A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog on my experience with Gratitude. This practice has really shifted my perspective in a lot of ways and continues to surprise me.
I began to notice so many good things in my life and value and appreciate them. This creates a general feeling of happiness which is great! I recognise with greater clarity that which is important to me and what my priorities are.
With the help of a friend recently I was asked what are my top priorities in life? What do I place importance on, what do I value most, what do I need in my life as such?
What I have realised in looking at my life, is that there are a number of things I would call my top priorities (I've actually 5 to be precise!) It is not necessarily relevant what mine are but perhaps ask yourself the same question, what is most important to you in your life?
In looking at my 5 priorities, I became suddenly very clear that no one priority was more important than another. I realised that to lead a happy, content and balanced life, each will take about 20% on a daily to weekly basis. Throughout your life at any time one priority may take a greater percentage of your time and energy and the others will be sacrificed, but are you willing to make this sacrifice where it is needed and be content with that e.g. if you have an end of month work deadline which means you cannot socialise or if you have a family member or friend who needs your help which means you cannot go on your weekend away.
As long as we recognise that there will be some shifts from time to time but most of the time all our priorities are being taken care of and in harmony then your life will be a very full one. That is also as long as we recognise the effort needed to maintain this balance in our priorities and we will then have greater equanimity and balance, e.g. call that friend you say you have been meaning to or take your sister/brother/mother out for lunch or clean the house-whatever your priorities are!
What I have noticed is that some problems arise when we place too much emphasis and importance on certain aspects of our life and fail to notice all that we have, hence how my gratitude practice here has helped me a lot!
For a long time I was convinced that Climbing was my No.1 priority in life, I was thinking about it a lot, obsessing even! Thinking about trips, going climbing, what I would like to do and where I would like to go. This constant thinking about climbing was not exactly making me happy, in fact it often made me sad. I felt I was never where I wanted to be, that I wanted to be somewhere else, that I wanted to be doing something else, that if only I could have climbing more often, I would be happier.
In all of this spiral of thinking, I failed to appreciate all of the other priorities in my life that are equally important. I failed to really be grateful for those and appreciate that climbing is not everything.
Climbing is definitely still important to me and I love it, when I go training, when Im in the outdoors, all of it. I feel now that my perspective has shifted, I appreciate what it adds to my life without the constant 'wanting' more. I still strive to improve and am enthusiastic and motivated but its without the chasing and missing out on everything else that is around me.
With perspective and gratitude we can really see how full our lives are, we can pursue good ends with good means but not get wrapped up in running after that which we believe will make us happier. Its about being in the moment and being content with what that moment has to give, thats what brings peace of mind.