21st February, 2014
A few weeks ago a good friend of mine suggested that I should read The Desire Map, by Danielle LaPorte. So I jumped on Amazon.com to check it out and ended up on Danielle’s website listening to a ‘sneak peak’ of her book. The Desire Map is an approach to planning your life using your core desired feelings as a driver to achieve your goals. Of course her work is so much more advanced than my own, but I was amazed to find my own feelings about our goals being driven by the strength of our passion being echoed in her words.
So, I bought the book and the CD to listen to in the car. Just a heads up, Danielle has one ‘hot mamma’ voice! I think I listened to the CD twice before I actually heard her words! Anyway, before doing any goal setting, or working through your core desired feelings, Danielle talks about identifying what you already have in your life. Who are you already? What are you grateful for and why? It’s an interesting thing to consider. Particularly when we invest so much time setting goals, striving to achieve the next big thing, or purchase the next ‘must have’ item on our bucket list. We are often left with a never ending, exhausting ‘to do’ list. We no sooner achieve that raise, or buy that car, and it’s replaced with another goal. I hadn’t considered that I may be approaching my life from the wrong angle. It seemed I was coming from a place of emptiness; a perpetual void that screamed to be fed. A hungry ghost.
The Buddhist’s believe the hungry ghost is not fully capable of living and appreciating what the moment has to offer. They are ever seeking to be fulfilled like an insatiable addict, never realising what they already have.
So today, as I sat in a crowded public hospital waiting room, waiting to see a specialist, I considered what I already have. It seemed as good a time as any, and far more preferable than feeling anxious and sorry for myself.
I pulled out my journal and wrote down the following:
I get to spend my life with a man who is beautiful, gentle and romantic. Every morning he tells me I am his beautiful girl, and how lucky he is to have me in his life and I feel loved and cherished. I have four crazy, determined, creative and talented sons and an equally determined and amazing daughter in law. I love that I am a part of their adult lives and that no matter what, we stick together, we fight for each other and we love each other to bits. I am blessed beyond belief with my grandson. A day singing lullabies and eating mashed banana feels like heaven on a stick and never fails to remind me of all the goodness and beauty in the world as he snuggles into my arms to sleep.
Every day I get to go to work in a sector that supports young people. Some days are heartbreaking, but I work with a vibrant team of people that I absolutely love, who are just as passionate as I am about making a difference in young peoples lives. I am also surrounded by some amazing and beautiful friends who are always there for a dance or a glass of wine…or with chocolate, or a care package…or at the other end of a midnight phone call when I need them.
And what about me?
As a human being?
Well I am lucky enough to have grown up in a part of the world where most of my needs are met. I am smart and creative. Sometimes I am cheeky. I get to ‘play’. A lot. I come with a small truck load of professional and personal skills, all based on the simple fact that I grew up in a country where girls are educated, university is affordable, healthcare is free, and wars have never been fought in my backyard.
The truth is, that in this world, I am one of the fortunate ones.
Which made me laugh at my hungry ghost. Right there in the hospital waiting room. My screaming hungry ghost was wrong it seemed. I wasn’t empty, needing to be filled. I wasn’t lacking. I wasn’t poor. I was rich. It seemed that I am already living a very full and abundant life.
When you start from a place of strength and gratefulness for what already exists, you approach your life and your plans from a very different place. Instead of crying for your empty void to be filled, you look for opportunities to add, to strengthen. You also shift from being a victim in your life, to being a creator of your life. You step up into a position of strength and purpose.
So what do you already have in your life that your hungry ghost prevents you from seeing and being grateful for?
“I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. It is surprising how contented one can be with nothing definite – only a sense of existence. Well, anything for variety. I am ready to try this for the next ten thousand years, and exhaust it. How sweet to think of! my extremities well charred, and my intellectual part too, so that there is no danger of worm or rot for a long while. My breath is sweet to me. O how I laugh when I think of my vague indefinite riches. No run on my bank can drain it, for my wealth is not possession but enjoyment.”