“You know, the ancient Egyptians had a beautiful belief about death. When their souls got to the entrance to heaven, the guards asked two questions. Their answers determined whether they were able to enter or not. ‘Have you found joy in your life?’ ‘Has your life brought joy to others?”
— The Bucket List movie.
We did not get to skate hand-in-hand or kiss each other’s frozen noses at the Frog Pond in Boston as my former boyfriend and I planned. The relationship ended before we made it through our “bucket list” of experiences we wanted to share while courting.
It was his fun suggestion in our early stages of dating that we send each other the list of things we wanted to be sure to do in this life—and together we had a blast exploring each of them.
Being in our 50s with a greater sense of our mortality, we each discussed feeling more finely tuned to finding fulfillment from “experiences” versus “acquisitions.” A picnic at The Boston Commons, laughing while being serenaded by a street singer playing children’s songs, brought us more joy than indulging in a high-end purchase or eating at a five-star restaurant.
Simple pleasures permeated our relationship, and continue to play a large role in my life now, personally and professionally. Fun is an integral part of the way I continue to relate to others, but it is not enough to sustain an intimate relationship.
Risking being emotionally vulnerable, and raw during challenging times, is part of the richness of connection. Standing by another’s side, without judgment, as he or she maneuvers the dark moments when life tests us, is part of intimacy and true love. We cannot always live at the surface. Our depth, the trials that helped form and elevate us to our truest and highest selves, are part of our beauty.
Even my two closest professional partners have witnessed me in both my most empowering and vulnerable states. As a result, our business relationships feel more solid and real. We know we are “there” for each other on many levels.
The courage to be authentic and allow myself to be seen and loved for enduring the wrinkles of life as well as for relishing all the joys that abound is my new bucket list item.
I also have recently been blessed to acquire a greater sense of the ways I want to “be” in the world versus how I act or perform. Slowing down, my twice daily, half-hour minimum of “Gail time” in quiet to nurture my soul and hear the guidance from within is non-negotiable. In my solitude, I am able to discipline my mind to pay more attention now to living from love, peace, forgiveness, non-judgment and allowing in the gifts of grace.
Our natural state of being is calm and joy. To stay there, we must train ourselves to look inward for comfort.
May your bucket list include self-love and nurturance, from which you may find a way to serve others.
Blessings to all,
A very special thanks to Beth Shedd, my talented blog photographer, joy seeker, and one of my favorite “bucket list” buddies for creating today’s picture of my new “being” items.
Gail Kauranen Jones is an intuitive coach, gifted wordsmith and inspiring teacher who has been leading others through transformation for more than twenty years. She is the author of two books, Cancer as a Love Story: Developing the Mindset for Living, and To Hell and Back…Healing Your Way through Transition. Both books were met with rave reviews on Amazon and elsewhere.
She recently appeared as a guest “worthiness coach” on CBS TV’s award-winning talk show The Doctors and on Sirius FM Radio. Her articles and “tips” on worthiness have also appeared several times in Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper.
She has taught many leading-edge workshops at top spas and wellness centers. She now leads Zoom group coaching programs and is a guest speaker at many related events.
Gail lives a passionate and simple life writing, hiking, connecting in meaningful ways, aligning in joyful collaboration and thriving in nature.