The Purpose of this Blog is to help me Live my Life with greater Awareness and Direction.
In other words, to more fully Design the Life I'm Living.
I'm ready to get started.
One Canvas... One Life.
"The unexamined life is not worth living."
So what exactly makes a Full Life?
I know that Life looks different for everyone.
And if Everyone had the Life of their Dreams, this would still very much be the case.
But are their some Basics? Some things we all Desire in our Lives?
Assuming that there are, for a moment, this basic understanding would seem to be a great place for one to start Designing his/her Dream Life. From here, you would then be able to move on to a more specific and well-defined Picture of the Life you Desire, by asking questions like "How will I Uniquely Fulfill these basic Needs and Desires in My Life?" "What do I really Want my Life to look like / be about?"
For the past few years, I've found it helpful to think of this idea of a Full way of Life as involving Five main Themes.
And those Five Themes or Values, I will use this Blog to explore more fully or chisel in greater detail.
I'll also share why I believe them to be Universal.
These Five Themes Are:
We'll take a closer look at each one of these in the next few blog entries. And then get more specific... "get dirty in the details," so to speak.
Until then, keep the Dream alive.
"The first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: Decide what you want."
- Ben Stein, actor and author
Last entry, I introduced you to my Five Themes for a Full Life.
Now I want to share with you the fuller version of this Vision.
I've actually been sitting on it for a few years now. And it's time to make better use of it.
That's where this whole blog thing comes in.
The idea is to use this blog to work out the details.
Alright, so starting with the larger vision.
It goes like this:
A Way of Life worth Living and Sharing
Healthy as Living Life to the Full
Inspired by Life-Enriching Art and Wonderful Ideas
Free to Invest Time and Resources in What Truly Matters
Sharing the Journey with Family and Friends
Faith in a Larger Story and the Lover of Life
So there it is.
Next we'll unpack that a little fuller.
And finally we'll get down to the concrete and real life examples.
"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs are people who have come alive."
- Gil Bailie
So let's talk about these Five Themes.
What's the point of having them in the first place?
It's simply to help organize my thoughts of different important aspects of my life and the life I desire to live.
And as it is, these Five Themes actually break down into Three groups in my thinking.
First, there is the Freedom Theme.
I'll say more about this later, but for now, let's just say this area involves amongst other things, financial freedom, the relationship between time and money, and also some other considerations such as the importance of self-discipline and the relationship between putting oneself in an environment that best serves you in reaching your goals.
That's not primarily what I want to focus on with these blogs though.
I'm mainly interested in focusing on the other two groups.
The next one contains Three of the remaining Four Themes.
Health, Inspiration and Relationship.
Having the Freedom of Financial Independence is something everyone knows, go to job, get a good job, house, family, all that stuff. No reminders necessary.
Fulfilling the Health, Inspiration and Relational Human Needs in today's world (at least, in this society) will, in my estimation, live up to my expectation for a Full Life.
This group is where I want to focus in on first.
The final theme of Purpose, is about making a difference beyond one's immediate personal circle, having some life work, leaving a mark on the world, some larger purpose for your life.
That'll come later.
Next, I'm gonna look at "The Three" (Health, Inspiration and Relationship) and how I am currently fulling these Values in my Life and most importantly, other ways I will begin doing so.
Alright. It's time to dive into the details.
"God is in the details."
- Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
I'm gonna jump ahead here for a moment for something that's on subject, but a bit out of sequence for what I've been planning for this blog.
As mentioned, Faith is one of the five Themes I've identified for my Life Vision (for which mapping out and journeying toward in detail is the Purpose of TheCanvas*)
Sense what I'm doing here on this blog is mainly for my own personal growth and self-awareness, I'm gonna go ahead and skip to what I wanted to express here.
I'm not gonna get into my faith history and background or any of that. I'll just say I'm very "progressive" in my views.
I've moved beyond a lot of the faith I was raised on, only there is still a lot about it that resonates with me deeply. And I've wanted to know what those things are, what they mean to me, and by whatever means, for the things it has afforded in my life to still be a reality, not something I loose from my change in views.
The start is realizing what those things are.
Here's what I understand the value that my faith has offered me in the past and that I still desire for it or something to offer me moving forward.
A Larger Story
If you've ever walked out of a great movie and felt very in touch with yourself and felt like you had this sense of who you were and your strength and confidence and the part you wanted to play in life, even were made to play in life, you can appreciate this. My faith has in the past provided me with an explanation, a larger Story, in which all these smaller compelling stories, the movies I love, stories, books, etc. fit into making all of these films and stories a part of or reflection or metaphor for this actual true larger story that is the context for Reality and Life as we know it. A sense of a larger story and understanding of what life is about is a powerful thing and it also relates to the other things I'll mention below.
