Living Honestly, Living with Positivity

Living Honestly
Living in relationship with others helps us to live (if we allow it) more honestly and humbly. Other people reflect back to us aspects of ourselves we might not have realized before. By seeing that reflection, it helps me to examine and reflect on how I might be perceived by others. Being in a long-term relationship, for example has shown me so many things about myself I had never noticed before. Some of them silly or trivial – I had never realized, for example, how my cooking can sometimes resemble the swedish chef, or the fact that constantly tripping over things or dropping things is not actually normal for the average person (the struggle is real). But there are serious things I’ve learned as well. Like how I can no longer run away from my cranky self, my bad moods, and pretend that they don’t exist. I have to face them head on and learn how to ask for support, time by myself, or just a nice big hug. I have learned that my positivity or negativity can affect how others see me. I have learned much about myself through the eyes of others.

Living with Positivity
With that said, this Lent I have decided to adjust my attitude towards a more positive one. It doesn’t mean I hope to be happy dappy and chipper everyday. It simply means that even on tough days I am trying to not dwell on things I cannot control and to put a positive spin on the situation.

I realized this morning that in order for me to cultivate a truly positive spirit, I must first recognize and show gratitude for the many blessings in my life that bring joy, and I must also better learn the Ignatian spiritual practice of detachment. If I can get those two things down, I will make it.

Detachment, despite the awkward soundingness (almost like cold and calculated) of the word, actually just means that one refuses to attach oneself to any object, person, idea, etc. as their ultimate means of happiness. Things happen in life. One minute you’re running happily through the neighborhood, the next thing you know, your phone slaps on the cement sidewalk. Shattered screen (yes, this did actually happen to me this weekend). A person who practices detachment would be able to accept that physical objects come and go and that happiness does not come from phones. Instead, our happiness is rooted in our faith and relationship with God. Detachment sets you free, allowing you to pass through life unafraid of what might happen, what might break, what you might lose and accept that all things pass away. But no one can take away your attitude in life, or your love for God.

Maintaining positivity starts with being grateful for all the things in life I have been given and, really, how wonderful they are. Friendships, warm beds, the ability to go to college, living in eternal sunshine, food in the refrigerator, a refrigerator (I have gone without one before, it’s not easy), a loving boyfriend, a fun family, the list goes on. The more I can recognize what I already have, the more I can see how blessed my life is, and to not be impatient when I don’t get what I want right now. I can sit back and know that things will come together in time, and that even if they don’t, or if they come and then leave again, my happiness will not be dependent on any of these things.

My dear friends, pray for me to cultivate a joyous spirit of positivity through Ignatian detachment and a grateful heart this Lenten season.

Yours truly,
a girl who dreams

 

How to Find Your Place in the World

find your place in the world
 
How to Find Your Place in the World
The year before I turned twenty-five, I experienced a “quarter-life crisis.” I had almost reached the ripe old age of a quarter of a century, and what had I done with my life? Nothing of significance I could recall. This can’t be right, I thought. I’ve wasted my life up until this point. Feeling absolutely lost in my twenties with little direction and sense of meaning, I began a search for my place in the world. Where did I belong? Why could I not find it? Why had everyone else found theirs?

I decided that I needed to finally “live life to the fullest” and stop pretending that my life was just in transition. My life was happening now, and I needed to find where I belonged. Then I could finally sit back and know I had achieved something.

In an effort to find my place in the world, a friend told me that the things that bring me the most joy, make me the most excited, and bring me passion were a clue to the path that I should pursue.

I took note of this and began to pay attention to the things that gave me a vision of joy, passion and excitement.

I started a blog as a way to chronicle the things I did each day and the joy that I experienced from them. I wanted to cultivate an appreciation for the little things in life; to pay attention to every blessing I was surrounded with. Throughout the year, I began to see how the most seemingly insignificant things brought me a sense of joy, and that happiness came from seeking life, not having it served on a silver platter.

“Happiness came from seeking life, not having it served on a silver platter.”

 
I found that what I was most attracted to was the connection I had formed with people in my life, the world we shared together, and the joy of experiencing life with a grateful heart.

Since then I continue to pay attention to what brings me joy, making the effort to understand my passions and how I am called to use those in the world.
 
If you want to find your place in the world, first ask yourself these four questions:

1. What brings you the most joy?

what brings you joy

2. What inspires and makes you the most passionate?

What inspires you- What makes you the most passionate

3. What brings your heart closer to God?

What brings your heart closer to God

4. And lastly, how can you use all those things together in your journey through life?

Your answers will be vastly different from everyone else. You may be called to live your life through a variety of ways. And don’t forget, your path will also change along the way too. Never be so set in life that you can’t see what new things lie awaiting just around the corner.

Here is the simple truth. Finding your place in the world is simply finding the path God is calling you to. But, understand that you will walk that path blindly. None of us ever really knows what our final place will be until we reach the end of that path. Until then, walking that path with faith and courage is what we are called to do. And long as we continue to say “yes” to God’s calling in our hearts, we will arrive in God’s timing. Perfect timing.

Perhaps this is not the answer that you seek. You might, like me, be impatient. You want to know your place now; you want to feel you have finally arrived. But life is never meant to be stagnant. We are capable of doing more than we ever imagine. Living life is about continually striving to be better than the day before, to grow in strength, courage, and learn to love like God loves. God gave us gifts so that we could use them, improve them, and learn new ones. God made us people with imaginations, a desire for exploration, and a thirst for adventure.

One of my most favorite prayers comes from Thomas Merton. I like it because it’s simple, honest, and shows our vulnerable side. But it also reminds us of how our faith and courage can take us far through life.

Thomas Merton’s Prayer:



My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. 

I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. 

Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. 

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you and I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing. 

And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road although I may know nothing about it. 

Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death, I will not fear, for you are ever with me and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

 
If you haven’t found your place in the world yet, don’t fret. God intended it to be so. We are all of us searching deeper to find belonging and fulfillment, and one day we will, in Him.
 
Yours truly,
a girl who dreams