. Time to re-read the book and go through my closets one more time.
I really like choosing a word of the year rather than a New Year’s Resolution. For this year’s word, I have chosen Flourish.
“To choose to flourish is an intentional act to increase your well-being in a profound way, improve your health and extend your longevity. Now imagine choosing flourish as your daily word for 2017 to anchor your life and sense of purpose. To choose to flourish is a bold affirmation of your life and continued emergence as a person.” Robert V. Taylor
The article recommends putting the word in a place you will see daily or even making your passwords include the word flourish. As soon as I finish writing this piece today I am going to tape my sign to my bathroom mirror. Next I am thinking I should read these recommended books: Martin E.P. Seligman, “Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Wellbeing,” (Simon and Schuster, New York, 2011), Kelly McGonigal, “The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More Of It.” (Avery, New York 2013) and Robert V. Taylor’s “A New Way to Be Human” (New Page Books).
I have never thought of the word Flourish with regard to mindfulness thought but rather to do with a garden. It is interesting to picture my life, my soul and my emotions not happy but rather flourishing. Just think, some things grow better in their own unique environment rather than in other environments. I significantly changed my environment over these past few years and without noticing or putting my finger on it and at times mislabeling it happiness, I was flourishing. Now I will notice and now I will practice the determined life of mindfully creating an environment to flourish.
The Dictionary will first define you as a noun: a person, place or thing. Next, will come your adjectives, you know, what kind of you, which one of you, how many of you. Then there is the all important verb. This is the word that reveal what’s happening. Are you running? smiling? impacting? Did you eat? Did you hurt? Your next job is to figure out just what your synonyms and antonyms are going to be in this dictionary. What or who is similar or opposite? Now for the REAL point of the activity: How would your Mother, your Father, your spouse, your co-workers, and your friends write this entry? Do you see where I am going with this yet? I can already guess what you are going through as you read. I would even bet you find it easier to write how you think others would define you and you would have a much tougher time defining yourself knowing full well that it will be published and everyone, yes, everyone will read it.
One of the most difficult parts of the Journey is knowing who you are and finding the Courage to let everyone else know it too. So start here: take a few minutes to think about how people who are important to you would define you. We will talk later about what comes next.
Looking For Paris
Sitting alone with my coffee on a nice back porch in Suburb, USA and I wonder…”Where is Paris?”
Not just the city, but more importantly, the feeling I had while I was there. Is it an elusive state of being you can only capture while you are there? It quite possibly could be as fragile as a bubble that floats lazily through the air and then, when you blink, it is gone. So I am looking for that place inside myself where you feel like getting out the house, having all of your senses awakened by the accordion music of the frenchman in the marketplace and the fresh baked bread. So sit down that cup of coffee, jump in the car and drive through the burbs and Voila! I am chasing the bubble through traffic lights, drive-thru fast food stops, mega-malls and streets lined with cookie-cutter houses and no, I cannot find Paris.