Everything Flows Onward

finding my dharma. living my dharma.

Then and Now June 27, 2009

I happened upon a website started by Rainn Wilson (maybe you know him as Dwight Schrute on “The Office”) the other day called SoulPancake. It might surprise you to learn that this website is all about fostering spirituality through creativity. They ask what are called “Life’s Big Questions” and request readers to participate in the dialogue. It gives readers something to think about. Presented in a fun and semi-light-hearted way, the website really asks the audience to find a way to answer the tough questions.

Yesterday a found the following post: Plenty O’ Priorities by SoulPancake

It asked readers what their top 5 priorities were in the past, what they are now and if there any overlaps. I thought this was a pretty awesome blog prompt.

For starters… I had to really stop and think about it. What ARE my top priorities in life, right now? What is important to me? What am I living for? What is my purpose? What am I seeking? Honestly, I had to think for a bit. So I thought on it, wrote some stuff down, and thought I’d share what I came up with:

I started with my priorities from my last years of college and they were as follows:

1. Get far away from my childhood home.

Since I’d been in high school I equated success with moving away from where you started. To me it meant that you recognized the world is bigger than what you know. The more places you’d been meant the more you would understand about the way life is. To be totally honest, at the end of the day what I really imagined was using this as a way of someday returning to people from my past and having great stories to tell that no one could compete with. It would make me better than them and it would make them wish they’d included me more when we were in school. It would make them jealous. (I’m not going to pretend it was a super-up-standing philosophy but at least I am being truthful!) The same was true of me in college and I continued to do a lot of things simply to have the story I could tell people. The plus side is that I got to go to France, which was a catalyst for a lot of changes in my life and I also ended up here in Evansville, another life-changing event. So despite my wicked intentions, I am thankful for that drive that allowed me gain every good thing that I have now.

2. Get straight As (aka Be perfect aka Know all the answers)

It’s not secret that I had control issues. If my grades were perfect, I was perfect. It was very important for me to feel in control of things and never to be out of the loop about anything.

3. Get skinny/ be skinny/ stay skinny

This one goes without much explaining. I placed a lot of emphasis on this one.

4. Explore the world

I wanted to be a nomad, a sight-seer, a traveler. I wanted to have been lots of places and seen lots of things. This kind of goes along with the first one I listed but also was less wicked. I loved (and still love) knowing that there is so much of the world I haven’t seen and know nothing about. Geographical exploration is a great thing and it is so important to understanding the connection we all share.

5. Get boys to notice me

If you had asked me then, I would’ve said my priority was to find a boyfriend but the truth is, I just wanted to be noticed. I went most of my life being the fat friend and when that wasn’t the case anymore, I relished in the response it got from boys. Finally they were looking at me. Nevermind that they weren’t looking at me with respect or compassion. They were looking and I did all I could to let that continue. It resulted in some pretty questionable decisions. I don’t regret anything I’ve done but I do offer tons of gratitude up to the Universe and the Powers That Be for keeping me safe and mostly healthy throughout it all.

Then I thought about my top 5 priorities now. Had they changed much? Here’s what I came up with:

1. Build a stable foundation

For as much as I wanted to be a nomad then, I now have a healthy respect for stability. I love the life that I have built for myself and it is so fulfilling to have a homebase and great people who I know will always stick by my side. It is not a lonely life I lead and it is so helpful knowing that no matter what life throws at me, there is something here to catch my fall.

2. Explore life

Whereas I previously wanted to explore the world to learn about life (and that is still true to an extent) I believe I’ve realized that I don’t have to leave in order to be able to learn about life. There are lessons in every moment, but it is important for me to be present for them. So in a way before I was trying to run away to get the answers, but now I see that I can find so many good lessons right where I am.

3. Be healthy and happy

I don’t want to be skinny anymore as much as I want to be healthy. I want to feel strong and capable. Furthermore, I want to be happy. I didn’t get happier as I got skinnier, not by a longshot. But as I turned it around, got healther, stronger and more capable, then I became happier. I don’t feel the need to know all the answers before the question is even asked. Instead, I rest in the comfort of knowing that whatever happens, I am strong and I will make it through. I have found the seed of my power.

4. Develop healthy, lasting relationships

I don’t even mean this romantically. I mean really, truly, surrounding myself with people who lift me up, and who I lift up. I don’t want people just to look at me, I want people to see me and I want to see them. I want to play with our connectedness, to feel it and recognize it. I want to build bonds and I yearn for compassionate relationships. Romantic relationships are honestly not at all a priority for me (at least it didn’t make my top 5 anyway…), but I am now in a place where, if it should come along, I will be looking for a companion. A partner.

5. Make a comfortable living out of what I love

For the first time in my life I feel as though I know what I am meant to do. It’s safe to say that my list here of priorities may not be in order of importance because I would honestly say this one is my top, top, top priority. I am putting my heart and soul into this one. I can’t presently see anything else that I am better suited for. Over time this may change, but what I mean here is that no matter what it is, what it becomes, what it will be, it is my intention to make what I love the same thing I do.

So what about you? What were your top priorites a few years ago? Maybe even a year ago? What are they now? How have you evolved? Or have you not evolved so much as you have flat out changed? Share with me. I’d love to read and find out.

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