First 30 Days Blog

07 sep

Bringing Back Meaning into Our Lives

evolutionWe live in interesting times. We are all busy. We are all trying to be happier, more organized, healthier, wealthier and wiser! Yet there is a deeper longing that stirs beneath the surface of our lives—the desire that our lives matter, that our work matters, that there is true meaning in who we are and what we want to do. This isn’t about another goal, another challenge to set our sights on or something that will make us feel good. It’s about the fundamentals of how we view our life, our time, the people around us and the choices we make. When our lives are full of meaning, we are full of energy and joy. We can do anything. Meaning is what we want. So how do we get it?

1) Follow our heart’s longing and inspiration. Do what we want not what we should.
Ever since we were young, we’ve been told what we should do, what we should eat, what time we should go to bed, what work we should eventually grow up to do. It’s no surprise that so many of us find it hard even to get in touch with what we want, what our hearts want to do. It’s often hidden behind years of stories about why we can’t. We have excuses and even people’s opinions that stand in our way.

We all know what it feels like when something “feels” right. Our bodies let us know. There’s no tension, no contraction, no stress. Start small. What do you “want” to wear? What do you want to do on the weekend? What do you want to read? Then you can move onto the next questions. Where do you want to live? What type of work do you want to be doing with your life? What type of relationship/friendships do you want to have? Set your intention to establish a life plan that only brings you meaning into your life and that anything else fall away in its natural course.

2) Stop any disapproval/perfection/comparison programs.
These programs run our lives, the software of our everyday choices. We find dozens of ways to disapprove of ourselves. We try to be perfect or we compare our lives to others. Our inner critic at least has a full-time job!

If you want to add meaning to your life, start becoming aware of when one of these three programs is running or being activated. Shine a light on it. Realize that’s what’s happening. When the voice of disapproval goes quiet, that’s when you start accessing joy and meaning. It’s there all the time. It’s just not reachable without seeing what’s in the way. When you focus on it, you start seeing it. You literally have an escrow account of joy and meaning that is already within you, waiting to be experienced once these programs start losing their a grip on your life. Be gentle on yourself and light on life. Accept your humanness and also others’.

3) Slow down and stop your crazy deadlines.

We are all rushing, somewhere, to do something. Why is that? What are we trying to do? We need to find meaning in something. Ironically, when we slow down, we see meaning in everything. We aren’t trying to fill our emptiness. We notice things, a gesture, an animal, a sunset, a sweet exchange. We see what’s beautiful, magical. One of the things that most controls our lives is time—the clock. It lets us know if we are late, if we have achieved enough by whatever age we are, or if we are finally allowed to slow down and start enjoying our lives.

So stop looking at your watch for direction. There’s another part of you, your intuition, your inner listener who is constantly trying to get your attention. It knows what matters. It’s connected to your truth. It is a source of peace, tranquility and wisdom. Many of us fail at any of our goals only because we have imposed a crazy deadline on ourselves. We simply don’t give ourselves enough time. The runway is too short for anything to take off. People who are good at change, get their goals, find deeper meaning in their lives and have a very different relationship with time. Give yourself twice as long, or simply don’t determine your life on a few numbers.

4) Take items off your plate.
We are all focused on adding things to our lives, a bit more health, a bit more money, a few more hobbies. Start asking yourself what should not be on your plate anymore? What should you NOT do with your life? What’s your biggest distraction? What would you like not to do anymore? What brings you no meaning or joy? The door is always open to end anything. Really it is. It’s your mind that sees it as shut. The illusion of fear is what becomes real then. What do you want to have on your plate? What are your non-negotiables, things that no one, no job, nothing should touch? Those are what you want to be focusing on. Remember, your mind is a creative instrument so whatever you put your attention to expands.

5) Be self-nurturing.
We are all good at doing things for others, working hard, being there for our friends and family. And most of us are terrible at being there for ourselves. Our ability to do any self nurturing is low. And we aren’t talking about a manicure, a pedicure or a trip to the gym here. I am talking about what you feel you need: more sleep, healthier food, time to meditate and be silent, time in nature, the ability to read a book and so on. Schedule your time like you would any other important meeting. When your cup is full, when you’ve taken care of your needs, then the world can have some. You can’t give what you don’t have.

6) Know why you do what you do and you will have a sense of purpose and direction.

When was the last time you asked yourself a deeper question? Why are you here? What’s this all about? What matters? What’s a good use of my time? Am I not more than just a woman, married to this person, doing this job? We fear some of these questions thinking our life will fall apart if we get too deep and philosophical. But what is more important than to get fascinated with the journey of a lifetime? How does life work? How does the mind work? People who feel their lives are full of meaning are growing, they are learning, questioning everything, unlearning things they thought to be true. As with anything, when you feel you are growing, things feel good. When you are trying to keep everything the same, protect what you have, meaning is far away. Pick up a different type of book, maybe one about higher truth, wisdom, spiritual principles of the ages. Let your heart and mind ponder something new.

7) Start looking for ways to serve and contribute to your fellow human beings.
There is nothing that will bring you a sense of meaning more than this. Power moves through those who serve. All fulfillment comes from feeling connected to others and giving from the heart, once you’ve taken care of yourself! ☺

Really listen to others. Give them a safe space to share, to express themselves. Then, accept them as they are. That’s what we are all craving. Afterward your days will be filled with meaning when your energy starts going out towards others, rather than in the “me, me me” direction all the time. Meaning does not come from satisfying little me. It comes from knowing your life matters and from others who are touched and moved emotionally by your presence.

8) Surround yourself with people who are motivated and meaningful to you.
The biggest influence on your day-to-day life are the five people you spend the most amount of time with! Who are your five? Start being conscious of who surrounds you. Are they optimists or complainers? Are they excited about life? Are they givers? Do they believe in you and want you to change or do they prefer you staying the same, just to make them feel comfortable? Have a plan of action. Write down what you want to focus on, share it with others so that they can encourage you and hold you to your new standard. This isn’t about accountability but about lovingly reminding you of what’s most important to you.

When we start moving away from the mundane and the conventional pull to acquire things toward life directions that you’ll love to take and are consciously choosing, meaning comes flooding in. Yes it means some decisions, some fear, some explaining to others perhaps. The time before a decision is much harder than the decision itself. So commit to a small goal, take something off your plate that isn’t working for you anymore, get excited about something else now, who you are becoming today not who you used to be. It’s amazing the progress you can observe day by day. When you are inspired by something, a job, a goal, a person, a way of living in the world, your spiritual beliefs, every area of your life benefits so it’s never selfish to start with you!

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Ariane de Bonvoisin on September 7th, 2010 in General, New Directions | 2 comments

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  • I LOVE this article! It is perfect for what I have been experiencing in my life the last few years. Thanks Ariane!

    — Added by Transformation on September 8th, 2010
  • Hello Ariane,

    Thanks very much for sharing your thoughts and running this great website.

    I found your book on the First 30 Days by accident at the Library and I find it full of great wisdom and motivation, as is your Web site. I have signed up for various subjects that interest me for 30 days and am pleased with what I have been provided.

    I’m not sure what I could do in a volunteer capacity, but would be interested in hearing more about it.

    Will definitely tell my friends about your efforts.

    Thanks again, keep up this great effort – Nandita Peebles

    — Added by NanditaPeebles on August 11th, 2011

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