Where Does Fulfillment Come From?

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A question was posed on Facebook by Jennifer Pastiloff in response to someone telling her the only way to have a fulfilling life is by having children. She then asked, do you have kids? If no or if so, are you leading a fulfilling life? Do you judge women who have chosen not to?

I found this whole concept thought provoking. For me, personally, I believe life is what you make of it. Will having kids or choosing not to have them guarantee a fulfilling life? I would have to say that any sane person would honestly have to answer no. I truly believe that we base our judgement of feeling fulfilled by the wrong things. Many people are defined by their job. Others are defined by the future super stars they are mentoring and raising. For me it’s a double edge sword. What about the parent that feels she has failed? What about the person who suddenly loses his job? When we are defined by any one thing, the mere loss or gain of it can change our entire self worth.

I have kids. Do I always feel fulfilled? Heck no, and there are times I feel like I traded my life for theirs. I love them and there are moments I feel so grateful or so proud that I cannot fight the tears that magically well up in my eyes. Then there are the days I look at my kids and wonder where in the world I could have gone so wrong. When someone is hurting and my kids lack compassion, I can’t help but wonder how I contributed to something so awful. The truth is, parenting is a major lifelong commitment. If someone’s dream is not to become a parent than I respect them for not bringing a child into the world that they do not want. We are not all cut out to be parents anymore than we are not all cut out to be surgeons.

Where does fulfillment come from then? Hopefully it comes from many things. I think fulfillment is a constant state of change. Somedays we feel full and other days, our souls feel so empty, we are filled with unimaginable pain. Those days you are feeling fulfilled you should bottle up for the days that fulfillment is not so much. Take the days as they come, the good the bad, the unexpected and do the best with what you have. Tomorrow is a new day and it arrives with a new set of circumstances. Our attitude however, we can control. So choose a good one and make the most of the gifts you are given. And don’t judge. Don’t ever judge. Wear your own shoes and tread your own path, and let others do the same.

Success based on anything but internal fulfillment is bound to be empty~Dr. Martha Friedman

Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want, but the realization of how much you already have~Unknown

What Are You Grateful For?

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I love November. I actively practice gratitude so of course this month with its focus on Thanksgiving, I dive into my practice a little more deeply. That is what this post is about, gratitude and I am counting on you to add to this list and keep it growing. Share it and see if we can start our own little movement of gratitude. If you are lucky enough, you will see your life start to shift in a new direction after some seasoned practice. You will truly start to see the good in everyone and everything around you. I promise.

Here’s my list:

Today I am grateful for cold days. I am grateful for hot cocoa and warm coats and the amazing amount of peace that goes hand in hand with the warm glow that comes from the fireplace. I am grateful for a season of gratitude and the start of holidays that bring friends and family together sharing life for just a moment in the same room. I am grateful for the thought of giving gifts and seeing smiles on the faces of people I love. I am grateful for any and all acts of kindness and they way they melt away the pain of even the most isolated heart. I am grateful for waking up pain free for the first time in a long time and enjoying movement for the first time in as long as I can remember. I am grateful for family moments at the end of the day when we snuggle in close around the fire. I am grateful for the hope and promise in every day and the chance to journey closer to the place we are meant to be. I am grateful for good friends and the smile a single memory can bring. I am grateful for blogging and the avenue it provides to let others see into my heart. I am grateful for all the wonderful things you are going to add to this list. Your turn. Go!

I Remember

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I remember the day vividly. With a heavy heart, 7 years ago I boarded the airplane with my family, the dog and the cat and said good-bye to my beloved Texas. I had spent 7 wonderful years there raising my babies, making memories, making friends, and then turned back to take one last look before my life was about to change in a very drastic way.

Why Texas some will ask? You weren’t born and raised there so why do you consider that your home? I just shrug my shoulders and smile to myself because whether anyone else gets it at all, when the heart knows, the heart just knows. Sometimes there is no specific explanation, it is just a feeling that makes your heart feel cradled in love.

We just stopped in for a 3 day visit. I realized while I was there that the last few years something has been missing. I knew the second we pulled into all the old places where we used to spend so much of our time that the healing had begun. It didn’t become evident to me until now that I had left a large portion of my heart behind. I have carried a sadness and a longing for the last few years and I just couldn’t figure out why. I guess a great big chunk of my heart stayed I’m Texas. No matter how hard I try I have been unsuccessful in making it whole again in the places we have lived. It’s not necessarily about the people, it is more about a lifestyle that the surroundings of a particular place provide.

They say once you return to a place it isn’t the same. I tell you this. As I traveled from park, to hiking trail, to scenic spots on the lake and river, it was just like the first time. My heart was filled and I feel whole. Even the kids put down their phones and let the kid inside them play. My heart burst open when they competed to see who could swing higher as they played in the park, and I watched with joy as they skipped rocks across the pond. We have been so entrenched in nothing because the area we live in just does not offer the things we love.

I say this, when the world gets ugly, go someplace you know there will be a better view. Find your happy place and be where your vision of the world is beautiful nearly every day. These are some of those places I have the best view. Come along with me and take a look.

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