How to Live a Fulfilled, Joyful, Creative life

By Mary Jaksch

Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed with everything you have to do – just in order to survive? It can feel like being a hamster in a treadmill: you run endlessly – but never get anywhere. Let’s look at how to change that. Because there is good news:

Each one of us can lead a life that feels fulfilled, joyful and creative.

All it takes is a radical change of mind and heart. Before I say more about this change of mind, let’s take a closer look at why we often feel overwhelmed.

In order to survive, we need the necessities of life. We need to earn money in order to feed ourselves and our loved ones. We need shelter, clothes, medicine. All of this takes a lot of time and work to procure. Apart from work, there is cleaning and tidying our home, cooking meals, filling out tax returns, paying bills – and all the other tasks that make a settled life possible. And if you have children there are lot more tasks to take care of.

When we are in that mindset, our mind is cluttered with thoughts about mundane tasks, and that there is no space to develop new ideas or create new patterns. In other words, there seems to be no opportunity to thrive.

When we look carefully at what makes us feel trapped by chores, is that they are repetitive. It’s not like we do them once – and that’s it. There’s a story in the Greek mythology that is a great expression of the burden of repetitive chores. It’s the story of Sisyphus.

According to legend, Sisyphus was the founder and king of Corinth – and a thoroughly nasty individual. The Gods finally brought him to justice and gave him a frustrating and painful punishment: For all eternity he had to roll a great boulder to the top of a hill. Only every time Sisyphus, by the greatest of exertion and toil, attained the summit, the darn thing rolled back down again.hat’s what it can feel like when we have to clean the kitchen floor over and over again, or fill in tax forms year after year!

We can learn to live a life where there are no ‘chores’.

We can enjoy a life that is spacious and invites inspiration. It’s not that we have got rid of the daily tasks – it’s that we experience them totally differently.

We can find joy in the depth of ordinary life.

The key to the change of heart and mind is learning to let go fully into the present moment. So, instead of washing dishes and being weighed down by all the thousand dishes you washed in the past, and will wash again in the future – you experience the magic of washing just this one plate. You feel the hot water running over you hands and admire the clean sparkle as you put the plate in the rack.

The secret is doing one thing at a time with full engagement. That sounds simple, but it’s not easy. Our mind tends to flit off into all kind of other directions. We start to think about what happened to a friend we loved ten years ago, or thinking about the grocery list, or planning our next holiday.

When we do that, we miss out on happiness. Yes, that’s right, happiness. Because what makes us truly happy is experiencing the moment now.
What about your life?

Are you inspired by what you do?


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  1. I think it was from Zen Habits where I read about work as playing. I think that is what defines a wonderful life, where there is no work to be done but a lot of fun activities.

    Not that you will always be playing videogames or so, but where for example, coding a website is fun and you live doing that. I can happily say that is how I have started to live.

    Wonderful post Mary, I will share this one with my family!
    .-= Alejandro Reyes´s last blog ..Looking at green design… =-.

  2. Oh yes! I see all the elders around me taking life as if it was a war and I never understood why. They talk of war inside and live war outside too.
    I NEVER GET IT! lol I love living the way I live and yes it is indeed playful. 😉

    • vivek tiwari says:

      Oh brother, this life really a puzzle if the expenditure is compounded by the entanglement and laugh nd make laugh to other if you want to solve it……………………….bcz lyf ie the name of happiness

  3. Louis Dizon says:

    I think this is the best way for us to enjoy our lives. Every single moment and every single thing that we do is an opportunity for us to become happy. Leo Babauta also mentioned this in his blog. Being mindful and enjoying every single thing that we do is a good way to lead a happy life. I have been dealing with computer codes for almost 2 years and for sure I’ll be in this same environment for the following 5-10 years but I am doing my best to enjoy my programming tasks every single work day. This prevents me from feeling bored and sick of my job.

    But we should also be aware about the fact that this is not an easy thing to do. But nothing is impossible if we practice consistently.
    .-= Louis Dizon´s last blog ..Decluttering Online Life =-.

