What Matters Most

If we don’t ask ourselves, “WHAT MATTERS MOST TO ME”, consider that we may cheat ourselves of living our lives out fully. If we don’t consciously consider, what matters most, we live our lives in default and at risk of being unfulfilled. Perhaps it is love that is most important. Perhaps we value adventure, kindness, generosity. Perhaps it is making a difference in the world.Many people assert that money and financial success are the most important things to them. However, as we experience our final moments of life, it is rarely the number of dollars that we are most concerned about leaving behind.

Don’t get me wrong. Financial success and abundance often paves the way to a life of extravagance, ease, and the best money can buy in the way of health care, lifestyle, power, and much much more. Perhaps balancing the many things that are most important to us is as important as “what” matters most. Love without being able to pay the bills isn’t such a great thing. Then again, loads of money, with no one to love or share adventures with is bankrupt as well.If you find yourself at the center of complaint-central, you have ceased to keep your eye on what matters most to you.

Common complaints are that our spouses don’t understand us, or the romance has gone out. We complain that our children are rude and thoughtless, we complain that our parents are critical, demanding, or perhaps that they don’t really care about us. The problem is that these complaints exist outside of us. We live in hope that “they” or “it” will change or get better. The thing is, while we are “waiting for it to get better”, life is passing us by, and we have given up our power to live our lives passionately and fulfilling on our dreams. As long as “it” or “they” have to get better, we have sabotaged ourselves. We are justified lying “in wait”.

What if we look at ourselves and consider “what matters most to me”? When we ask ourselves this simple question, and begin to take action, we embrace and direct our fortunes and destiny.Try it. Ask yourself every day if you are doing and experiencing what matters most to you. Start a list, and ask others in your life what matters most to them. Get interested and pay attention to yourself and those around you. This is not a dress rehearsal. If you tell yourself you will get to your dreams “someday”, consider that “someday” is not a date on the calendar.Get clear on what matters most to you, and take action. Pull, that which matters most to you, toward you everyday in big and little ways.

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New Year's Completion Creation and Fulfillment

This is a time of year where we are invited, through the cultural celebration of the new year, to complete that which has been incomplete over the past year; to complete things in a literal sense but also in an emotional sense. It is an opportunity to declare completion, even if it means declaring that we are complete with the fact that certain issues are unresolved. We can be complete with being incomplete. It is also a time to create as we consider our values, what matters most to us, and our greatest dreams. 

All too often the media pundits, commentators, and talk show hosts offer multiple tips on creating the resolutions that, this year, you really truly without a doubt will follow. They remind us of all the years we have made resolutions but failed to follow them, but not to worry... just follow a few quick tips this year, and you can have a new go at it. I believe that the problem isn't that people don't know what they want, but that resolutions, dream boards, missions, and goals get created on top of a huge heap of burdensome ugly nagging and, often, shame evoking incompletions. It's really tough to create something wonderful, fulfilling, and powerful on top of an ancient pile of garbage that is our life's incompletions.

Getting complete can be a profoundly compelling and dramatic first step toward acquiring the fulfillment in life that is most deep-seated. Completion may be as simple as a list you compose, or as far-reaching as calling someone you haven't spoken to in years. It may be writing a letter to long dead parent or child that gives you completion. You might call back all the people that you have been waiting to call back until later, or simply take out your trash. You might actually finish last year's business plan that never quite took off. Perhaps there's an old teacher or professor you want to call and thank for the difference they made in your life. Maybe you can forgive yourself for what you haven't done yet, and the things you have done that you think you shouldn't have.  Moms, dads, siblings, extended family, friends, pets, colleagues, employers, employees, and the list goes on of people who are important to us--- What do you want or need to say that will have you start this year in a new place, that will give you the happiness, fulfillment and love that we all strive for? 

Perhaps the most difficult completion exists in our personal realm. It can take some strength to let down our defenses in order to avail ourselves of 'self'-reflection. Friends and family can often be instrumental as listeners to help us do the hard honest work of sorting ourselves out. The thing is, that when we deny our accountability in the failures and disappointments we have year after year, all we are left with is a lot of denial and lost time. This is also true of our accomplishments. It can be hard work to really be accountable for all the love we give, the kindnesses we have done, the beauty we possess and offer, and the difference we have made. It can be difficult to look in the mirror and notice what wonderful people we are. Look and see! It's pretty good.

I was once at a conference where the facilitator made a comment that has resonated in my personal life, and in my practice as a psychotherapist. He said that there is nothing ever there for us to fix. He reminded me that when we are born, we are born perfect, whole, and complete. With each bump in the road that we encounter as we grow and mature, we put little protective smudges on our being. By the time we are teenagers and young adults we are already pretty protectively smudged. Even as school-aged children, when we look at ourselves, we are looking at  ourselves smudged--- and we think those smudges are us. They aren't. We are smudged with anger, hurt, doubt, feeling stupid, inadequate, guardedness, and the list goes on. The work and the opportunity we have today and going forward is to "de-smudge". Completion is a way to wipe the protective smudges away and come back into a vulnerable yet strong remembering of the perfection we were dealt at birth. From here, the creation of whatever you want is possible. 

I don't mean to offer any simple and glib answers for starting the new year. I do hope to inspire thoughtfulness. I do intend that in this world we live in, for whatever time we do have, we live in it to our fullest fulfilled. Complete, create, complete, create.... and Happy New Year!

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