good life with sarah jane wright
Part of cultivating a good life is learning to be constantly in a state of awareness.
In the throes of personal life, family life, business life, it’s very easy to become distracted from what I feel is the most important time in our lives: the present moment. The NOW. As a busy and good-intended women, I often find that it’s a way of life now to become consumed with what’s next or what’s “out there” just beyond our reach. Life is busy, and in order to keep things rolling, we are constantly in a state of putting things in their place, organizing, planning ahead, getting things done, putting out fires, longing for something better, and just being busy! Somehow, this has become our norm as we are filled to the brim with “good” things. But while raising 4 small children, running my own business, and attempting to care for myself in the process, I’m ever more aware of what truly makes a GOOD life. And being filled to the brim and focusing on “what’s next” in my life isn’t it. While getting things done and striving for success is very important, and believe me, I’m busier than I ever wanted to be, it’s so important to make sure that the good life doesn’t pass us by.
What is the good life for me? The good life is my NOW. Never before have I been reminded that in order to cultivate a good life, we need to be constantly in a state of awareness. Present mindedness. Awareness of where we are and all that is good allows us to see things with fresh eyes and not see things as they could be or should be. Right now, my living room needs a makeover, I need to shed a few pounds, my backyard has needed a manicure for years, and my husband is looking for that “better” job. But if I see my life as a list of “coulds” or “shoulds” or “wishes,” life is never really going to feel very good. Instead, I have to choose every day to cultivate a good life by training my mind to stop, look, and listen and to live in a state of gratitude daily. But more than gratitude. To live in a constant awareness that my life is beautiful and full and rich and it’s just right for our little family. It’s the simple small moments every day.
The good life is hanging out in the back yard, my husband playing the guitar, the kids on the swings, taking turns snuggling on the picnic blanket, and eating raspberries off the vine. It’s sitting in my living room with one kid on the piano, another playing blocks, and the others excitedly telling my husband about their day as he walks in from work. The good life is THIS. It’s NOW. And it’s HERE.
Here are a few things I’ve done to make sure I’m tapping into this state of mind. Maybe they’ll help you, too:
– Putting my phone in the other room for family dinner that we have every night.
– Being realistic about commitments and how long projects will really take so you are keeping your first commitments to your family.
– Starting your day with a ritual: having silence and meditative time at the start of your day and preferably at night as well.
– Keeping track of your social media time and even scheduling time in the day to be on, so you aren’t tempted to be on all the time.
– If you have children, to get down on the floor and really play and be in their world, tapping into the natural state of present mindedness.
– Take time to be outside every day.
– Use an app or timer on your phone to remind you a few times a day to stop what you are doing for 30 seconds for deep breathing and awareness.
– Keep a gratitude journal.
You can see that many of the things that I think keep us from the good life are the distractions of this modern life. The more we can become aware of our personal traps and make an effort to become aware, the happier I think we’ll be. I would love to hear your thoughts on this, and if any of you want to add what has helped you achieve this, I’d love to hear from you! I’m constantly working on this myself and feel that as women, we are best to not be hard on ourselves but rather just focus on being aware of where our good life lies and being true to that.
note from becky
Um, hello awesome message from an awesome woman! I first met Sarah Jane several years ago at an event where several hundred women entrepreneurs gathered in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is a phenomenally talented artist! Our paths crossed again when we were both asked to speak on a panel together at a small retreat this recent October, for like-minded, faith-based, driven women … and I absolutely loved what she spoke about and how much it resonated with me. I hope you find her message today to truly resonate with you as well.