Recently, while deep in conversation with two of my very best friends, I was faced with a question that caught me off guard. Even now, I’m unsure whether I can answer it fully since life changes just as water does, ebbing and flowing constantly. It was posed to us, “Where do you see yourself at 80 years old?” If you closed your eyes and visualized your life, where would you be?” Initially, I expected the answer to be “surrounded by my family and those I love,” but I recognized that this was a nauseatingly generic response and forced myself to contemplate it further. Now as with most of our conversations, tears were shed. We began to cry because we realized that we were not necessarily where we wished to be (at least that’s what we thought). Our dreams included being wildly successful, extremely wealthy, well-traveled, wise beyond our years, and living in our absolute truth in its purest form. In essence, those forms are divine vessels of light, wisdom, and love capable of rebounding from all of life’s curveballs in order to land safely on our feet. However, as we sat with the question in our hearts, we realized that life has left us feeling “stuck”. As far as I know, we cannot be the only ones experiencing a lack of progress. This feeling of not being able to move forward can be found in the workplace, in relationships, or even in the environment in which we live. Occasionally, life makes us feel that there needs to be something more than just waking up to commute to work and then going home to experience the mundane routines of household work and endless lessons, such as helping the little ones with homework when you’ve been on your feet all day, or assisting others with their problems while understanding that you do not have a solution for your own problems either. As individuals experiencing life from a wide range of perspectives and feeling a range of emotions, what can we do to cope with these diverse perspectives and emotions? At that point, we realized our best chance of finding a solution to the “rut” we occasionally experience lies in moments of inspiration. We must determine which activities provide us with the greatest sense of joy. Which activity gives us the greatest sense of well-being, or even makes us feel at peace? This may look different for all of us, an invigorating activity could involve writing, whether that be a short story or even automatic writing. Reading your favorite book for the millionth time because it always leaves you feeling inspired. Maybe it’s dancing to your favorite song, or getting lost in the feeling of playing an instrument if you are into it. It may even involve experiencing nature’s magnificence while gardening, walking, or hiking through a park or woods. As we all know, both meditating and listening to affirmations and/or speaking kindly to ourselves daily is another way to help us connect with the divine, since we are all divine beings on this planet. This leads me to the next thing we can do to prevent feeling stuck. If we were to learn to see the divinity in all things, the more we would be able to find the beauty in every single organism on this planet, the better off we would be. There is both magic and godliness in what is perceived as ordinary or mundane things. If we refuse to open up our awareness we’ll always feel stuck or would find life to be trivial. If only we all understood that nature is abundant with magical qualities and properties. A plant growing from a seed into a mystical willow tree holds much magic. It is impossible to deny the presence of magic in all of life’s simple pleasures, such as dancing in the rain or squishing your toes in the mud, for we can recall a time when imagination filled our lives with wonder and magic was all around us. There is divinity in even the simplest of gestures, such as a warm hug from a friend who can sense without having to speak that you may be in need of one. Our everyday lives contain a great deal of divine energy that can be accessed simply by breathing and by living slowly, consciously, and always being present. From droning on about the endless tasks that homeownership had presented us with, we quickly shifted our perspectives to one of gratitude. Rather than concentrating on our frustrations over possibly repairing a few steps or painting over a freshly spackled wall, we chose to emphasize the beauty that these simple fixes added to our safe-havens, such as adding a beautiful shelf to the wall which houses a precious plant, or many for that matter. I listened to my girls chuckle over their cats’ ability to make them smile despite their ever-changing temperaments. The topic of finding joy in the little things was discussed, such as repurposing a beautiful piece of second-hand furniture in order to give it a more attractive yet cozy look, or possibly finding the perfect piece of art to enhance our creativity. After going off on a tangent about the small things that bring us joy in our lives, apart from our families, we reached a state of gratitude. Our immediate realization was that cultivating gratitude consciously was the key to feeling happier (we felt a great deal less stuck than we did at the beginning of our conversation). In order to answer the question that was posed at the beginning of our conversation, “Where do you see yourself at 80?” In my opinion, I see myself living in complete joy and gratitude, as my life, despite being filled with minor setbacks, provides me with ample opportunity for bouncing back and shifting my reality in order to become the person I was always meant to be. The me that nurtures, is loved and gives love freely. The me who is compassionate and well-traveled. While I may not be in a position to be affluent at the moment, I am abundant in more ways than one. By 80, I expect to be the wise woman sitting barefoot in her backyard, surrounded by her grandchildren and nature, finding joy in my everyday life, inhaling the breath that I am eternally grateful to possess. It is my intention to live my life in gratitude and kindness until the day I am like the crone, wise, aged, and beautifully gray.
I would like to conclude this post by asking, are you living a life of gratitude? As a being of light on this planet, are you doing your part to infuse kindness into your everyday life? Do you see the divinity in all things? Last but not least, I would love to know where you see yourself at 80 years old. What will you do to ensure that you achieve the version of yourself at 80 that you have always desired?
Lots of love,