Personal Contentment

Truthfully my mind was blank this week.  I had no inspiration to sit down and write in this space.  Summer is always a tough time for me.  It turns out to be one long wait for the weekend when I can get out of NYC and breathe some fresh air.  I am trying to embrace these next months though.  Being mindful that it is the last bunch of days that it will just be “us.”  Mike, myself and Zeppelin sleeping in on a Saturday, and venturing out into SoHo for a long afternoon of shopping.  Not to say this won’t be a possibility in the future, it will just look different, better in fact with a sweet baby boy in tow. 

Now on to my point.  Three things that I have come across this week struck me in the same way, and I would like to share.  First the passing of Burt Shavitz, the founder of Burt’s Bees, second a Chef’s Table episode on Netflix about chef Francis Mallman, and finally an inspirational blurb that my mother sent me from a colleague.  All have to do with saying true to your beliefs, living a life that you love despite what others may think, and making an impact on the world in a small way rather than trying to reach huge audiences.

As we know from all that has been published this week,  Burt Shavitz was content living in a small cottage with no electricity or running water, despite the success of the company he founded.  It seems his greatest loss in life was not the millions of dollars that were made by his business partner when Burt’s Bees was sold to Clorox, rather the loss of the love that they once shared.  He was content with his small life in Maine, and she was not.  As the company grew she pushed to maximize it’s potential while Burt stayed true to the simplicity he wanted in his life.  This seems to be what tore them apart in the end, although he was able to maintain the existence he desired.

A similar story is told about Chef Francis Mallman, who spends most of his time on a private island in Patagonia.  His talent knows no bounds, and he has won awards that illustrate that.  However, he talks more about maintaining a life that he loves rather than the accolades he has received.  His need for freedom in his life seems to have sabotaged some relationships as well, but in the film it is clear that he loves his kids with great passion, and that they respect his unattached life.

Third, the sentiment that my mom so kindly shared with me.  In it a rabbi talks about the constant stream of world news, and how we feel the need as humans to strive to impact great masses of people.  It seems that the people who are recognized in this life have been able to do so, whether their act was one of kindness or malice.  If one person is killed it can easily be overlooked, but if several happen to be involved we are somehow more effected.  The same goes for making positive change.  We strive to reach bigger audiences, especially with social media through our businesses and beliefs, but what we overlook is how each day we may be able to impact one person positively.  Something we do may resonate with that one, and make all the difference in their life.

As I pull these stories together I think about how important it is for all of us to really look inside, and find the values that truly make us happy.  Once found these are the items that we should live by day by day.  If this is done, despite what everyone around us may think or feel, we will be whole and happy at the end of our lives.  For me this truly means loving without fear or regard for consequences, and continuing to broaden my knowledge through reading and exploration.  I have been warned in the past that falling head over heels in love with boyfriends, best friends, and family could lead to intense pain…and it has.  It also has brought me almost all of the true happiness that I have been blessed with in my life.  Loving endlessly means being vulnerable, but I am okay with that knowing it is really who I am at my core.  Continuing to learn is my other true life calling.  If I could be a student for life, I would.  Alas, my total disregard for money, doesn’t allow for that :)  However, I can continue to read and educate myself on any topic that interests me, and that brings true contentment to my soul.

If I am able to stay true to these two important cornerstones in my life, I am then able to pass on that love and knowledge to the people around me.  My small circle of close friends and family, as I too am somewhat of a hermit like Burt, are affected by these values and can then pass them on.  I think sometimes that I should meet more people, branch out, promote myself and my business through social media.  In truth, it is just not who I am.  I rather impact one, who can then spread that love or knowledge on and hopefully the message will live through the ripple that is created.

I encourage you to think about the pillars in your life that make you who you are at the core, and how you can stay to true to those in an effort to be happy with yourself.  In turn you can then consider how passing those on to even just one person will have a positive impact in the world.  If you're interested in in learning more about the stories of either Burt Shavitz or Francis Mallmann click on the links.