The only 2 things you need…
In modern society, it feels like we are always waiting. Waiting in line, waiting for that next promotion, waiting to be more fit, waiting to go on vacation, waiting for something in the future to give us permission to start living the life we actually want to live.
We think that the waiting will be over when we reach that next step, whatever it may be. But we also kind of know that this never really happens. As soon as we do finally reach that next step, we almost instantly find ourselves looking to the next one.
This makes even more sense to me when I look at some of the most “successful” people in the world: CEOs, authors, celebrities, royalty, presidents, etc. While none of these people epitomize “success” to me, they represent the top of their respective totem poles; they’ve climbed steps us mere humans can only dream of. And yet if you ask me to name the “happiest” people in the world, none of these totem-toppers come to mind.
Instead, my mind wanders to the weeks I spent teaching English in rural China. The residents of the tiny, little town there remain the happiest and most satisfied people I have ever met. In modern society, one would say these people have almost “nothing”, and yet somehow they seem to ooze gratitude and live in the present with an ease unrecognizable in the Western world.
I also remember my frustration with the town’s lack of WiFi. It never occurred to me that maybe this lack of connectivity contributed to the deeply luxurious but simultaneously austere lifestyle omnipresent there.
Now don’t take this the wrong way; I am not at all advocating that we get rid of technology. I do think however, that it may have been that very technological isolation that made it so much easier for them to find the treasures that I have only recently stumbled upon and have only just begun to discover: gratitude and presence.
I truly believe that once we start adding these two things into our lives, we will be freed from the anticipatory lifestyle of always waiting for the next thing and thus will be able to start living a life of luxury. Every. Single. Day.
Gratitude and presence, just two simple steps, two free steps, two steps that anyone can take. I’m not saying that it will be easy, but I am saying that you, and anyone who wants to, is capable of living a life of luxury, starting today. And the best part? No more waiting.
Let’s start with gratitude. When you are endlessly grateful, it’s nearly impossible to be stressed, upset, worried, anxious, or anything else getting in the way of your luxurious lifestyle. Everything that you want or yearn for that is somewhere in the distance, somewhere in the future, is quickly overwhelmed by how much you already have, right now, in the present. And by living in the present, the only time we ever truly have, we are freed from ruminating on the past or anticipating the future. We are here. We are now. We have so much. And just like that, we are living a life of luxury.
I know I made it seem really simple, but that’s because it is. By highlighting the simplicity of these ideas that have the potential to bring us so much inner joy, I hope we can see how accessible this lifestyle really is. I am also deeply aware that sometimes the simplest things are the hardest to practice. I have been on my own journey of personal exploration and growth for quite a few years now and I only just began seeing the luxury that gratitude and presence can bring into my everyday life. I know that I will have to work hard everyday to live this mindset. I know that I will mess up. A lot. I also know that I will keep trying. Over and over again. Because it’s worth it. Because when I do find that space of gratitude and presence, I experience the bliss of being freed from always waiting for the next thing to start living. The bliss of living now, in gratitude for all that I already have.
But how do we start practicing gratitude and presence?
I would start with gratitude. It’s as simple as making a list of things you are grateful for, and then doing it again, and again, and again. For more details on how to get started with gratitude check out my post here.
Presence is a bit more complicated but I think you can find it with the same principle. Begin focusing on what you are doing “right now” and try to live every moment of it. Do this over and over throughout the day and slowly you’ll find it starts coming to you naturally. I would also recommend starting a formal meditation practice later on, but personally I’ve found this is a hard place to start. If you’re looking for more thought-provoking inspiration on presence, I would highly recommend reading The Power of Now . I find myself reading and re-reading passages of this book finding more depth each time.
Thinking about luxury as presence and gratitude has shifted my outlook, actions, and habits, encouraging me to start living my life every single day. I hope you can find a similar space by reframing luxury and life in this way.
Let me know what you guys think; always happy to chat! :)