2016 was a doozy, full of some super high highs and some wickedly low lows. In the midst of one of those lows, my daughter and I cuddled up in bed talking about how to live lives of integrity even in the face of obstacles. In the front of my journal and planner, I always write the same three questions as a guide to living the life I want to, as a guide to not getting swept up in the busy, in the difficulties, or carried away in the successes either. 2016 had a few moments that humbled the sh*t out of me, that left my head spinning, that struck me to my core, but without a doubt, reconnected me to who I am and who I want to be in this world.
Who Am I?
Who Do I Want To Be?
Who Will I Serve?
Life changes so quickly and we are so often confronted with situations and decisions that challenge who we are. These core questions always remind me:
Who am I? Really, who am I in this moment? Am I who I wanted to be? Am I letting situations dictate who I am? Am I letting myself be led by others around me? Or, am I totally rocking it out? Am I everything I want to be in this moment? Does this decision that I am facing align with who I am? Does it help me get to a better version of myself or is it going to sidetrack me?
Who do I want to be? What do I want from this year, this day, this moment? How do I want to project myself out into the world? Is this decision or action helping me grow? What actions can I take to be more in line with who I want to be?
Who Will I Serve? For some this may elicit a religious connotation, but for me, it is more a mission statement for life. If someone asked me what the purpose of life is, I would say to serve others. I don’t think there is a greater purpose than helping better the lives of those around us. (This may be why my sister mockingly called me Mother Teresa for most of my life:))
When I left my career as a forensic interviewer working with abused children, I suddenly felt lost, like my life didn’t have purpose. Nothing I did felt as big or as meaningful as that and the more isolated I became the more “me” focused I was. But, I came to realize that I could serve people, including my family, in a million different big and small ways and even those really tiny ways, like holding a door for a mom and her child, have a ripple effect that makes positive change. When I reconnected to that mission of living heart first, everything felt right again. I keep this question as a constant reminder to live the life that means the most to the world.
A few weeks ago, when I posted my three question process to Instagram, I had a lot of responses, including one that suggested it as a print. (Light bulb!:)) I immediately asked our dear friend Athena Pelton to letter it up, to make it something I could share. You don’t have to give your email or sell your first born, just click right here and download to your heart’s content.
I’ve posted mine on the back of our front door, so that every day when we leave the house, it reminds each of the members of my little family to walk out that door and live the life we mean to, the one that settles our soul, and makes us feel connected, loved and at peace with the world.
No matter what your goal is, as long as it comes from this starting point, you can never go wrong.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Grace Ray is a former child forensic interview specialist, reformed home decor blogger, writer and editor (who has a difficult time being serious whenever there is a camera around). She is proud to be the co/founder of Do It Well, Co.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Athena Pelton is a photographer, storyteller, motorbiker, and self-professed do-it-all-er. She creates with a fervor and zest and her work embodies a tangible, heartfelt passion. Recently her writing was recognized by NPR and the Minneapolis Star Tribune. She lives near Minneapolis with her husband and two wombfruits.