Can we design our own lives?

Today, as I was lolling about, being sprawled all over the couch, I started pondering the progress of my goals for 2010, but one recurring question kept lingering in my head:

Can we design our own lives?

Judging by my previous blogs, you’d say: Yes.

However healthy it seems to me to set goals, make new year’s resolutions, plot charts and generally try harder at everything and be ambitious, there’s a flipside to that coin of control. Not to dash any of your hopes up front– on the contrary — but we all have to face the fact that not everything is makeable by our own hands and brains.

  • Here’s an inspiring quote from one of my favorite authors: Henri J.M. Nouwen, I want to share with you:

Enough Light for the Next Step

Often we want to be able to see into the future. We say, “How will next year be for me? Where will I be five or ten years from now?” There are no answers to these questions. Mostly we have just enough light to see the next step: what we have to do in the coming hour or the following day. The art of living is to enjoy what we can see and not complain about what remains in the dark. When we are able to take the next step with the trust that we will have enough light for the step that follows, we can walk through life with joy and be surprised at how far we go. Let’s rejoice in the little light we carry and not ask for the great beam that would take all shadows away.

Henri J.M. Nouwen -Bread for the Journey

I just love how this spiritual teacher conveys his wisdom to us: the picture of us carrying tiny little lights for our paths is just wonderful. So if we just take life moment by moment, step by step, we could get to great lengths while being happy and peaceful at the same time. Moreover, light also brings joy and love to our little spheres of influence, blessing others with it as well.

  • Another one of my inspirators Leo Babauta, author of Zen Habits explained on the GTD Virtual Study Group podcast of the 14th of January that he’s abandoning setting goals altogether, and is just going with the flow, doing everyday what he loves best.

Isn’t his advice very similar to Nouwen’s in a way? Just go from moment to moment, being fully aware and present in every one of them. If you daily do what excites you and inspires you, not looking too far into the future, you’ll live a simple and happy life and inspire and encourage others at the same time.

But is it really that simple?

In his heart a man plans his course,
but the LORD determines his steps.

You can plan all you want, but in the end there’s a power greater than us Who decides which plans are being fulfilled.

Just enjoy the ride, plan, but remember to go with the flow.

3 thoughts on “Can we design our own lives?

  1. Ester, what a beautiful post!! I was working with a client just yesterday, talking about how faith can guide our journeys, especially when the path is not yet clearly illuminated. I’m sharing your post with her; I know she’ll find it as inspiring as I did!

    With love,

    PS I love Henri Nouwen, too!! 🙂

  2. Hoi Ester, weer mooi uiteengezet; idd naast het streven jezelf te verbeteren, kun je ook zoveel mogelijk genieten van het onderweg zijn daar naar toe. Misschien is het soms ook wel zo, dat verandering minder noodzakelijk is dan wij veronderstellen. Immers, wij zijn allemaal anders en al die kwaliteiten samen maken juist het Geheel.
    Liefs, mam

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