"The Romance of Life"
My faith of a Story of a Loving and Passionate God creating the World, Everything, and People as Expression of who he is and a means for us to Experience his Heart, a way of Connecting with him (like a heart-to-heart conversation with someone) has been an Amazing aspect of my life. When touched by a movie, feeling at peace, close with people i love, amazed by the beauty of nature, stirred by music, enjoying delicious food, a good nights rest, the satisfaction of a job well-done / an enjoyable task, to be able to experience these all as aspects of a Romantic relationship with an Invisible Romancer and Lover and... experiencing his being / his heart... also in the Story as a Strong / Beautiful (God being the source of all the masculine and feminine expressed in the world) Hero has been incredible.
Love, Authenticity and Purpose
God loves me. Created me to be exactly who I am (which isn't to say I can't grow or don't have flaws but...) deep down, the person I truly am, is a unique expression of him in human form, and there's a reason.
First, the way I connect with God and live life as I was meant, is first and foremost a question of Authenticity. God is after my heart. And when I'm real with myself, I'm being real with him and it's when I'm real with him, that I'm truly able to connect with him and experience his heart... his Spirit has, after all, taken up residence in that very place. And being Authenic and Real, I'm able to experience him most truly and deeply in all my experiences in life, through all those things I mentioned above: Beauty, Art, Nature, Intimacy with Others, Pleasure, Satisfaction, Rest, Peace, Love, Etc, Etc.
And this is all for a Purpose. What is it? God is a happy and fulfilled being, full of love and just like two lovers when they decide to have a child and invite this little one to take up residence within their union of love, the home they are building, God made us in his likeness to share his joyous and fulfilled life with us, because love and happiness are overflowing and naturally generous states of being. So that's why we're here. To share in his Life. And everything in life, as it's meant to be, is an experience of who he is, because it's all about him and as St. Iraneus said "God's glory is people fully alive."
And we also, in finding the lives we're made for, becoming more fully alive... and that's what I hope this blog to help me do in part... we will also be a source of inspiration and generosity to others, encouraging, and acting as sort of "living invitations" for them also to embrace a full and deeply meaningful experience of Life.
Imagine sharing the Journey of Life with other People also living within this simply banner of a larger story and meaning to Life. Is this what "The Church" could be?
Either way, People experience this life and with a camaraderie with friends and family whether conceiving of life and the world in these terms or not, at least, to some degree.
For me, I still see all these ideas as a part of what that looks like for me. But I'm willing to consider that that might relate to my personality being sentimental (INFP Myers-Briggs type, bytheway.)
What Organized Religion or Organized Christianity is about, and some of what the Bible seems to be about, are not things that I find helpful in living out the best of what I've found in this faith, which is what I'm listing here, and it's that which I find most helpful in me living my life authentically and fully that I'm most interested in and believe helps me to be the best person I can be.
Specifically, I found things like the conviction that I need to try and bring other people to embrace a worldview that holds the Bible to be 100% accurate and from God and embrace Jesus and a basic doctrine of the Gospel start "going to church" (church is not a place in the Bible, nor a weekly event or series of religious activities; what we often call "a service" or "sunday worship"... I could go on, but's a whole another topic, which I might get into at a future time), to be styfling to relating to people in a genuine way, in part because of this Agenda I felt that I needed to have all that time... like salesman, putting a tension on my interactions with others.
(That's how I found it styfling in my friendships and interactions with "non-Christians" and there's also the way that the "Institutional Church" is devised/organized, that I've found to be stylfing to facilitating authentic / relational community amongst "Christians" also.)
I resolved that (the Evangelism issue) quite some time ago (and more recently the Institutional Church vs. Authentic/Relational Community one more recently), but now I've even moved away from the idea of assuming that homosexuality is wrong in God's eyes knowing people of that persuasion that are just as good people as me, or as I've met, and seeing a lot more wisdom in building community and a larger vision for it in general on "the common ground" values that all people can agree on and not on things that divide good people or encourage them to judge or try and change others from being what their nature informs them to be.
I want to see other people being just as affirmed to be real and experience genuine connection and acceptance in their relationships, with the ability to be authentic and real, as I know I want for myself and makes all the difference in my own life.
Alright, enough on this topic.
I said my piece.
Above are the things about my faith, what my faith has offered me over the years, of which I never want to loose or let go.
As usually, click the picture below for a taste.
"I'm concerned with a way of looking at life, which was created in me by the fairy tales, but has sense been ratified by the mere facts."
- G.K. Chesterton