October 27, 2014

How to live

We don’t talk so often, anymore, about ‘work/life balance’, and I’m glad of that.  To my mind it’s all just  life.  All of it – either I’m bringing my best self to it, feeling joyful and in flow, or struggling, either living my purpose or not.  Whether I’m at work or at home, or somewhere in between – it’s just life.  The balance doesn’t come from juggling the hours I spend on work related tasks with leisure with housework with sleep…. The balance comes, simply put, from within me.

Now - I’m extremely fortunate to be able to do ‘work’ that I love, and that fulfils my purpose, and that I would likely do in some form or another even without the requirement to earn an income.  I truly believe we should all look for that possibility in our lives – and that accomplishing this might not be as difficult as it sounds.  But that’s a topic for another conversation.  What I’m interested in exploring today is how to just live.  How to be in this glorious life we each have.  How to see and smell and hear and feel the joy that is available to us every minute of every day – in the office, on the building site, in an airplane… at home.  How to find our best place in every place, our best moment in every moment, and how to allow our best selves to emerge from there.  This is our real work.  Does it have to be hard work?

I was walking my dog this morning, and his excitement at the prospect of going outside with me reminded me of a conversation I’d had a number of years ago. The topic was how our best lessons can emerge from unlikely places, and our best teachers might not always initially appear as such.  I was imagining what lessons, if my dog was my teacher, he might want me to learn:

  • When someone walks into the room, greet them with joy and enthusiasm
  • Allow the experience of the wind in your hair to be ecstasy
  • Don’t bite if a little growl will do
  • Play every day
  • When you have the opportunity – lie on your back in the grass and wriggle!
  • Be loyal
  • Don’t pretend to be something you’re not
  • Take absolute delight in a long walk
  • If the thing you want is buried, dig until you find it
  • On hot days drink lots of water and find a shady tree
  • Take naps when you’re tired
  • When you’re happy, dance around and make sure EVERYONE knows it!

Imagine how different our lives (including at work) might be if we lived according to even some of these principles.  I wonder - how would these behaviours help you bring your best self to the surface?

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