Take a look around, wherever you are, and take all of it in. What're you surrounded by? You probably have some pictures around, of memorable trips, friends or even family, perhaps a special someone. The tools of your profession may be in the picture. Awards, accolades, pictures to drive your vision, a list of goals, mints, gum, candy, scattered mementos and a host of other odds and ends dot the landscape of your current location, wherever that may be. Maybe they are on a desk or on your person, but they are there, the reminders of our lives in physical form.
From the photos on our phones to the clothing we wear, we are constantly surrounded by the things associated with our lives. Are they enough for you? Truly, do you look at your life and feel contentment? Happiness? An awareness of the blessings within it? Or do you look at the horizon, constantly dreaming of more and better, questing for the proverbial greener grass?
Sitting across the table from my friend Malia, Connection 25, she tells me about a video she recently saw. In it the speaker is in a gym talking about how you should be absolutely obsessed with your goals, driven to achieve them more than to breathe. As she tells me about it, a vision of a different man passes through my mind. Not an outside image, but rather the world viewed through his eyes, my own less than a year ago. Nothing was ever enough for me, and for my own glory I would have sacrificed everything in life; happiness, relationships, passion and purpose along with so much more.
The world was not enough for me. Malia does not have that problem. My friend is as wise as she is beautiful.
Since our first connection, Malia Schofield and I have built a bit of a friendship. Sharing inspiration via text, the occasional meetup for coffee and even some time shared at the 100 Connections picnic in November. She has become one of my favorite conversation partners. We send time flying as we talk about life, love, dreams and our own philosophies. Never does a conversation with her pass where I don't learn something, see some new perspective on life or some new piece of myself reflected in her friendship and in our talks.
We share lives with one another, the smiles and the cries, the victories and losses, the accumulated wisdom of years between us.
During our first conversation Malia talked about not knowing what her dream was, not in the sense of some overall master framework. She wasn't bothered by it, not disturbed by its absence, she is young and knows it takes time and life to form those things. I myself didn't discover my dream until I was 38 years old, not truly.
Perhaps what is most amazing about Malia, on a list of things that are remarkably amazing about her, is her joy. Malia has an amazing smile, one of the most genuine I have ever seen. There is a happiness and true joy to her life that can only be found when we are content with what we have. In a world, at a time, when we are all taught that our lives should be built by our insatiable desire for more, Malia sees the blessings she has in her life and loves them.
We talk about our lives, eating lunch as the sun comes through the windows of this little spot, a blessing in its own right. She tells me about business, about planning a wedding and the excitement of an upcoming trip, some much wanted time away with loved ones. She tells me about Chris, her fiance', he says hello, and I tell her how I really like him and would love to talk to him some more. I tell her about my upcoming business launch, about writing and new adventures, about Mary Ann and the joy we have found together. She asks about our plans for Christmas and I tell her we will be spending our first one together here.
We share the details of our lives, the joys and the shifts, even the struggles, and yet we never talk about it not being enough. We share our abundant lives with each other and celebrate our blessings together. I have learned so much about joy and contentment from Malia; learned to enjoy my blessings and my bounty, to enjoy what is here instead of consuming and craving more. Listening to her talk, sharing this moment with her, I wonder if she even knows how much she has taught me.
We talk about authenticity, about being our true self and the power there is in that. I tell her how I view the world differently, how I walk among different tribes and families, enjoying acceptance but not compromising to be loved. I tell her about how I define my personal value, about the power that comes from that. She listens intently and I say a silent prayer as I speak, praying that what I share with her might help her. This is the prayer we say when we share our lives with the people we care about. Malia talks to me about her quest for that same thing I have found, about her triumphs and her trials.
As the sun moves across the sky, I see Malia Schofield, not view her.
We talk of principle and point of view, of loving someone or using them to love yourself. We dance among so many topics that it is a shame to realize time has passed and we must move on. We say our goodbyes and hug, already planning for the next time we will spend together, with Chris and Mary Ann joining us.
Walking to my car I think about how wonderful our time was. It was a great conversation, a great chance to catch up, a true gift and blessing. Time flew quickly as it does when we are with the people who bring us joy, but I do not want for more. No, this time with Malia was perfect.
My friend Malia has taught me contentment again.