When my partner and I ventured out to a local café to start our 2016 planning process. We started with a review, going through our diaries and noting the events of the year and what we’d achieved. There was some remembering and realisation but much more powerful was opening the jar where we had written small notes capturing moments during the year. We had done this individually and were now reading each other’s for the first time. Moments of closeness, connection and celebration were re-lived. Even through our jar was heavily skewed towards the beginning of the year when it was in our minds, this was a wonderful practice. We’ve decided to continue and invested in a bigger jar!
Last week we celebrated ‘Dad and Grandad Day’. My Dad and my mother’s father both had the same birthday and it’s the day we’ve chosen to remember their lives. We went to a local pub (sadly not the same pub they visited as it has been converted to a home for the elderly.) We noted how content Dad was with his life and how he didn’t appear to have the striving we all seem to live with. And then we recalled moments, things that touched us, funny stories.
Do achievements make for better moments? I believe feeling good about ourselves makes us more resourceful for connecting with others and our environment. When we’re distracted by what we can get from a situation or what we should be doing, we simply can’t be present in the moment. On the other hand, when we’ve been on an emotional and learning journey to achieve something, the moment of arrival is very rich.
It is useful to distinguish here between goals inspired by love and those driven by fear. One the one hand, you can have a goal that’s important to you, that you feel enhances your life and who you are, that you work hard towards achieving. On the whole, you enjoy the process and there are many moments along the way, including when celebrating its achievement. On the other hand a feeling that something is lacking can mean you strive to get that or to avoid something you fear. Generally this isn’t such an enjoyable process and, once a level of achievement is gained, it is likely it doesn’t satisfy the feeling of lack and there’s still another level of striving to endure. With this type of goal, we would be better served to face our feelings of lack and fear. This will enable us to enjoy more moments- more joy, more connection, more love.