I believe the purpose of our lives is the pursuit of happiness, joy, peace, love, wisdom and playfulness. Hopefully, we can achieve this with a degree of compassion, grace and gratitude. It is surprisingly difficult to free ourselves to be able to do just this.
It is a journey that is exciting, painful, creative and frustrating but worthwhile. We grow and blossom just like a flower. A time of growing, shining our brightest light in full bloom and a gentle fading when, if we are lucky, we are able to pass on to others what we are learning and eventually a closing down that leads us towards death.
Three things that we have control over can limit our happiness:
Expectations: Having a goal or a dream can help us to find our way, but when it comes from a rigid place, the place of an expectation, it can limit our happiness. Fortunately we can free ourselves of rigid expectations and free ourselves to simply be, do and have the best we can instead. Expectations can create pressure, strain, stress, judgement and criticism of ourselves and others. Expectations can stop us from living in the present moment and being able to tap into recognising and pursuing what truly leads us to joy, peace, love, wisdom, playfulness and happiness.
Negativity: A positive thought, feeling, memory can flow through us so quickly, sometimes hard for us to hold onto. A negative thought, feeling, memory can hold us imprisoned for hours, days, weeks and months. Practice overthrowing a negative thought, feeling, memory with a positive one. At the very least we could give them equal time and space in our lives.
Attachments: When I use this word I mean those thoughts, feelings, behaviour, beliefs, relationships, often from the past, that we allow to dictate to us and that we hold onto in a way that limits our movement and ability to be our real selves. They become heavy and a trial at times. It is a freedom to build positive, compassionate and loving connections with people, places and belief systems, but connections you can tap into and tap out of again so that your thinking, feeling and beliefs are free to change, to move you on. Unconditional, positive connections are a lightness and a joy in our lives. They help us to belong and feel part of that ocean of life that we are all swimming in together. Attachments weigh us down, hold us back, limit our thinking, imprison our feelings and our freedom to be who we are.
Photographs by Angela Barnes