Wednesday, September 26, 2012

ingredients for joy and meaning

"Courage originally meant 'To speak one's mind by telling all one's heart.' Over time, this definition has changed, and today, courage is more synonymous with being heroic.  Heroics is important and we certainly need heroes, but I think we've lost touch with the idea that speaking honestly and openly about who we are, about what we're feeling, and about our experiences (good and bad) is the definition of courage.  Heroics is often about putting our life on the line.  Ordinary courage is about putting our vulnerability on the line.  In today's world, that's pretty extraordinary."

Several weeks ago I watched this TED talk by Brené Brown called The power of vulnerability. 

As I was watching it, I knew it would have a significant impact on my life...
on how I live
on how I love
on who I am.

It threw me into a chaotic combination of self empowerment, self reflection, and self questioning. 

I went to the library and checked out one of her books.
Let go of who you think you're supposed to be and embrace who you are.
That sounds so incredibly liberating and joyful. 
But part of the problem is that it is now hard for me to distinguish between who I truly am and who I think I am supposed to be... or rather, is who I think I am a result of years of being who I was supposed to be?

I took away two main things from watching and reading Brené:
1. I am enough.
2. Joy is the goal.

"If we want to fully experience love and belonging, we must believe that we are worthy of love and belonging.... Worthy now.  Not if.  Not when.  We are worthy of love and belonging now.  Right this minute.  As is." 

This simple concept is surprisingly hard for me to convince myself of. It is so easy for me to agree with and to believe.  But it is hard for me to accept and to know.  And although a lot of people might not admit it, I think this is something that many of us struggle with.  And when taken seriously, this idea is unbelievably powerful.  

I am enough.

"It's easy to see how difficult it is to make time for the important things such as creativity, gratitude, joy, and authenticity when we're spending enormous amounts of energy conforming and comparing."

Our society doesn't place enough value and importance on joy.
We work, and buy things, and do things, and say things, and make lists, and make goals... for joy?  
Pure joy?
In the book, Brené suggests readers make an 'ingredients for joy and meaning' list - and this should be the source for the things you place importance on.  The things you derive goals from.  The things you devote time and energy to. 

my ingredients for joy and meaning
  • interacting with others
    • enjoying the company of those i love
    • meeting new people
    • being in the crowd for the festivities/common purpose
    • helping people
  • nature
    • being outside
    • enjoying the changing weather
  • being active
  • organizing
    • planning
    • cleaning
    • finding order from chaos
    • routines
  • music
    • making music
    • listening to music
  • growth
    • being challenged
    • making goals, and working towards them
    • learning 
  • playing
    • smiling/laughing
    • being silly
    • dancing
    • spontaneity 
  • creating 
  • looking nice
  • relaxing
  • food/drinks
    • cooking/baking
    • enjoying delicious meals or tasty treats
    • delicious drinks (alcoholic and non)
  • photos
    • taking photos
    • looking at photography
    • memories and stories that accompany photos
  • exploring

Its a long list, I know... and it could be so much longer because there are so many things and places and people that bring joy into life.  

The point is we forget to focus on it.
We get distracted.

Joy is the goal.