I have been learning my whole life. Each of us has. And I have learned to be a conscious learner, doing it because I love to learn and grow, choosing it, for much of my adult life.
Do you know what I’ve discovered? I learn more, I retain more knowledge, I find more fulfillment … when I’m learning about something I LOVE.
I recall the school days and how we were put in buildings, in small classrooms, in desks, given books, and asked to read those, write assignments and then somehow know all the things.
I have 7 kids, I’m 38 years old … I know enough to know that that is not the best way to teach for each individual’s best learning experience and really not the way most people optimally learn.
Learning comes through doing. Learning comes through following a fire within you and seeing where it takes you. REAL learning comes when you are INSPIRED!
Have you ever really watched a toddler? I’ve had quite a few experiences to do just that, and it’s fascinating! They LOVE to explore and to climb and to see what each thing does … they get their hands on whatever they can and turn it over and around and look at it and study it and use it. They love to move their bodies and to run and to explore and they look at the world with WIDE eyes and a desire to learn every possible thing that comes before them. And if they fail at something? They pick themselves up and just try again, and again, and again. They smile a lot. They laugh and have fun. They also scream their heads off frequently too. But they are FULL of life! They are FULL of desire to GROW!
Life gives us patterns if we have eyes to see them.
I look at all of this and then see how it can and does apply to my life, and here’s what it tells me …
Life is meant to be experienced. Each of us is MEANT to follow the passion and fire in our hearts and to use that as a GAUGE guiding us to what we should be doing. Like the fire that comes through learning something you love … life can be and should be that same way. Doing the things you love is the whole point.
It would be a sad existence to reach the age of 99 and realize you hadn’t DONE anything but sat at a job you didn’t love, and then retired to read a bunch of books and never used any of that fire and knowledge and life within you for SOMETHING beautiful and worthwhile and joyful! ( I realize I’m making a broad generalization here … not all older, retired people are like that. I’m just making a point. 🙂 NOT saying all are like that!)
If there isn’t joy in your life, then the gauge within you is telling you that you are missing out on something … that your focus is slightly skewed … that you need to make some changes. Don’t see it as a negative … it’s AMAZING that you can have a gauge within you guiding you to expansion of joy!! But don’t ignore it … USE IT!
Look at the example of children and how full of fire for life they are … and then find that fire in your life for whatever fills you with wonder, awe, and joy. Desire to learn, experience things you love, help others find their joy and their fire … and don’t. ever. stop.
This is the purpose of life … not to sit and read books in a building until you are 99 … but to EXPERIENCE life, fire, love, unity with others, beautiful service, and JOY!
I was lying in bed this morning at 5:00 am after my alarm went off and thought about all of the things on my “list” for the day. And I felt a little stressed and anxious at getting them all done. And so as I thought about it, I realized that if I’m just doing, doing, doing and never really focused on the joy, what’s the point? What’s the point of doing a bunch of things to try to “create balance” if I focus so much on the THINGS I’m doing and not just on the beauty of life.
And as I pondered on that, a little inspiration came and it said “SIMPLIFY.”
Instead of focusing on doing and lists and things … focus on loving and feeling joy and the people around me. I could spend my whole life, until I’m 99, being so focused on the check boxes on the lists of the things I’m “supposed” to be doing, but if I do that I will miss the point of life completely.
The lists are there to be an EXAMPLE of what a balanced happy joyful life LOOKS like. They are NOT there to be your life. When we make “idols” of the lists, we fail to see that the list isn’t the thing … the thing is the life we’re living and the joy and growth that comes through our experiences.
Life is about expanding ourselves. It’s about learning, growing, and progressing. I believe it’s also about coming to know God. However you use that word, whatever it means to you, you get to decide that, but for me it’s about knowing the source of my existence and that energy that created my being. That energy is love. That energy is light. That energy is joy. And so for ME … expanding THAT aspect of my being is the point of life.
What fills me with fire is to follow the gauge within me that guides me to greater love, greater light and greater joy. PEACE follows when I go the way of expanding potential. Everything that isn’t peace (fear, doubt, insecurity, etc. All the stuff that doesn’t expand my being.) follows when I don’t. And so my only “work” then is to follow God … and for me that means following the peace.
I look at my kids and the patterns I see there, to help me see the best way to look at learning and growth. And that is to experience, and to have a fire within me and to follow it, to never give up and to keep trying new things, to smile a lot, to LOVE the life that is before me and stop worrying about all the stuff that isn’t here right now. I can’t do anything about that stuff. I can do now though … and so I simplify and focus on NOW.
And when I do that, when I let go of the list and realize the list is just a thing to show me that I should be focused on what’s happening right in front of my face, the peace comes. And the peace tells me that I am on the right track. It’s my gauge and I see it, I know it, and I use it to propel me forward into more of the stuff that brings that peace.
Learn to simplify. Just love life and you will find that there will be things that are so obviously FOR you it won’t be hard, it’ll just be easy and light and joyful. The hard and work and stress comes when we fight against the flow of life and the gauge within us trying to get us to stop it with the lists and just focus on now.
And so I am going to simplify and focus on what’s before me. Today that is some writing, my kids, my home, and the birds and trees outside my window. And this day is going to be beautiful and I know the peace I have come to appreciate surrounds me because of the simple focus of … joy for life.
Make JOY your focus.
(honor this moment.)