Vitality, Contribution, Dharma, Meditation
Its that time of year again when I start to get too much to do on my plate. Not only am I juggling work and my personal life, I am trying to get ready for Christmas and New Years and spend time with family. In addition I start to think about the past year and what I would like to create for the next year. I often find my self a little stressed out and not enough time for myself. I know I am not the only one!
I was reflecting on my busy schedule and my “to do list” while listening to a podcast by Gretchen Rubin. She was interviewing retired yoga teacher, entrepreneur, and author Jonathan Fields. He has a new book just published called “How to Live a Good Life”. In short through A LOT of research he has simplified the area of our life into three buckets: Connection, Vitality, Contribution.
The Vitality bucket is your mind and body and what you do or don’t do to feel complete in this area. The Connection bucket is about connecting and creating relationships with other people and how they can fill you up or deplete you. Last, the Contribution bucket is how you contribute to those around you, your community and the world. Everyone is going to fill or empty their buckets differently depending what works for them. The important thing is to have balance and feel full in each area.
But what really struck me about his research is what he said about the Contribution bucket and the Vitality bucket. In regards to the Contribution bucket, he said most people are aware what makes them feel good. Most people know what they are good at doing and have a good sense of their values and strengths. However, most people are not aligned in their work or their path. We are not doing work that is meaningful to us and we don’t feel “lit up” in how we spend our day.
Here’s my take: at the end of the day we feel exhausted because we have not been doing or living in a way that we know fills us up. We have not been working and contributing in the ways that we know we are good at doing. In Ayurveda this could be related to dharma. When we are living our truest dharma and following the path we know is right and makes us feel fulfilled, we are living in our truth. We are then contributing to the world from a place of our truth, which brings us more feelings of alignment. Often the work we have to do to get paid does not align with what we know we are good at doing. The key then, is to figure out how to create work around your dharma.
The second important part of his research is the Vitality bucket. As a craniosacral therapist and body worker I like how he stated, “we cannot separate mind and body, it is a feedback mechanism. State of mind is critical to vitality.”
My take: when we are not in the present state of mind or if we are depressed and negative all of the time the vitality bucket slowly becomes empty. Research is now showing our mindset creates our physical reality. In today’s world, especially this time of year, people are having a hard time being calm and present. As I have stated in multiple previous blogs, this brings us to the importance of meditation and mindfulness. Sitting in silence teaches us to quiet the mind and just be. When we can be in the present moment we stop being reactive to emotions and situations. We learn to act “intentionality versus reactively”. Acting intentionally to situations helps us fill up the vitality bucket.
So what do all these buckets have to do with a busy time of year? I started to think about acting in the present moment and how this can fill our vitality bucket. When I am stressed and think about my to do list I tend to react. Instead of setting the intension to buy Christmas gifts and feel what it feels like to give to the people I love, it becomes a chore. Instead of treating my clients with the intension of healing because this is what I love to do and I am good at doing, it becomes a job. Instead of feeling to snow flakes fall on my face and smell the wet earth, it becomes nasty weather. The key is learning to act intentionally and saying goodbye to the things that make us over react.
I believe if our Vitality buckets are full we are more able to contribute to the world from a more positive place. We are able to follow our dharma and fill up the Contribution bucket. There is a shift of “doing a job” to contributing to the world in a way that we are good at doing. As Marie Forleo states: “Commit to creating joyfully not stressfully”.
I am in no way able to react to everything joyfully or intentionally but I do think the more I try, especially this time of year, the less stressed and more happy I will be. Happy Holidays to you all and may you find yourselves with happy, healthy, full buckets!
P.S. If you are interested here are the links to the people I talked about in this blog for more information. Thank you to each of them for their information.