What does it mean to discover life?
Honestly, that can take on a multitude of definitions and how I define it has evolved over time depending on the circumstances in my life. However, I think that I've settled on a definition that really captures what I mean when I say discovering life. I've even made it the first phase of my coaching process.
When we break down the word discover and life, Merriam Webster's dictionary defines it the process of making known or visible; obtaining sight or knowledge for the first time. From the same source, I've honed in on this explanation of life: the sequence of physical and mental experiences that make up the existence of an individual.
How does one make something known or visible? How do we learn or obtain knowledge? How do we discover life?
First, we must be open and willing to receive. Why are children so teachable? They know that they do not know. . . so they ask questions. It's a beautiful thing. They are like sponges, soaking up information until they cannot take in any more. Their minds are fertile grounds, ready for seeds to be planted so that information can take root and through experience, they begin to gain wisdom. However, at some point, it appears that many lose this childlike quality and we stop asking questions. Especially the really important ones. We stop attending to the fields of the mind and leave the ground unattended to. A ground ill-prepared will not produce quality fruit.
Second, we must be present in the current moment. When we are present, we show up. We are engaged and we take ownership. We bring our whole mind, body, and spirit into the now. For a moment, we push away the things that do not exist in the now. Our ever-wandering minds want to convince us that everything else needs our attention but if you are present in this moment, you may become aware of the fact that you are breathing. Perhaps you become aware that your eyes are currently scanning a combination of symbols, organized in a particular way, formed and sequence to communicate a language. Perhaps you then become aware that you're permitting these symbols called words to flow into the window of your soul and sink into your being. Depending on where you are, you may become aware of a car horn in the distance, the soft coos of your child comforting themselves. You may become aware of the vibrant color and sounds of nature. You may be taking in the hum of a bustling city able to watch people eagerly and anxiously rushing to some unknown destination. Whatever you are able to appreciate at this moment, whatever discovery you've made in the now, is because you are present.
This last point I'm going to make will resurface in the following post on Uncovering Purpose and Embracing joy. That is to be intentional and always show gratitude. Again, we'll talk more about this in the coming weeks but it has a large part in how we discover life.
I'm convinced that by doing these things we come to realize that we are joyful. As I engage treatments to support my practice of maintaining balance with my dear friend Colleen, a Plant Spirit Medicine practitioner, I'm reminded that joy is not simply a feeling of happiness. Joy doesn't always feel positive and jubilant. No, it covers a range of emotions and feelings. Joy is an all-encompassing experience in life's journey. There can be joy in anger and grief even. So, if I was to concisely define what it means to discover life it would be this:
We discover life when we are fully present to the opportunity for joy.
I've love to join you on this journey!