We live in a material and physical world that places a lot of importance on achieving and acquiring. It is easy to get swept up in the energy of it and lose perspective on what is really important.
Our happiness, our identity and our sense of self-worth often comes from what we have and what we do, and and we are taught to believe that we are what we achieve.
In the search for happiness, we often look to the world outside of us for what we need. We are constantly bombarded with information which pulls us in different directions and causes us to chase after something 'out-there' to make us happy. The media uses tactics to make us feel that without this certain product we cannot be happy. We often grow up comparing ourselves to our peers, and feeling if we had what they had we would be happy. Sometimes we feel the need to gain approval from others such as our parents or teachers in order to feel good about ourselves. Other times, it is just a strong inner motivation which forces us to strive, compete, work hard, get more and do more, in the hope that we will be more.
We may believe that achieving certain things in life or acquiring different possession will bring us the happiness we are craving. We think that "when I have that apartment I will be happy", or when I "get that job I will be fulfilled" or when I "loose those last 5 kilos then I will love myself" or "when I get that payrise I will be satisfied". But the problem is that these things only bring us a temporary sense of happiness that satisfies us short term. Pretty soon we get tired of what we have again and we want something else.
Now, I am not anti-materialism. The fact of the matter is that we live in a physical and material world, and in order to survive and thrive we must learn to master our environment. I love my material possessions as they actually bring me a lot of joy. I also love acheiving goals and I gain much satisfaction from creating results. However, my challenge has been in my perspective and the value I place on these things. I am learning to detach from the importance I place on my material possessions and my outer results. I still love and value them, but they do not define me. Rather than being the means to my happiness, I like to see them as beautiful outward expressions of the happiness and fulfillment that is already inside me.
So, my suggestion for the new year is take your focus off the outer world and place it on the inner world. Remove your attention from the big things in life and begin to notice the small, simple things. Find the magic in life. Love and appreciate those small, special things. Appreciate the essence of what life is about. Create more special moments.
Have you ever had one of those moments when something simple in life literally takes your breath away? Something suddenly pulls at you or grabs your attention or overwhelms your heart with emotion. You may get stopped in your tracks and you are caught up in a moment of natural beauty or joy. When these happen, I believe it is the universe asking you to stop and notice and reconnect with your true self. Sometimes it happens in nature surrounded by natural beauty. Sometimes it happens when you are in love and totally connected to another person. It may happen when you watch a beautiful sunset, or when you play with children. Some people also experience this feeling of flow when they are involved in some creative task. Others may get it while involved in physical activity such as swimming, walking, running or hiking.
However these moments come to you, they often feel as though something else takes you over and you become consumed in the moment. Sometimes these moments come out of nowhere and surprise you. They usually arise from silence and allowing yourself to be present to your current situation. Your mind my stop and as a result you allow something else to come in. These moments also often involve some form of connection. Connection to people, to nature or to the self. It is the essence of life. It is truth and it is pure.
These moments can help you see that there is so much natural beauty and wonder in the world, and so much joy to be had with with simple things. So, I encourage you to discover these moments in your life. Amongst the busyness of your world, the action you must take and the rattling of your mind, take time to stop and find the magic amongst the noise. Stop searching for joy outside of you, and allow it to come from within. Let go of the drama and get lost in awe at the wonderful world we live in.