  4. Love the story of Sisyphus. I love how Metaphors can help you think of something without it being direct. Kind of like how a Zen Koan leads to silencing of the mind without that being the goal.
    .-= Richard |´s last blog ..Awareness Meditation =-.

  5. Very well put mary, life is repetition so find that things that you love to repeat the most! 🙂
    .-= Amit Sodha – The Power Of Choice´s last blog ..Why It’s Pointless Going To University To Get A Degree =-.

  6. I love the idea of blurring the lines between work and play. It makes complete sense. A big chunk of our life is spent working, running errands and doing chores. If these are all viewed as must dos, have tos and should dos, it makes for a pretty mundane life.
    .-= Sami – Life, Laughs & Lemmings´s last blog ..Random Acts of Kick Arse – Wacky =-.

  7. Fabian says:


    interesting point, for everyday chores or repetitve work, or even the big worries of life.

    But what when you are a doctor having to care for an individual patient? How can you dance through this?

  8. Tony says:

    This post was very helpful to me, thanks Mary! I’ve battled with depression my whole life and blogs like yours always brighten my day. thanks again.
    .-= Tony´s last blog ..Thoughts on making money =-.

  9. […] How to Live a Fulfilled, Joyful, Creative life | Goodlife Zen. Arquivada em Uncategorized ← […]

  10. justlife says:

    I’ve heard the story of Sisyphus before, but it’s describing about the depression patients where they need to suffer the darkness over and over again through a period. Yes indeed we can’t change the cycle and the only thing we can do is to change our attitude and perspective, that is enjoying the thing we do with full heart(1 thing at a time). Thanks Mary for a great post~

  11. 888yoga888 says:

    I am thinking of the folks who come here for the first time. I think people who come to this website are in pain and looking for help out of that. I think people who are already ‘happy’ and ‘fullfilled’ are not looking for something else. When we are filled with joy in the present moment (those who have mastered that enigma) we do not stop and think: Wow! all this joy is fantastic! I think I’ll serf the web looking for more!
    We don’t go searching for what we already have.
    I have much pain, fear and frustration in my life. Joy is fleeting. Bliss is hiding. The reality of being a human being terrifies me.
    I am not always in a state of terror. I am good at putting terror in the closet with the door closed for ahile so I can pretend I am bountiful, beautiful and blissful. Reality always interferes with my efforts.
    I am whining today because the pain is always around in the morning. Time to get that door open and cram it in for an emotional break from fear.
    Peace to all. Peace is my urgent wish, but so elusive! Others seem to get it (all the proof is here with all the good wishes in print all over the place). I only pretend to get it.
    Thanks for reading today! This (and by ‘this’ I mean this moment of despair that is menacing me) too shall pass and I will go on as I always do.

  12. Carol says:

    Really enjoyed this piece. Is there a way the video can be made to work again–it says there’s a copyright issue when you try to play it.

  13. Vlad says:

    Just wanted to thank you for a wonderful post. Living in the moment is truly a form of art. I remember being overwhelmed by the numerous pressures from my life. Sometimes, it felt like a big joke – just keep at and things will get better, but they were just the same over and over again. It’s easy to lose hope. When I began practicing being in the moment, even in such mundane things as walking to the corner store or standing in line at a bank, it was as if a giant weight got lifted off my shoulders. It no longer mattered how long this task would take or if I had to do it all over again the next day. Being in that moment made me feel alive and connected to everyone else who was standing in that line with me. We are all here together, trying to do our best, trying to find happiness, trying to follow our dreams. Well, sometimes it’s OK to just be. It reminds us that we’re human!

  14. Mike Smith says:

    I feel for the person 888yoga888 life should be joyful, sure we have problems and worries a long lifes pathway. But for the main part we create our surroundings, what happens to us is mostly of our own making. People may choose to be unhappy, or unfriendly, or looks open life in a negative way. I grant you there are exceptions. I believe if you are of sound mind and have a healthy lifestyle, by that I mean your able to choose the foods you eat and what you choose to drink, affects your liver and the condition of your liver affects your brain. The healthier the liver the better the brain functions. I don’t mean you will be more intelligent, but you will be more positive in your thinking, and grateful for all the things you have in life.

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