The unexamined life is not worth living.
So said Socrates in the 5th Century BC.
And they are words that ring true two thousand years later. Reflecting on our experiences, examining what there is to learn, and what there is to leave, fills life with richness and depth.
Otherwise life can be pretty flimsy. Think of the difference between a living breathing presence, and a cardboard cut out.
If you’re like me you are looking for a substantial experience of life. And reflective writing can certainly deepen our understanding and appreciation of what life is offering us.
So how can you make your life worth living?
Here are some inquiries to encourage you to examine and reflect on your experience:
What pleases me?
Identifying the things that bring most satisfaction in life is an important baseline to establish.When we know what pleases us – even the simplest things – we can always find refuge and relief in them.
What is challenging me?
Rather than turn away from difficult situations it is worth considering what is making them difficult, and what you are being invited to learn. Are they intrinsically challenging – or is your perception and way of dealing with them a significant issue? And what lies on the other side of the challenge for you?
What calls me?
Becoming aware of the things that interest you, that always catch your eye, that you most appreciate and want to spend more time appreciating is a useful examination. When you feel a calling it has an urgency about it, an inspired impulse that is practically impossible to ignore.
How am I responding?
Do you talk yourself out of your impulses? Do you resist them? Are you over-thinking? Over-rationalising? This is a sign that you are not being true to your own life but are rather attempting to super-impose a set of rules or obligations or expectations that your ego mind feels more comfortable with.
When beginning to examine and reflect on your life bear in mind that it’s the juiciness that makes it worth living. Pleasure, appreciation, challenges, lessons, call and response are useful things to hone in on to feel productive, worthwhile and connected.
Do write in the comments what these inquiries evoke for you – and whether there are other access points for you in examining your life.