So, today's post is crytically dedicated to the equally cryptical "other means" arrow from my beloved Fulfillment-Consumption curve:
|See the little arrow up from the comfort zone?|
The easy message from this diagram is: You can consume as much as you want, it won't take you any further in your feeling of fulfillment.
The difficult message is: but "other means" will.
So what IS this "other means" about??
Answering this is very personal and very individual. We are all different, we love different things, we do even the "same" things differently.
The first question is: What is fulfillment? Simple 3 word question, that has been tried to answer for thousands of years from philosophers. So don't expect me to give you an easy answer. :) I think the most common answer to "what do you want in life" would boils down to "I want to be happy". I personally prefer the word "content" because "happy" seems just too perfect and "all smiles" to me, whereas with the word "content" I am acknowledging certain flaws and imperfections that exist in my life, but don't destroy the general feeling of contentment. But whatever term feels comfortable for you is fine for me. :) Whether you feel you have a happy, or fulfilled life or a have a feeling of contentment regarding your life now- important is the positive feeling towards it.
The second question is: How do I reach fulfillment?
Obviously the diagram is using a short cut. I love this. "Other means". So down to earth yet so vast in its possibilities. And of course the two questions are linked. I've read and searched a lot (online, in conversations with people, in the library...) and the answer is: There is not "ONE" answer for everybody. For my personal life there is only my personal answer.
I believe, that the key to answering the above questions is to understand who I am, what I love, what I need in life. And also to understand what I will never be (or don't want to be), what I don't want in my life. I find it takes a lot of effort to be very honest and truthful with yourself. But it is also very rewarding.
When I was thinking about consuming and emotions I was mentionning a "void" in my life that I filled with stuff. I hadn't found my balance within myself, my way. I didn't feel I had found the right way, the right rhythm in life, my purpose seemed rather vague. (I think part of life is that you are always on that way, which is a pleasant thing, I like the thought of travelling. A static or frozen state of mind and life seems rather frightening to me).
So, what changed in my life? I found love. I found love with my husband, I experience love as a mother. I find love in friendships. And I experience the feeling of being appreciated in a community. I think humans are not made to be alone, we need others. Maybe not all of the time around us (I need quietness around me very much sometimes), but I genuinely believe in love and that it is possible to find it. Just not maybe quite where and how you expect it. We need people in our lives. We need people in our lives that are good for us, that bring us positive feelings. I would like to emphasize that.
I personally need sports and being outside. Sounds trivial, I know. But I found I really need it for my inner balance. (I am not the only one how believes so, you can find tons of stuff on the net). In fact, there is even evidence, that exercise helps efficiently against depression. I love jogging. And I have to admit, I used to hate running. Yes, totally hated it. Because whenever I started running I completely failed and felt really horrible And then, my ingenious husband suggested this NHS Couch to 5 K Program (podcasts) which is brilliant and ever since then I am running (ok, I do have breaks, but I always get back into it easily with the podcasts, which brings me back on track for 3 runs a week). I also do Yoga every week, I have a DVD (Ursula Karven "Yoga Everyday", no, I don't get any money for mentionning this, I just really like the program) and that's best for me with my weird work hours and two children. I also LOVE climbing and used to climb quite a bit before the children, but with the pregnancies I stopped (belly got too big...I did try until I was 7-8months round, but it got to difficult and possibly risky) and I am waiting now until the children are big enough to go climbing outside.Oh, and walking, we are walking a lot. :) Nature, forests, trees, skies, the sea ... it's just wonderful to breathe fresh air while you go for a walk. Or run. :)
I like doing creative stuff. I don't always do the same things, but I am alwas doing something artsy and cratsy. I am sewing. I am sometimes knitting or crocheting. I have the plan to go to an oilcolour painting course because I desperately want to learn that. I also love going to museums ( I love the Fondation Beyeler, they have brilliant exhibitions!). Music is an important part in my life. I play the piano (I enjoy Satie and Einaudi at the moment). I have an electrical piano (25 years old and still going!) so I can use headphones and play in the evening when the children are asleep, otherwise the piano is hijacked... I also love dancing (which is a combination of creative and sports, I'd say). When I was a teenager and young adult I did a lot of dancing (couple dance), it is now changed to a less perfect but still very fun "hopping around with the children" version. We mostly dance Salsa now. I don't always do everything with the same intensity depending on what is going on in my life, but some of this is always there.
And I am very lucky to have a job that I like. I work weird hours, but that also means I sometimes get a day off during the week which is great. I find my job purposeful and it offers challenges, which I find important.
Have you got something that really fulfils your life? Would you like to share it with us?
Further reading (just a little bit)