“And what did you learn, Barb?”
I went to see my naturopath the other day, to discuss test results and come up with a plan to quell this inflammation. As part of the discussion, she asked about my mood, which has been surprisingly good, all things considered. At some point I said that this year has been a real learning experience for me.
And what I’ve learned, what I am learning, what I return to again and again, is that none of us has to earn our place on this earth.
That is a really hard lesson for a woman of a certain age who was raised Catholic and is a habitual people-pleaser. Even after saying it over and over again on this blog and in conversation with friends and to my nieces and nephews, I still believe that, maybe you guys are OK just being, but I have to earn my place.
It comes back to contentment, doesn’t it? To realizing that we’re here and being grateful for that and then just leaving well enough alone. And by being grateful, I don’t mean in a Gratitude Journal, make your life better by practising gratitude every day kind of way. I just mean realizing that your life is a gift and being glad of it.
We talk about life being a gift, but we don’t actually treat it that way, do we? Something to be enjoyed and played with and allowed to unfold in its own way? That’s not an approach that’s much encouraged in this society. We’re told to grab it, wrestle it to the ground and make it reveal our purpose to us. Because a life without purpose….
This year has revealed to me that my purpose, our purpose is to be here. To live. To breathe in and out and do the other things that living beings do.
If we want to pursue an art form, build a career or help the other beings on this earth, that’s lovely. That’s part of the gift that comes with being given a life. But it’s not strictly necessary. We can live and be content with being alive. It’s not a crime.
As always with these big ideas, I’m in the middle of figuring it out. I suspect I will stay in the middle of it until I die and that’s kind of exciting. Stuff to figure out! Ideas to play with! Maybe that’s my purpose!! 🙂
That said, I’m going to take a bit of time off for Christmas. Next week is going to be a busy one at the bakery, so I’m going to save my strength for helping out there when I can. While I’m away, I’d like to direct you to an oldie but goodie. Read as needed. Or perhaps you’d prefer to watch the video.
I hope you have a lovely holiday season, howver you choose to celebrate it. We’ll meet back here in January. Thank you for being with me on this journey this past year. Your kind words and encouragement have helped me more than you will ever know.
Sometimes I get the feeling that these thoughts rarely cross other people’s minds. Apparently I am wrong. Maybe that’s why philosophy was so important to me. For me, I landed somewhere near Albert Camus and was content there, perhaps some day this will change. I’m proud of you for speaking honestly about your thoughts. Few people acknowledge them… or at least avoid them for a long time. For me, considering the meaning of life required acknowledging the feelings that I had about the purpose and meaning of life (I believe Kant argued that these beginnings in our mind were intuitions), and being OK with it logically, somewhere in my mind. Being willing to give myself permission to feel they way I did about what I thought the meaning of life was/is, and then accepting that others may not feel the same but that I could accept that feeling and thought for myself. My parents has a lot to do with it. And I am grateful today that they always allowed us to argue so fervently as kids. Keep writing Aunt Barb, you are an inspiration!
Thanks so much, Elizabeth. I’ll keep writing and I hope you keep sharing your thoughts!