Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Good Life.

I lived for two summers in a beautiful and surprisingly lively (for population 63!)  remote mountain town in central Idaho. I was a part of the influx of seasonal summer staffers, the majority of whom worked on the Salmon River as raft guides (I was a cook). Since business is weather-dependent and summer only lasts so long, the work in town was condensed into an intense three or four month period. We worked hard. But most folks also played hard. Really hard. And as we were drinking beers with our feet dangling in the beautiful mountain lakes or river with the sound of bluegrass music playing in the background, it was inevitable that someone said, "Ahhhh. The good life." Or "livin' the dream!"

I am quite fond of those particular moments of camaraderie, relaxation after 10 hours of hot and heavy kitchen work, and taking in scenes of unparalleled beauty. However in my head there was a caveat..."the good life...for now..." I felt like there was more out there. Especially in terms of what I can contribute. I've been privy to tremendous blessings in my life. Sure it feels awesome to soak all that in and live in a bliss bubble. But there's been a nagging feeling that I'm meant to be doing more.

Even before my adventures in Idaho, I thought quite a lot about a life well lived—what that means, what that looks like. On the path to finding answers, I got a B.A. in Sociology, went to graduate school to investigate further and dropped out of graduate school to investigate even further in the school of life.

Philosophers, psychologist, sociologist, and lay people tend to agree on the components of "the good life".

To live the good life, we basically need two things:
·      good relationships or love and
·      meaningful work which I think of as a sense of contribution plus purpose or meaning

As I’ve learned though my daily practice with meditation, simple and easy are far from one and the same.

This opens up a whole host of questions about how to cultivate good relationships. How do we connect in meaningful ways with people? And questions about purpose. What is meaningful work and how do we find or create it? How do we know what our purpose is? Or worse, what if we know our purpose(s) and can’t see how it could possibly ever support meeting our material needs?

Much of the reason driving this blog and my writings, are reflections on my experiences and experiments with striving for a live well lived. I’m so happy you’re joining me on this adventure, and I sure do hope you find some benefit here.

Photo Credit: jasoneppink

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