When I first got into the personal development world, all I wanted was to find that one magic formula that would guarantee success for the rest of my life. If I could just meditate like that person, have a yoga practice like that other person, and eat a vegan-gluten-free diet, then I just know my chakras would be fully open and life would be good. I would find my purpose, make a billion dollars, and be fed grapes and fanned with a palm leaf (because according to Instagram memes, this is what every Taurus dreams of… and I’m not disagreeing).
Sounds super simple, right?
This is the reality for many of us who begin embracing the spiritual world. We uncover a new way of living—one where we can be connected to our inner wisdom, are able to reclaim our freedom, and can step into unlimited abundance.
I truly believe this world exists, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that we are still capitalist-conditioned humans with perfectionistic tendencies who view the world through fear-based glasses.
We see abundance, but we won’t take a slice of it for ourselves.
We see freedom, but we wait for some master to grant it to us.
In the personal development world? We are told to find our purpose and only then the luxuries of the world will unravel into our laps. Ironically, it’s this pursuit of finding our purpose that makes us miserable in the everyday.
It’s why I lean so heavily towards the idea of grounding our spiritual fantasies in practical realities. So what if the utopian world in our minds is blissful? What matters equally is our daily experience of it.
Seven years ago, I read a post from James Altucher that forever changed how I thought about “finding your purpose”. He wrote:
“Purpose is largely a myth that gets encoded into our brains sometime in our 20s and NEVER leaves us again. When I was nine I thought my purpose in life was to hit the ball better in little league baseball. But when I was 25 I thought my purpose in life was to do something that would CHANGE THE WORLD.
“People get depressed now if they feel they are not fulfilling a purpose in life. Here’s what I think purpose is: the universe doesn’t know anything. So it cut off tiny pieces of itself to go out there and experience things, any things, and then come back home when they were done. That’s it. So whatever you are experiencing today, good or bad, the universe is learning and happy and grateful to you because it is exploring new things about life.”
Doesn’t that just feel better?
It’s funny how we stop doing the things that actually light our souls and replace them with an impossible mission that just brings misery.
Going back to the earliest Stoic philosophies, we have always as humans questioned the meaning of life and our purpose here on this earth. I somehow doubt a $299 online course is going to give us this answer.
In a very roundabout way, this brings me to the idea that I’ve been mulling around in my head all week. The idea of romancing yourself. Of living life as a collector of rich experiences. Like a painter, splattering more colour and vibrancy on an otherwise plain canvas.
If we are tiny pieces of the Universe like Altucher says, here to experience the breadth of what life is, then what delightful experiences can we conjure up today? The simple luxuries that make each hour of the day worth enjoying.
After finishing this letter, in those ten minutes that follow, how can you romance yourself? Will you make a fresh cup of tea? Turn on the diffuser with your favourite scent? Take a few deep breaths and smile at the wild idea that out of billions of years we are somehow all living in this exact blip of time together?
Whatever that looks like for you, do it.
If you follow me on Instagram, you would have seen my solo date night on Wednesday evening. I craved a calm night to myself—lighting every candle on the main floor, pouring myself a glass of red wine, and listening to podcasts from the couch.
There’s no right or wrong way, and sometimes the cheesier it is, the better.
Another one of my favourites is reading British chic lit, a genre of fiction that would make any intellectual snob turn up their nose—and ya know what? That makes it just the more enjoyable.
Whether it needs to be said out loud or not, I’ll say it: there is a world outside of our careers.
I love productivity, but I don’t aspire to be a robot.
I love success, but only when it’s the cherry on top of a fulfilling life.
I love money, but only if I earn it in a way that also brings me joy.
I love routine, but only when paired with plenty of free time and moments of indulgence.
In other words, I want to live a holistically rich life. And anything that helps me take a step back and appreciate WHY I’m pursuing this never-ending journey of ambition and goal striving? That’s a worthwhile activity in my books.
It also happens to be February, the month of romance, and dare I say it? One of my favourite times of the year.
You have my unwavering encouragement to buy yourself a dozen red roses. To make your favourite dish for dinner. To re-read your favourite book, even if that means setting aside that half-finished business book that’s judging you from your desk.
In fact, send me a reply and let me know what that looks like for you!