Purpose is elusive.  It requires clarity and motivation. Breaking down the components provides the sum…

I have learned that calmness is restorative to me.  The absence of meaningless conflict, the simplicity of truths self-evident, and, the foundational necessities of happiness being; close friends, passionate conversation, physical affection, sampling the arts, sleuthing information, a mountain & water view, creating good food, surprising sources of laughter, adventures, and, good spirits and wine.

Many years ago I found myself pining for a smaller life.  Simpler in its complexity, but no less interesting or compelling than the urban, busy, world I had surrounded myself with.  I saw myself in places…an island community, a gentrified city neighborhood – but always with easy access to a bustling city.  I used to call this “living in NPR”.  A place decidedly paced to match the soothing tones of deliberate dialog.  The surprising music bumpers that were unique, new to my ears, and unusually appropriate for the theme.  Stories that shed light on the world around me by exploring in detail the edges.  Discover the fringes and the center becomes both obvious and less important.  Contentment will come from finding my “NPR world.”

I always have trouble following my heart.  I feel conflicted because for me it feels like a selfish act.  This was learned somewhere in my younger life – catering to the expectations of those around me first.  But my internal conflict around meeting my needs, my desires, led to over thinking everything.  This in turn resulted in a sort of procrastination that always ended with a knee jerk, bitter, and compromised solution that rarely left me happy, and always left a short-lived satisfaction for the others around me that would eventually be undermined by my frustration.  The more I ignored my own desires and tried to make those around me “happy” the more of a disaster I would create.  I created monsters, one day at a time.

Years later I learned a new meme from a small hero in my life – strive to live a Tolstoyian life.

“Eight hours of sleep.   Four hours of self-improvement.  Four hours of vocation.  Four hours outdoors.  Four hours socializing.”

From my vantage, this was not outlandish, or edgy, or avant-garde – far from it.  It was purposeful.  He had more ideas than one could ever accomplish, but had a busyness about him that constantly moved his plans forward.  He knew what he loved, when to work, when to play, when to be serious, when to not care.  He had a basic, uncomplicated philosophy that was never buggered up by noise. He was action.  A thirst for knowledge was expected, but over thinking unheard of.  Passion, for fun, for adventure, oozed out of him.  He was surrounded by a storm that stretched him, but never beached him.  He lived much of his life in this manner.

So how do I create this world? What is the best way to rebuild and surround myself with the energies that bring contentedness?  How do I fund this world?  What is the very next step I need to take?

I will know I am there when: I’m in love.  I am happy.  I am needed.  I am valued.  I have much to offer.  My motivation is joy.  Awe.  Belly laughs and smiles.  Moments of clarity.  Making someone happy and being thankful for the happiness they bring me.  Personal excellence.  Action.

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