December: a Time to Reflect.
At this time of year many people ask each other about the true meaning of Christmas - or whatever holiday festival they celebrate - or they sit and quietly reflect about it.
But every December also brings to mind another reflection: what will I achieve next year? It’s possible you are thinking about this right now, especially if you feel you haven’t achieved much in 2015.
New Year Resolutions get made. And your ‘bucket list’ gets made or revised. That’s a term that has lived large in our consciousness since the 2007 movie The Bucket List; written there are all those things you want to experience before you die.
It’s been a while since the movie, yet the concept stuck; even after a decade of popular use, the phrase still excites.
However, we can’t all crisscross the world, as Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman did in the movie, to see sights and enjoy adventures. Even bare-bones backpacking, that sort of odyssey isn’t cheap.
But it’s sure enticing to imagine experiencing all the fascinating things our world offers.
Have you made your bucket list yet? Maybe it’s one of the things on your mind as 2016 begins.
Do you really need a Bucket List?
Peer activity in the form of pictures posted online, invitations to complete Facebook surveys, and comments like ‘that’s on MY bucket list’ all bring pressure to not only have one, but one that sounds cool.
Trips to exotic places, wow! The bolder, the better. Why wouldn’t you want to scuba-dive New Zealand’s Poor Knights Islands, or see the North-West passage for yourself, in summer, of course?
Naturally, a plain list isn’t much fun to share. And if sharing matters, you’ll want to impress.
To help you impress, many websites have been filled with ideas. A quick search will reveal e-books and Pinterest postings that list all the things you could possibly plan to experience.
In addition to experiences, many people have also noted stuff they want. Don’t we ‘all’ want things like a new house, or boat, or car, or new clothes or even a second home in a holiday location?
You can ignite your imagination and create the ‘ultimate bucket list’
. But should you?
- What will you get if you tick off each item?
- Will you die content, if you do everything?
- Wouldn’t ‘living’ content be a more desirable outcome?
- And how many of your items on your list involve giving something, rather than receiving experiences or things?
You may find a lot more fulfillment with a Here and Now List.
Why not make a different sort of list? Not a bucket list, with stuff to achieve by the end of life, but a Here and Now List, focusing your mind on who you intend to be.
- Certainly, you should travel if you think it is important to experience other cultures more closely so you can understand them.
- And if, say, your passion is to bring your impression of the world’s beauty to life for others through your camera, I hope you’ll photograph every waterfall on earth.
- Expanding yourself by learning new languages or skydiving might be just what you need to open your mind to possibilities beyond the ones you’ve accepted to date.
- These may be ideal goals, for you, in 2016.
Nevertheless, a bucket list of things to ‘tick off’ puts attention on ‘doing’, not being’. Be still. Reflect.
- Who are you, ‘here and now’?
- And do your daily actions reflect that realisation, or do you deny your essence to be trendy, to fit in, or to be popular?
There are always exceptions, but the people we generally remember most, of all the people that ever lived, are those who inspire us.
And we’re inspired more by who people are, than by what they do. We’re definitely inspired more by who people are than by what they have.
Who do you want to be each day?
Our mind can meditate on a Here and Now List today, so you can enjoy a more satisfying, fulfilling life beginning today. And attention to a Here and Now List will help you achieve any other aspiration or goals you have in life.
Does your list of aspirations include being a better parent, or upholding your values in a visible way others can imitate?
Your Here and Now List.
A Here and Now List doesn’t contain things you want to experience, or see, or even things you want to have. It’s a list of steps you are taking now to know yourself fully, and to reflect who you really are.
Your here and now list contains the things you believe in strongly, and want to uphold or defend.
It’s easy to deny what you believe, in order to be considered ‘social’, or ‘normal’. But the more you reflect on what matters, the more you’ll be inspired to show your true essence to the world here and now.
- What matters most to you in life?
- When you meditate, which image of yourself brings the most pleasure to mind?
- What actions could you take today to reveal yourself more fully so others will know who you really are?
Start 2016 with a Here and Now List.
For many, making a list that reveals who you want to be, today, is much harder than noting down that - one day - you’ll buy a ticket on an Amazon River safari.
But it would be a very meaningful gift for yourself, as 2016 begins.
Do you dare?
Thank you for reading! Here's my gift for you: a MindPath Graphic that illustrates a 6 step path to becoming more effective.
Anthony is the author of Inspiration Language. Right now he lives on a small island in the Aegean, and writes about how people can use their values and dreams to make a difference in the lives of others. His website is here: http://aretezen.com/blog