I sat at my desk, ready to write whatever came to me. Not surprisingly, it was a question rather than a statement. It’s often this way for me. I find that questions are creative sparks that generate the heat of discovery.
Here’s the question that arose.
What are the things I’ve done which have returned the greatest pleasure?
For the purpose of this post, I changed the last word from pleasure to reward.
Well, mostly because I’ve learned so much from unpleasurable events in my life. They’ve led to significant rewards, despite what my initial thoughts were about them.
If you came from the financial world like I did, you might be tempted to think in terms of ‘return on investment’. The notion that there is an important relationship between the amount of time, energy, and resources you expend and the resultant benefits, usually stated in dollars and cents, that you receive.
Fortunately for me, I left the business world a long time ago and have shifted away from this kind of thinking. So, when the question placed itself before me, I was able to allow it the full freedom of expression.
What a gift, to be able to sit back and see what fills the empty space.
Can you take a moment to relax, breathe in and out gently, perhaps close your eyes, and I know it might feel strange, but give yourself permission to smile. Feel for your own empty space and drift along, allowing your memories the chance to come and be with you.
I promise, it can be incredibly fun.
As a way of helping you get started, I’d like to share a small sampling of the ‘greatest rewards’ that came to me. One or two may even surprise you.
Saying “I do” to my wife and joining our lives together. Sharing our living dreams and knowing we are there for each other. And even after over forty-eight years of marriage, we still hold hands on our afternoon walks.
The births of our children. No other single thing has created more pleasure for my wife and me than the births and lives of our two beautiful children. And of course, by extensions, the births of our grandchildren.
Stopping in traffic to hand a folded twenty-dollar bill to someone in need by the side of the road, knowing they now have options and perhaps, a bit more hope.
The cold I am currently getting over because it reminds me that my body is an amazing thing and is capable of healing and restoration, far beyond what I give it credit for.
Making a paper ‘Best Waitress Award Certificate’ while at lunch and handing it to our waitress along with a generous tip, because she did such a great job.
Writing a series of books (Little Buddha, Books One-Four, so far) because they absolutely elevate my level of joy, since I love the characters so much. Then being able to share the stories with others during a book study group and discovering the characters are as important to them as they are to me.
Going for a nature walk and breathing in the fresh air, allowing it to spread throughout my body and fill me with happiness.
My morning meditation after my shower because it offers me depth and disappearance. I can fade from this world for a short time and reconnect with the divine.
There were so many others and there will be more because this is a practice that yields rich dividends for me.
I hope it offers you the same.