To describe living well as an art form recognizes that each life lived as each person embraces the concepts of doing so will indeed be a work of art. Not one life will be the same, look the same on the outside; however, what will be the same when we choose to consciously live our lives, learning and habituating the skills that elevate the quality, will be the feeling of deep and abiding contentment as we experience our unique life journey.
So many titles of books, posts, episodes, and even films choose to include the word ‘art’ as to refer to the concept of learning the craft or skill they are teaching, and it is not by accident. The skills of whatever is being taught may be universal, and in fact, wise and necessary to acquire if it is something of value to you, but the application by the student will produce distinctively singular results.
The second half of the phrase that guides today’s post, living well, while simple in phrasing involves the inclusion of a vast breadth of arenas of our lives. From the ‘soft’ and vital skills of non-violent communication, mindfulness, and simple awareness, to the cultivation of an enriched environment both at home and work, as well as how we travel through our days and along our journey. Lest we not forget the more concrete meaning of well, to care for our bodies and mind well, and by tending well to all of these arenas, we bring ourselves back to true selves and discover our dharma and thus how we uniquely will construct and live our everyday lives.
To construct our days, tending to the tangible and sensory details as well as our mindset, unequivocally determines whether our lives exhibit our unique form of art or reveal a naivety about the potential for our lives. And only you will know with certainty which is lived because only you will know whether you feel a deep contentedness or anything but.
The fundamental skills of the art of living well first involve letting go in order to unburden our days and thus our lives of what we have unknowingly been putting in the way in the form of roadblocks that when removed will set us free to experience with the help of skills we choose to learn how deeply fulfilling and yes, contented life, can feel every single day.
- Comparing and Competing
- Blaming (scroll to #8 in this episode/post)
- Judging (this includes having an opinion about everything outside of your life choices; in other words outside of your direct control)
Begin by letting go of these three often habituated practices, and the lightness you will feel in your life will be unlike anything you have felt in the most wonderful of ways. You will free yourself to think and explore different and more constructive and creative thoughts and ideas, and your energy will soar enabling you to engage and follow through on the intentions you have for your life.
Being with these three fundamental bad default habits of our mind, and once you feel they have become habituated, you can begin to explore many other more specific and nuanced habits to let go of that will further improve the quality of your everydays.
- The daily practice of Presence
- Mindfulness (how to practice and the many benefits)
- Engage Life with Curiosity and Enthusiasm (how to practice and the many benefits)
Begin here. These three fundamental skills provide the fertile foundation for everything else you wish to welcome into your life. Without these three, contentment cannot be experienced because each of all of these three skills provide the windows and eventually the open doors for you to find what will bring you contentment.
But wait! you say. If I follow these, letting go and welcoming, will all be well and obstacle and stress free? And while we’re talking, what will I discover to be my dharma and when will I discover it?
Ahhh, I appreciate and understand where these questions come from. I held and asked each myself for many years of myself and also to my mother and then my counselor, although I wasn’t using the term ‘dharma’ as I didn’t understand what that was, even though that is exactly what I was trying to figure out – what I could willing and with great passion give to the world that would contribute positively.
However, I do not have these answers for you. And that is why this is an art form, your life of discovery to cultivate a deep and abiding inner calm knowing how to engage with the world so that you both contribute to others while nourishing yourself equally.
The peace of mind you will find and experience arrives after letting go of and welcoming the habits and skills shared above, and as you will discover first-hand, it is then that you become quite okay with not knowing. Along this journey, you will realize that when you accept and understand that every single challenge you face along the way is providing you with a gift, your journey accelerates its pace to what you wish to finally discover (read this and this post on the importance of celebrating and embracing obstacles).
Gradually, and in the unique timing of each of our life journeys, the art form begins to materialize. It materializes first by how we feel, being at peace because we have courageously chosen to be our true selves and explore where our curiosity is guiding us, and then as was shared in this post/episode, the paradox of contentment comes into play as our outer world becomes to become more and more enriched and nourishing due to making the best choices for our life journey – small and grand decisions, but each significant contributions that bring out the change that will bring to life the art that will be uniquely ours to live.
Over the past fourteen years, here on TSLL, I have shared the discoveries and journey of moving through this journey of cultivating a life of true contentment. This does not mean your road to contentment will take 14 years. No, no. As shared above, each of our journey’s length and contents and discoveries will be unique to each of us. And the exciting news that I have to share with you is that I want to make sure you can live such a life, a deeply contented life, reveling in your everydays having discovered your dharma in far less time than it took me, which is why coming this June (2024) I will be offering TSLL’s premiere online video course – The Contentment Master Class.
You can learn more about this course and what it will entail by clicking on “Learn More About This Course” on the Courses page under Contentment Master Class as I created a page to answer the most FAQs. More information will be coming as June nears. And I am thrilled to be able to compile and organize all that I have learned over the many years putting the content into a linear curriculum that is simple to follow with comprehension checks as you begin to apply it in your own life as I utilize my teaching skills after having taught high school Language Arts for 20 years to bring this course to TSLL readers.
Thank you for stopping by today and wishing you a wonderful start to this brand new week.