The only three things you need to live a good life

The Hamilton Spectator - - HEALTH - SUSIE MOORE Susie Moore is Greatist’s life coach colum­nist and a con­fi­dence coach in New York City.

Here we go again. An­other ar­ti­cle ad­vis­ing you on how to live a bet­ter life. You’ve heard it all be­fore, right?

Well, this one is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent. My good friend Con­stance gifted me a copy of “How to Live a Good Life” by Jonathan Fields right be­fore the sum­mer holi­days. As a self­help book ad­dict, I was ready to dive in, not nec­es­sar­ily ex­pect­ing to learn any­thing new.

But I did. Fields sim­pli­fies the joy of liv­ing into three sim­ple buck­ets: con­nec­tion, con­tri­bu­tion and vi­tal­ity. And what could we pos­si­bly value more in this over­stim­u­lated, over­hyped, over-ev­ery­thing age than the core val­ues of be­ing con­nected, the joy of giv­ing and the feel­ing of be­ing alive?

Here’s how these three el­e­ments have the power to trans­form you:

CON­NEC­TION

I grew up with an al­co­holic fa­ther. My mother was de­pressed and emo­tion­ally ab­sent. My sense of con­nec­tion came from read­ing books, from the teach­ers who no­ticed my en­thu­si­asm in the class­room and even from the kind so­cial work­ers who helped our fam­ily when we didn’t have any­where to live.

But even be­yond that, I formed a re­la­tion­ship with the uni­verse.

As a kid, a lo­cal church was kind to us and helped us with food, presents at Christ­mas time and, I think, money (I was too young to know for sure). My time at Sun­day school meant that, tra­di­tional re­li­gion aside, I cre­ated a re­la­tion­ship with a power that was greater than me. I learned about the world as a lov­ing home where every­one be­longed, not just the “nor­mal kids” at school.

As an adult, I’ve come to em­brace spir­i­tu­al­ity that makes me feel deeply con­nected to some­thing big­ger. Through­out my fa­ther’s death, my di­vorce, my mov­ing coun­tries (five times), I have felt — and con­tinue to feel — an un­break­able con­nec­tion to the uni­verse. It has saved me in times of de­spair, and I know it will never leave me.

As an adult, I’m in­ten­tional about find­ing and be­ing around “my peo­ple” — those who make me feel safe and loved. I’m looking for that same feel­ing of con­nec­tion all these years later.

Do you have your peo­ple and that feel­ing of se­cu­rity in your life?

CON­TRI­BU­TION

Fields de­scribes this bucket as, “How you bring your gifts to the world ... It’s about that deep know­ing that you’re do­ing the thing you’re here to do.”

This of­ten seems im­pos­si­ble, I know. Bills to pay. Rent due. Peo­ple to im­press with chic va­ca­tions. Par­ents to soothe with an ex­pand­ing 401(k).

This bucket speaks to me in pro­found ways. I left a $500K-per-year job at 30 to work as a life coach and writer. This seemed in­sane at the time, but it felt like it wasn’t even a choice. My in­stincts guided me, and I knew that it would work out.

You matter. Your con­tri­bu­tion mat­ters. If you op­press your rea­son for be­ing, it will kill you slowly. When your con­tri­bu­tion bucket is full, it feels like, “You’re ac­cess­ing your full po­ten­tial, your strengths, your gifts ... leav­ing noth­ing un­re­al­ized or un­tapped.” What’s more vi­tal than that?

Which leads us to ...

VI­TAL­ITY

This is about feel­ing en­er­gized, free from pain, re­silient, ap­pre­cia­tive and, well, happy. Vi­tal­ity is the op­po­site of de­pres­sion, anx­i­ety and suf­fer­ing. It’s your birthright. But we don’t al­ways feel that way, do we?

Vi­tal­ity in­volves a deep mind­body con­nec­tion. As Fields says, “Your mind and body serve as seam­less feed­back mech­a­nisms, chem­i­cally and elec­tri­cally.”

Ever no­tice when you’re in a slump, you don’t want to do things like work out, cook a healthy din­ner or have sex? Your level of vi­tal­ity di­rectly cor­re­lates to all of your de­ci­sion-making and is deeply driven by how full your buck­ets of con­nec­tion and con­tri­bu­tion feel.

Vi­tal­ity is of­ten re­pressed by fear — fear of the fu­ture, of the un­known, of what lies ahead. My favourite quote in Fields’s book (In­sta­grammed back in De­cem­ber) is, “Life’s great­est mo­ments live in the space be­tween de­sire and at­tain­ment.” We have no choice but to live with un­cer­tainty. But “with­out un­cer­tainty, there is no pos­si­bil­ity.” Ah, sweet pos­si­bil­ity.

Could you imag­ine start­ing to em­brace pos­si­bil­ity over un­cer­tainty? Wouldn’t that make you feel alive?

DREAMSTIME, TNS

Con­nec­tion, con­tri­bu­tion, and vi­tal­ity are what make up a good life.

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