When asked, “What do you want out of life?” Most folks will answer that they want to live a long and increasingly comfortable life and enable that for their children.
Reading this in Martha Beck’s Finding your Way in a Wild New World, I didn’t find it to be earth shattering news.
Everything we seek as human beings, education, careers, health care and homes supports this effort; yet, many are left unfulfilled in the journey toward ultimate comfort.
Martha Beck, world renowned author and life coach, felt this sense of dissatisfaction early in life and came to the conclusion that her “ultimate purpose is not to live. It is to experience joy, if joy is possible.”
Joy is much different than comfort. Joy provides internal motivation and intrinsic satisfaction in our everyday lives. Obtaining comfort requires following the rules and identifying external motivational sources to continue to receive the benefits from delivering what you must do.
For Martha, the pursuit of joy has made her a risk-taker, an expectation-ignorer, a person with an agenda that makes no sense to most people. She has also found that joy has brought a sense of being one with all things, changing her purpose from feeling joy herself to maximizing joy for all beings.
I read Martha’s words as I was lying on the beach in Punta Cana, contemplating this joy vs. comfort question.
At the pinnacle of comfort in 83 degrees, with a rum mojito in hand under an umbrella, I realized that most of my life I have been seeking comfort at the cost of joy. One of the puzzles Martha identified resonated with me to a deep degree, the puzzle of how do I find joy in life and also make money.
Seven years ago I was at impasse in life with this very same puzzle, deciding if I wanted to pursue becoming a therapist or getting an MBA. I found a nice niche in the middle, becoming a human resource manager. I have now followed this path for the last seven years, enjoying it more than the previous one, but also realizing in the end this journey was not all that different than obtaining an MBA in what is required from me on a day to day basis.
That choice has yielded amazing benefits, such as sitting on that beach in Punta Cana and working with amazingly intelligent people to grow a business, yet joy often eludes me.
This leads me to looking inside into the “everywhen” as Martha calls it. The place you go to find solutions that help you achieve your higher purpose when finding your way through a difficult life puzzle.
Journeying into the everywhen requires Wordlessness, shifting consciousness out of the verbal part of the brain and into the more creative, intuitive and sensory brain regions. Oneness, sensing your interconnectedness with all beings and feeling what they need from you. Finally, Imagination and Forming, finding the physical manifestation of the situations, objects and events you imagine in order to live your most joyous life.
2014 has been filled with many vacation adventures and reconnections with dear friends, which I have appreciated immensely. Next year will consist of adventures into the everywhen, which will produce risk, discomfort and self-doubt. I’m completely ready and excited to share this journey with you all. My hope is that you find your own true joy in this holiday season and in 2015. To do so, ask yourself, are you living for joy or comfort and what can you do to redirect your life toward more joy?