Three months before I married, my mother called together 40 of the wisest women we know to help me prepare for my impending nuptials. We spent a weekend in the Ozarks talking about everything – love, sex, commitment, change, intimacy, betrayal, forgiveness, children… The depth and breadth of our discussions were amazing, but the one that stood out for me the most was our conversation about magic versus management. My sister sages counseled that life’s rigors could overwhelm my new love and crowd out the delight that had brought my fiancé and I together. At the time, I didn’t really understand the extent to which grueling schedules, weighty commitments and challenging circumstances could suck the juice right out of life.
Well, years have since gone by and I am now too familiar with the “daily grind.” Between work and home, I feel like a whirling dervish on my most relaxed days. Yet, all of this busy-ness has not brought me greater joy. My mile long “to do” lists are missing bullets that say, “experience miracles,” and “focus on fulfillment.”
The good news is that I created my life’s frenzy and I have the power to moderate it. No, I’m not planning to abandon my family or close my business. But, I am choosing to share my life’s most precious resources – my presence, attention and time differently. You see, the sources of joy in my life have all too often gone neglected because of some more pressing need or responsibility. Well, I’ve begun changing this pattern and am choosing to feed more of that which feeds me.
It turns out that the more attention I give to the relationships and activities that nourish me – the people and causes that really matter – the higher quality energy I have to give to everything else. My grandmother’s old savings tip comes to mind, “pay yourself first!” Doing this is one of the most effective ways of getting the happiness and fulfillment that I crave, though it requires a significant shift in my priorities.
Feeding the people and work of my heart is essential to developing a more meaningful life. It also helps to mitigate daily stresses. Life’s challenges don’t magically disappear, but I am more aware of and open to the supports that surround me. And these supports, when properly valued, can help me to experience a more resilient, contented life.