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Our Lives Are Measured in Love, Not Numbers

Love

“In the end, these are the things that matter most: How well did you love? How fully did you live? How deeply did you let go?” ~Buddha

Last year my yoga teacher told a story in class about Hanuman, an ancient Hindu god depicted as a monkey. When asked what he was devoted to, Hanuman opened his chest and there were Sita and Ram, sitting on his heart, always with him. He was their greatest devotee.

The story stuck with me.

“What do I hold closest to my heart?” I asked myself quite often, and I was not getting the answer I wanted. Where was the dream I held close to my heart? Was I truly devoted to love, joy, and peace, or just appearing to be?

What I observed was that numbers subtly defined my life.

Numbers. Money, time, days until, days since, age, weight, calories, date, GPA, mile time, social media likes, followers, lovers, breakups, countries visited, height, miles driven, time left, time passed, books read, books to read, miles run, seconds in a handstand.

I felt like I was living a quantitative life.

I enjoy math and I think science is fascinating. Numbers have so much to offer the world, but they should not be playing a role in how we measure the value of our lives.

Numbers are everywhere, and they offer us an opportunity to look at the decisions we are making. Numbers can help us set goals, assess our progress, and recognize areas for growth.

There is so much that can be measured in numbers, but this realization offered me an amazing insight.

Often, a number cannot define what matters most. It has to be expressed with words and felt with the heart.

Laughter. Connection. Love. Organic, raw experiences. Spontaneity. Forgiveness. Adventure. These are all things that numbers cannot distinguish.

As a human, it does not matter how old I am; my age is irrelevant if I am happy.

As a twenty-four-year-old, it does not matter how many relationships I have had that did not work out.

What matters is that I am willing to feel and open my heart to another person. That I am willing to learn and make mistakes and be grateful for all that has come out of the relationships I have been in. What matters is whether I have been able to forgive others and myself for the mistakes we have made.

As a traveler, it does not matter the number of countries I have visited.

What matters are the experiences I have collected under my belt that become the keys to unlock doors I may encounter in the future. What matters are the genuine connections I have made, the laughter I have shared, with people twenty years older and twenty years younger, who speak a different language than me.

As a social media participant, it does not matter how many likes I get on a photo. What matters is if I am using social media as a platform for authenticity, connection, and positivity.

As a yoga teacher, it does not matter how many people come to my class. What matters is that my students walk away feeling light and love.

As a runner, it does not matter if I run for twenty minutes or two hours. What matters is the intention of treating my body as my home, where I live and doing my best to take care of my home.

As a yogi, it does not matter how long I meditate or can hold a handstand. What matters is union, my breath connecting my body with my mind.

As a woman, it does not matter how much I weigh. What matters is that I feel healthy. Health is a state of wholeness, happiness, and vibrancy in all aspects of our lives—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

The point is not to eliminate numbers, but to be aware of the purpose that they serve.

Celebrate birthdays. Make countdowns. Set goals. But don’t fall into the habit of defining yourself by your numbers, or comparing yours to someone else’s. Two lives can be equally valuable with completely different sets of measurements.

Within every human there is a place that is love in its purest form. This is where we store the wishes we place upon pennies before tossing them into fountains. It's the place where we hold memories that make our eyes sparkle and our hearts beat with joy. The place inside us where we dream big and without fear. It is a love for ourselves and a love for all that is.

If there is anything that defines us, it is this love.

Most importantly, numbers are not necessary to define this present moment. We don’t need any math to appreciate the moment we are in right now. Everything is simply as it should be.

About Katie Jensen

Katie Jensen is a life enthusiast, yoga teacher, and occasional hot mess currently enjoying her journey in the Pacific Northwest. She is a lover of travel, connection, adventure, and mother earth. After graduating in 2013, Katie spent two years traveling the world. She is currently taking prerequisite classes in hopes of attending nursing school. Follow her on Instagram at @kayteejay91.

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  • Tania Potter

    I loved this perspective Katie, it really captures such an important point so well.

  • katie jensen

    thank you for taking the time to read it and share your thoughts. Love and light to you Tania!

  • Less measurement. More in-moment living. Thank you for sharing this post. Our minds like numbers but so does our greater society which insists on measuring things. Top 10 lists, top universities, best places to work etc etc. We have to fight both our internal and societal attempts to define and measure happiness.

  • Joseph Dabon

    Ms. Jensen,
    Wow! This article woke me up from drowsiness. I particularly like this part,

    “Within every human there is a place that is love in its purest form. This is where we store the wishes we place upon pennies before tossing them into fountains.”

    I like the prose, poetic without the metrics of poetry. Very well said and very profound.

    Thanks and good luck with your handstands. But I must confess I really don’t understand why people are so crazy with yoga. LOL!

  • Supriya Rao

    Thanks Katie 🙂 Feeling light!

  • David Rivero

    beautifully written, great post Katie.

  • katie jensen

    thank you for reading, David!

  • Katie Jensen

    ahh lightness is such a treat! i hope it stays with you

  • Katie Jensen

    your words are so kind, Joseph- thank you! have you tried yoga? As a teacher I am biased, but I think it can benefit everyone. I didn’t like it at first either though 🙂

  • Joseph Dabon

    Sadly, no. But a couple of days ago, I watched this TV serial of Morgan Freeman title, Knowing God. In one episode he visited a Buddhist temple in India, I think, and asked the yogi how to meditate. And you know what the yogi’s answer was? The simplest form is just to concentrate on your breath.

    I started doing that and surprisingly, it is probably the most effective way of removing stressful thoughts from my mind.

  • Thank you Katie. This was a great reminder that while numbers do matter, they don’t matter for everything.

  • Katie Jensen

    Congratulations! our breath is our greatest tool. I find it very helpful as well

  • Katie Jensen

    numbers effects us in ways we are not even aware of. I didnt even think of top ten lists. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  • katie jensen

    you’re welcome, joel. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. I truly appreciate it.