It was a grueling race and I needed to slow to a walk on a couple of hills but all in all a great track and a good run. I finished in the middle of the pack 122/260 and won my age group. Good thing I am getting older and most of the competition is getting younger. I said ” if I can still do this at 70, I should still be able to do a lot of things.
The remainder of the day was spent with my favorite person; my beloved in one of my favorite places. I think we like Canmore so much because we don’t have it every day, every week or even every month. There is no familiarity that breeds complacency. We saw new sites and spent some money on hats and a gift. One of our haunts had elocated to a new location but we passed their vacant digs first and were disappointed that it wasn’t there. Finding it a block north was like finding it anew. The streets of Canmore were busy on a cool Saturday afternoon and coffee at Beamers was delicious and entertaining. The international crowd; young travelers passing through the mountain parks or those that are working their way across North America and are spending a few months here seem to pick this crowded little shop. The buzz of accents and foreign languages are always uplifting. Three young guys, speaking German approached the counter and I didn’t hear there order but the question ” do you want whip cream with that” needed translation. I am not sure if he was satisfied with his friend’s version but I hope he enjoyed the topping on his cup.
After 40 years there is lots of familiarity between myself and my partner. We grew up together and were married very young. She supports me in all the craziness that is my life and all the stuff that I want to try. She was cheering loudly and snapping pictures at the race and was at the finish line with water and a congratulatory kiss. She ‘mothered’ me enough to make sure I had enough water, stretched and cooled down and then refueled with food and fruit from the race tables. It isn’t a control issue, she just loves me and knows me. She also knows that if I feel like I am being ‘made’ to do anything, I can dig in my size 9 1/2 shoes up to my heels and stubbornly ignore even the best of suggestions.
While the storefronts change and the inventory is different or even if we are strolling an avenue together for the first time, there is a camaraderie, a rhythm and an easiness that comes from 15000 hand-in- hand walks we have shared. We offer each other sensitive feedback on whether some garment or toy works or is a good buy. I make decisions easily so her advice usually tempers an impulse and I can be honest if I think something makes her look like her much older sister. We both ended up with new hats that we were told ” You guys rock those hats” so are pretty confident about the choices. Although the compliment did come from the staff at the store so she maybe had an ulterior motive.
When we are together, we don’t often finish each other’s sentences because most often we know that we are thinking the same thing. In some ways “we share a brain” and are so completely in sync. People who know us recognize the rhythm, but also would say that “you guys are so different from each other”. It is in the knowledge that we have history, ups and downs, shared victories and losses, and the confidence to say what needs to be said that we are free to see the world so differently. I see big pictures and am destination focused. Without her I wouldn’t see the beauty and curiousity of nature and would never have found Beamers with my nose. We compliment and tease, we keep the other in mind when making decisions, we live independent lives, and we work hard every day to continue to live happily ever after.
In the consistent and in the unexpected we share our joy and sorrow and in the differences we learn and are challenged to learn. Somehow sharing live together, this way brings fulfillment and in our daily appreciation of these blessings we acknowledge how fortunate we are to have found the other.
A lesson I am learning is about my own ability to create chaos in my life and sabotage the best efforts of the Creator to bring fulfillment to my life. The problem is that I don’t handle success any better than failure because my ego wants me to think only about myself. When I think things, do things and embrace things that are just for me – to make me look good, feel good or impress others the chaos begins. As I feed on the feelings and recognition I seek more and make decisions that will satisfy the insatiable ego.
If on the other hand I seek to share more, add value to my world and make the difference I am called to make the chaos subsides. My ego doesn’t like the diet and so it pushes back. It creates uncomfortable circumstances (IN MY HEAD) and unnecessary desires for material rewards (IN MY HEART). The ego screams that I deserve more, more notice, more love, more recognition, more shiny stuff so that I will be temporarily sated. The feeling of satisfaction is the addiction that E is trying to foster. If I feel good in this moment, I will continue to seek these small inconsequential victories, at almost any cost.
Smart people find themselves in unethical quandaries because they became addicted to micro bursts of self satisfaction. We can be fulfilled if we seek to be of service to others, to a cause greater than ourselves, to an agenda that is about sharing our gifts with those around us; near and far.
Make Today Remarkable, by starving your ego,
Most everything has a choice component. We get to make choices about love, health, work, hopes and happiness. We can choose trust or distrust. In order to live a more fulfilling life we need to consider our choices.
Most people choose to see themselves in light of an effect. ” I am sad because you did …” I am angry because..” I can’t change my job because …” As if the world was acting upon them. In reality they can as easily choose cause and become proactive in their journey. The only thing stopping us from choosing to make our life is our ego. It causes us to seek selfish rather than sharing behaviour. It is about me and me rather than you and us. Even if you are shy and reserved your ego controls your action because you worry about being embarrassed or being laughed at. Getting past the debilitating ego and framing every opportunity or challenge as a choice begins to erode the ego’s power. As you choose to intervene in your own life and make decisions to benefit others, your life begins to fill up. If you worry about loss, losing. opinions, and status you are thinking about you, you, you.
Maslow’s pyramid was right but not in the way that we usually use it. The pyramid isn’t meant to be filled from the bottom up. If you begin with self actualization (the act of considering the other first) the pyramid fills itself (not really but it does fill from a place of strength and abundance rather than lack and weakness. Take a chance today and start turning your pyramid on it’s head.
Make Today Fulfilling, by thinking about how your choices will impact others,
Day 2 Towards Fulfillment
In the list I made yesterday (I imagine yours too), there were things that I want to do, things I want to have, things that I want to be known for, and things that I want to share.
We are innately wired to receive, sometimes with grace and other times in selfishness. most of us aren’t really great at receiving. We either take it for granted, don’t accept it as sincere or are blown away by the generousity. Our culture has convinced (or is trying to convince) us that we have a ‘right’ to stuff, either physical or emotional. But what if fulfillment started in not what we receive but in what we share?
What if our lives are better, bigger, bolder and beautiful when we share our time, our money, our gifts, our love with those around us? In relationships we shouldn’t ask “why aren’t you doing those little things you used to do” but instead become the doer of all those little things. In community we shouldn’t be the one standing on the sidelines waiting for a neighbour to ask for assistance but rather we should be the guy who leans over the fence and says ” I’ve got a couple hours, can I help you with that?”. With strangers we shouldn’t wait to receive a smile but … With servers we shouldn’t wait for their courtesy but rain courtesy on them. We can be the bringer of joy, assistance and value to almost everyone we meet.
The door to fulfillment opens a crack every time you are a giver without an expecttion of receiving.
Make Today Remarkably Giving,
Do we even understand what living a fulfilled life might look like? What are the things that you would need to be fulfilled? Love, time, money. security, purpose, a new car, friends, family, relationships, health, clothes, fame …? What would be in your list? Take 5 minutes right now and list all the things (material and immaterial, worldly and spiritual, big and small) that you believe would bring you ‘happiness’. Your list will be different than mine, different from your brother’s, your partner’s or your children’s.
What are the barriers? What do you need less of to gain fulfillment? Are you physically limited in achieving or striving for those things on your list? Have you thought about why those things are/should be important? Are stress, conflict, timidity, uncertainty, lack of confidence, lack of wisdom, limited understanding, damaged relationships, poor health on the list?
Are you interested and committed to seeing how much of the two lists you can change? Are you ready to shake things up and trust that the Universe has a plan for you and that you need to seek it? Do you want to make meaning for your life?
The next three weeks, I commit to sharing this journey with you, as I undertake it. I will write something here that I observe, learn, discover – good and bad. Are you willing to join me?
Make Today the Beginning,