Having gratitude for what we have is key. Sometimes there are things we want to bring into our lives. And if we set our mind to it and take actions and small steps towards these things, we often get what it is we are seeking. But sometimes, even though we got what we wanted, we forget to be grateful and we just look to the other things that are missing from our lives. And we feel unsatisfied with how things are, even though some things are really great. And what happens if we are always chasing the next thing or situation we desire but don’t appreciate what we have? What if we chase and chase after it until we die? What would happen if you got to your deathbed and realized that you were so consumed with what you didn’t have that you didn’t really appreciate and invest in the people, situations, and experiences that you loved and you DID have? I, for one, would feel full of regret, especially if after realizing I can change now and appreciate all that I have I still didn’t decide to do that.
I don’t mean to say that we shouldn’t be taking steps towards what we want, we absolutely should! In fact, a lot of what I write about is designed to help guide you to your ideal life. It is just that as we set goals and work towards them, and achieve them or aspects of them, we need to stop and appreciate what parts we have achieved so far, and also the things that are already right with our lives, what and who we already love. I’ll try to illustrate my point with my own story.
I want to live on a large property with some forested and some open areas. I want to raise a happy, healthy, supportive family with the love of my life. I also want to have great supportive relationships with my parents, brother, and other family members, as well as my friends. I want to be connected to nature, I want to be physically and emotionally healthy, and to be an active person. I want to grow and raise most of our future family’s food. I want to run a heart-centered business that allows me to share with the world my gift of art, my insights into living a happy, healthy, and meaningful life with others, and my knowledge of useful wilderness and self-sufficiency skills, in ways that are healthy for the earth, and spread joy and peace to my surroundings. I want to have enough money to support myself, my love, our future children, and my family and friends when they need help, or just for adventuring together. It’s been 4 years since I woke up and realized what I wanted for myself. And I’ve been working towards my dream life consistently ever since. I am still a long way off, many of these things I probably won’t fully accomplish for another 5 years. So I will keep taking steps and working toward my life vision, looking out 5 or more years ahead of now. But just because I have a gillion more steps to take between now and actualizing my whole dream doesn’t mean I can’t be grateful for what I have now, the parts of my life I am already lucky enough to have, and the parts of my dream I am already starting to realize. For example, I was determined 4 years ago that I was going to search for a loving relationship with the kind of person I wanted to share my life with. When I dated my previous boyfriend I let him go when I realized he wouldn’t ever be the kind of life partner I dreamed of. This opened up space for the love of my life to find me. I am so freaking grateful I get to wake up next to him everyday and spend our free time together going on adventures. We don’t have kids yet, but I am halfway to creating the family I dream of just by finding my love John. I don’t spend nearly the amount of time I want to with my family and friends. But I have begun taking steps to. I have met up with my dad recently for a hike one evening after work, and dinner another evening.
I went with my mom yesterday to a nearby garden, Summer’s Past Farms, to look at the flowers and enjoy some iced tea, and we have begun going for walks together some mornings. I take the time to enjoy conversation with my brother when we run into each other in the kitchen. (We all live together right now!). I am really grateful for these chances to connect with my family. I don’t live in a place where I am immersed in wilderness daily (though I do find there is more around me than one would think:)), but I did attend wilderness school last year and gained an amazing knowledge and new found connection with the natural world that I deeply desired, and am on my way to establishing an even greater relationship with it. I am completely filled with gratitude that I had the chance to have that completely life changing experience, one of the very best experiences of my life. I am not quite where I want to be with my physical health, but my emotional health is finally at a pretty good place, and I am getting healthier physically. I was regularly on antibiotics for years for chronic UTIs. I finally looked for alternative ways of dealing with the infections and it has now been over a year since the last time I took antibiotics. My UTI problems aren’t gone, but I have made some progress and discoveries. I weigh a few pounds more than I want to, but I have started a new routine of eating healthier and lighter and exercising almost every day and I have lost about 5 pounds so far. My bad knee still gets aggravated from time to time, but I have been able to hike and walk for much further distances than I could a year and a half ago. So my health isn’t perfect, but I am very grateful to be doing pretty well emotionally, and that my physical health is improving. I am also grateful that those are my only physical ailments and I am in pretty good health over all. I don’t grow most of John’s and my food yet, but I have 3 garden beds going and we have had a lot of food from the garden since I started it last October, and I have learned some things to make gardening more productive. I love my garden so much, I don’t know many things that are as fulfilling as to go down and tend it and and watch what I have created grow and change and produce things that nourish us. My business is just in the beginning stages, so I am currently relying on John and my parents to support me while I get it going, a fact that I I sometimes get down on myself about, I am not yet able to support myself and my family, and I don’t have a space yet to start the in-person classes I want to teach. However, I am finally able to work full-time on something I feel passionate about and believe in, and I am taking concrete steps every day to build it up. I have started a website with numerous articles designed to help others live the meaningful lives that they dream of, a facebook page, an Etsy shop, and am currently working on creating adult coloring books and aiming to get the first one out by the end of September. (Photos of in progress drawings).
I have ideas for a future children’s book that will contain a special and uplifting message for the readers, and for an ebook to help people turn their dreams into reality, and these I will likely create and release in 2017. I am so thankful for the opportunities I currently have that are allowing me to put all of my energy into work I love, and also for all of the small accomplishments I have made so far with it. There is so much more I still desire for my life. There really is. But I am so incredibly grateful for everyone and everything I have right now. This is the life. It is always growing and changing, just like a garden, and I love this moment in time.
What are your goals and aspirations for your life? What steps have you taken and what accomplishments have you already achieved towards your dreams that you are thankful for? What and who else in your life right now are you really grateful for?
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