Life can be tricky and troubling and sometimes we feel ungrounded and lost. Sometimes when this happens, I write a list of reminders to myself and I thought you would like to read my most recent list.
One item not on this list is practice. For those of you who know me, you know this is a given. Six days a week, religiously. Without practice everything feels like it is falling apart, it provides a rhythm to my days and inner world to remind me what is important. Without it, you will find these 10 ways to love life difficult to enact.
For the theory to become lived, be sure to practice steadily over time.
1. You are not responsible for other people’s happiness.
I am sorry about the cliché – but truly happiness is an inside job. Yes, we need to work hard to overcome racism, homophobia, violence in all its forms. Yet we ultimately cannot control how other people feel or MAKE them happy. This is the life journey for each of us.
2. Bearing witness to another’s journey is a privilege.
Being present to another person’s journey, bearing witness, being present in their life is a privilege. To know someone with that sort of intimacy is indeed a gift, treasure it. Vulnerability is where connection exists, allowing yourself to be seen and seeing others in all their complexity.
3. Point 2, bearing witness, can be very hard, knowing that you don’t have the power to take away anyone’s pain.
Pain, sorrow, grief, loneliness are part of the human experience. To know love, joy and playfulness, we must know sorrow. You can’t take the pain away, that is not your job. But you can bear witness to the journey.
4. Everyone needs to do their own work, on their own timeframe, they can’t be rushed.
This can be hard. You know there are solutions, and you want to help people get unstuck. But it is not their time. Ultimately you don’t get to choose when or how people do the work and might ponder how much energy you are directing into trying to MAKE someone do the work they need to do in order to feel happy and connected. Again, see point 1 – you are not responsible for other people’s happiness.
5. Worry less of what others think of you and focus on being present because life is fleeting.
Too often we make decisions and life choices based on false notions of what other people are thinking. Become your own anchor and trust yourself. Living a life based on other people’s expectations is a recipe for dissatisfaction and burnout.
6. Don’t hold back. Life is short, tell people how you feel.
Take risks, tell people you love them. People are not mind readers. Try new things, develop your passions or hobbies.
7. Spend more time amongst the trees, allow them to become your teachers. They have blossomed and endured many storms and still grow towards the light.
The trees and rocks can be part of our healing. Trees have been here hundreds of years longer than us, rocks millions of years. It is that sort of groundedness that will get you through the hard times, seek solace in nature. The vast ocean, the enduring rock formations. Allow nature to seep into you as you realise you are not separate.
8. Drink lots of water, eat fresh fruit that is in season, grow your own food and be grateful for the abundance this earth provides.
Eating food you have grown is one of life’s pleasures. Feeling connected to the rhythms of the seasons brings an immense groundedness. Nourishing your body with local whole foods. Don’t be black and white in your thinking, allow food to bring you pleasure.
9. Be ok with not knowing, you don’t need to have it all figured out.
I remember when I was 19, I had the immense realisation that not all questions have answers. Be a work in progress, allow it to feel a little messy sometimes, stop needing to be in control.
10. Boundaries: people who love you will celebrate them.
Without boundaries life can become exhausting. People, work, social situations can be nourishing and they can also be toxic. Be aware of when you are ‘setting yourself on fire’ to keep others warm. Step away from situations wherein there is little or no reciprocity over the years. Boundaries give you energy to be present in life. Boundaries are hard…listen to our podcast to help remember why they are important.
What are some of your rules to live by? Do you find it hard to live this value-based life? Then join me on the mat, together we will figure it out through practice.
Wherever you are you can practice with me online via our online memberships.
PS. Interested in self compassion and boundaries? Email us to be first to receive the info about our June 2021 retreat with Jean, Rob, Saam and Samantha.
Image by congerdesign from Pixabay