If you are paying attention, you will sometimes get complementary messages from unrelated sources. This happened to me last week, and now that I've ruminated on it a while, I want to share it with you.
The first message came from a session with a client. One of the goals this client is working on is scheduling time to write and being accountable to that time. Writing brings her great joy; it allows her to create worlds and explore her more imaginative side (she's also really good at it). Finding time for it is challenging, however. She has a demanding, high-profile job, a husband and two children, a desire to stay active and fit, as well as a handful of other familial and social commitments. But writing makes her happy. And one truth I've learned from my life-coach training and personal experience: Happy people are more productive, more present, and more fun to be around. My client realizes this, and is trying to align her calendar accordingly. In our session, she said something that struck me: "We can't help what makes us happy, right?" So simple. So true. But that was the first time anyone had ever vocalized that truth, and it keeps popping up in my mind.
A couple days later, my husband's aunt (who I have taken on as my own because she is so amazing) sent me a link to a video she took while on a retreat in Scotland. She was captured by the soothing words and lyrics of the Taize prayers, and her friend at the retreat allowed her to capture a couple on video. Take a moment to watch this one:
The words are from a Sufi couplet by Rumi, the 13th-Century Persian poet. Here's the phrase I can't (and don't want to) shake: "Let the beauty you love be what you do." How wonderful is that?!? What if we all just filled our lives with what we love, what we find beautiful, what makes us happy? After hearing this, I quickly circled back to my client's powerful quote: "We can't help what makes us happy, right?" No. We can't. We can't help what makes us happy or what we think is beautiful. So what then?
We need to find more time to do what we love, to do what makes us happy. But how do we do this? In a world full of obligations and distractions, how do we hold sacred that which brings us the most joy? Here are a few ideas, some of which I must attribute to my fabulous client in the story above: