Lying on my back under a tree, with my head in my hands, I gazed up at the leaves tossing and turning in the breeze above me, soaking up the rays of the sun and feeling blissful.
I was on a small private island in the Domain of Killien, feeling like I was in the middle of nowhere, on a warm, breezy summer afternoon, not far from the resort where I stayed.
I had lost all sense of time. Without a care, concern, doubt, or worry in the world, I was in a wild kind of heaven, away from the stress and the strain of modern day living and loving.
It felt good to be here, all alone, following my bliss, letting my mind drift, inviting my soul, relaxing my body, and giving my spirit rest. I heaved a sigh of contentment.
Your Path, Your Vision
Today, I consulted a dictionary, and as I read the definition of fulfillment, I realized the term had two essential meanings: execution and completion.
In other words, I learned that the fulfillment of my promise as a person is both an act or process of fulfilling my promise and a quality or state of being fulfilled in that promise.
Let me switch perspectives for a moment.
The ways in which you choose to fulfill your promise is your path of fulfillment and the way in which you imagine your quality or state of being fulfilled in this promise is your vision of fulfillment.
The image I sketched at the start of this post was, at one time, my vision of fulfillment, but I’ve since grown in my promise as a person, and so a new and fresh vision is desirable.
My current path of fulfillment would look and feel very different if I clung to my old vision of fulfillment. With a fresh vision for the fulfillment of my promise, I dare say that I can begin to blaze a new path of possibility.
A fertile ground for your expectation of success or excellence is made up of five overlapping layers under the surface of your fulfillment:
1) The totality of your health, fitness, and vitality is the most basic layer under fulfillment, upon which all the other layers rest; spending time at the base of your fulfillment means taking time to come to terms with a trauma, healing any wounds that you might have, and resolving any issues from the past; it means doing all that you can to be as healthy, fit, and vital as you can
2) The viability of your boundaries and standards is your next, higher layer under fulfillment, upon which the next three layers rest; spending time in this layer means establishing strong yet flexible boundaries for your person, as well as getting clear about your standards of propriety, success, and excellence. Doing so will make it that much easier for you to satisfy your needs and fulfill your desires in a consistent and timely manner
3) The maturity of your motivation and responsibility is the next, higher layer under fulfillment upon which the next two layers rest; to spend time in this layer means building a stable platform for striking a fair balance between freedom and responsibility: having the freedom to be yourself, being fully responsible for yourself, contributing to a cause beyond yourself, while curbing any tendency you might have to blame and/or shame others for your trials, troubles, and tribulations
4) The visibility of your intention to trust and respect others is the next, higher layer under fulfillment upon which the final layer rests; to spend time in this layer means improving or expanding your network of relationships so that you can find out who you are and what you’re capable of being, having, and doing in a wide variety of situations
5) The integrity of your commitment to clarify and live up to your values is the highest layer under fulfillment, and rests on all previous layers; to spend time and effort in this layer means focusing on what you do well so that you can discover what excites you most; it also means living your passion and your purpose so that you can fully realize what really and truly matters to you.
The pinnacle of your fulfillment has two related interpretations:
1) Continuity: when you no longer need to consciously cultivate who and what you are in relation to others, you can at last reap the rewards of having secured the five layers under fulfillment; the cultivation and enhancement of your life continues, but in ways that feel easy, natural, and spontaneous to you
2) Legacy: your conscious attention is placed on developing a lasting legacy for others to engage or enjoy after you die; it might be a material legacy for family or friends (e.g., an estate) or for the public at large (e.g. a trust fund), or it can be a spiritual legacy, which might include private letters to loved ones, memoirs, a published book, or a collection of works
It might be argued that leaving a lasting legacy is not necessary for you to enjoy the pinnacle of your fulfillment through continuity.