What makes a life?
For me, life is made of moments.
If I look at my life, I see moments, like a string of pearls gleaming in the light. Memorable moments – not just big events like weddings, births, travels or transitions, but also small moments in my day-to-day life, when I really felt, ‘This is life.’
I remember lying on our family bed as my husband and baby slept next to me. I remember doing the laundry while caring for my baby. I remember going to the library with my two sons. I remember being a child myself, playing at childcare and at school. I remember being a grad student, eating lunch on the lawn with friends. I remember my rides to school when my father taught me to know the trees. I remember the times in parks, by the lake, under the trees. I remember looking at the sunlight through my window, watching the dust dance in the light. I remember the warmth of my husband’s embrace. I remember smiles and laughter. I remember playing cards as a family of four, as well as with my aunts, uncles and cousins. I remember sitting on my bed writing, typing on my favorite wooden table…
Which moments come alive for you?
I feel blessed with a good life. It amazes me that the moments that come to life for me are beautiful for their utter simplicity. Nothing fancy. Nothing from my CV. I am most alive in those times and spaces when I allow myself time to simply be, to savor my life. Family, nature, and solitude help me feel most alive, most at home with my self. What helps you?
What about work? So much of our lives is dedicated to work and ‘getting things done’. Work provides a living and a sense of satisfaction. Is it possible to savor life at work in the same way? I love teaching, seeing patients. I love taking part in building learning environments, running workshops, reading, writing. I am doing what I love. Yet it still feels rushed, complicated, hectic. Full of ‘to do lists’ and targets. I am not ‘fully alive’ to the same extent. Are you?
I feel an aspiration towards greater wholeness. I feel a growing sense of mindfulness. I aim to make work ‘work’ for me. I feel hope and anticipation. I believe this is within reach. I can feel alive throughout my life. I can savor each moment every step of the way. To feel a deep sense of meaning in relating with my students, my patients, my colleagues, the people at work. To treasure the simplicity of life.
Yes, things are sometimes messy and complicated in life, at home as well as at work. We are sometimes in a hurry and things do not always go as planned. Yet there is a deep running simplicity in the very fiber of life, in every in-breath and out-breath. I feel a coming together of doing and being. I am learning to be what I do and do who I am. I am learning to make my work come alive.
I feel a resurrection. A transcendent dimension to my life, to my work. There is something greater at work, in play. There is this strong undercurrent, a force of life breaking through all the dead wood, the parts that are simply there without fully existing.
Life is a string of pearls. I am diving for new ones every single day. I want to want to work, to look forward to doing the things I do, to not take things for granted. I am resurrecting myself from being burried alive under my own workload to owning my work, my life. Living it. I am diving into my work with gusto. This is who I am. I am a wife, mother, psychiatrist, lecturer, educator. I am who I am, who I am meant to be. Fully me. Every moment, every step of the way.
This is life.