Fulfillment / Mind

Living a Life of Reflection

Have you ever sleepwalked?

I imagine it feels rather like walking on clouds, except that you’re not in charge of your feet. Much like autopilot, only far creepier, and with the occasional incomprehensible muttering. Personally, I dislike sleepwalking. I’m not a sleepwalker myself, but I know a few people, and walking aimlessly in the middle of the night without purpose or thought is not in my list of “Top Ten Habits of a Healthy Lifestyle”.

Funny thing is, most everyone is a sleepwalker, metaphorically speaking.

(You know we’re going deep now because I’ve pulled out the “metaphor” card, hello Augustus Waters.)

Too often, we find ourselves going through the motions, working towards the next paycheck, next promotion, next great opportunity or big idea. We’re working towards a new house, new car, new (or relatively new, at least) iPhone, or new image. Like mindless sleepwalkers stepping through a memorized path of arranged furniture in the comfort of our figurative houses, we work. The world dictates that we want this, we like that, we need a great image, great friends, great vacation albums to post on our Facebooks, and so, we work for all these things.

But, ten, twenty, fifty years from now, will it all matter?

If you worked for your career, but you forgot your passion, would it matter? If you worked hard for your mansion, but you forgot your children, would it matter? If you worked to reach the top of the corporate ladder, but are at a constant low in your anger management skills or your integrity, does it really matter at all?

What makes life worth living to you?

If you find yourself spending a healthy amount of time answering that question, that is a life of reflection.

A life of reflection is not about soaking in Aristotle’s theories on politics, or building a veritable library of intelligence and showing off your mental muscles. It’s about knowing full well where each of your steps would land, why you take the direction that you do, as you walk through life.

Like a good engine needs time for maintenance, taking regular time out to consider where we are and where we’re going would helps us keep on, in the right direction. 

Try this: take thirty minutes to reflect on the following questions:

1.    —  On what things do I spend my time, energy, and money? Ex: Do I spend more time figuring out what to wear, than how to be a kinder person? What underlying principles do these “spending habits” show? {If you find yourself not being able to answer the latter question, consider your “engine check” light on. Perhaps it’s time for an oil change and value recalibration. What’s important to you, and why?}

2.     — How do I treat the relationships in my life? How do I value beloved people? Do my actions show my love for others, or my “love” for myself? {Oftentimes, we’re selfish because we’re not “okay”, in the deep, personal sense of the word. Subconsciously believing that we’re not valuable keeps us from finding joy in valuing others. If you’ve got everything you need to live, you are blessed. Believe that, make others believe that, and you’ll be happy.}

3.     — Do I have peace? Am I moving forward in the right direction? Am I pursuing the right things, using the right ideas, with the right frame of mind? What legacy am I leaving on this earth? {“Whoa, let’s dive into the deep end, why don’t we.” Before you accuse me of turning this into a philosophy class, really consider these questions. We cannot move forward, after all, if we don’t even know where we are, or where we’re going. Let’s be kind and tell ourselves the truth.}

Sometimes, in order for the puzzle of our lives to get to the next step, we need to identify the right piece. And we can’t do that if we don’t at least dedicate some time looking at the bigger picture. A life of reflection will do just that, and with each step, we’re closer to forming the puzzle of a healthy, loving, and fruitful life.

About the Contributor

Kathryn Cartera is a Brew Your Best Year editor. A writing enthusiast and a collector of created works, she likes late-night coffee runs and random vacations with inspiring people. She is also highly attracted to food. In her spare time, she enjoys playing the piano, learning everything, and discovering meaning in the simplest things.

See all of Kathryn Cartera's posts →

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