Life is much too important to be taken seriously.
Life comes in waves.
It ebbs and flows.
Let things come
and let things go.
Happy Monday! As we start our work week, I wanted to remind us all of the importance of play. What exactly is play?
Play is light hearted and enjoyable. When it stops being fun, people stop playing. It is voluntary yet it operates within given boundaries. It is trivial although the outcomes are often highly significant. It is completely absorbing, the opposite of repetition and routine. And finally, it is necessary in order to live a meaningful existence.
We can (and should) grow up but we should never stop playing.
“Dream big. Hold the dream high enough, consistently enough, and the dream must manifest into form, by law. By universal law, it cannot fail to do so. Do not worry about how. It is all taken care of for you as long as you do your part of thinking, acting, speaking, and being in accordance with that dream. Just dream, visualize, and then start doing something. Do the next thing that you feel you should do in accordance to that dream, and keep on moving. The little that you do triggers something else that you had not foreseen and on and on this goes until it completes.” –I am Wealth, I am Abundance, I am Joy
It’s a guiding life principle with which we’re all familiar: Always do your best.
Of course, your best is a fluid concept. It will be different, for example, after a sleepless night than when you wake up refreshed and energized. The idea is to do your best every day, no matter the quality of it.
But this seems a somewhat daunting task, doesn’t it? I mean, to always do your best feels like an awful lot of pressure.
What if we starting looking at our life through the lens of moments, rather than days?
In this case, we need only do our best in this very moment. Now that doesn’t seem too hard, does it?
If we can commit to doing our best in this moment, that act alone will inherently put us in the best place for the next moment. And on it goes…
“Slow down. You’re too important. Life teaches you how to live it, if you can live long enough.”
-Tony Bennett to Amy Winehouse
Do you consider yourself to be open-minded? Are you willing to shatter personal illusions in pursuit of personal freedom? If you haven’t had a chance to read Don Miguel Ruiz’s book The Four Agreements, I highly recommend it. It’s a quick read but packs a powerful punch. In fact, I read the whole thing while sitting at an AutoZone one day waiting for my tire to be fixed.
Don Miguel Ruiz is a shaman of the Toltec tradition. More a way of life than a religion, Toltec wisdom embraces the spirit and arises from the same essential unity of Truth as other sacred traditions. The simple yet profound agreements about which Ruiz writes are summarized below.
If you can take five minutes out of your day to read through these points, you’ll quickly be on your way to experiencing personal freedom like never before. Write them down, share them with friends, or put them on your refrigerator. Do whatever you can to embrace and live by these four agreements and I can assure you that your life will be infinitely better for it.
1. Be Impeccable With Your Word. As human beings, the word is the most powerful tool that we have, and the tongue our most powerful weapon. Words are things. They get on your walls, your upholstery, your clothes, and finally into you. Our word contains all of our creative power. Through our word, we think, express, communicate, and ultimately act, thereby creating the events of our lives. With such power at our disposal, we really ought to be more intentional with our word (even impeccable, as Ruiz suggests). What does it mean to be impeccable with your word? Speak with integrity and say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or others. Instead, direct the power of your word towards Truth and love. Truth is the most important part of being impeccable with your word. And impeccability of the word is the starting point on the pathway to personal freedom.
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally. Your point of view is personal to you. It’s your version of the truth. In the same vain, what others say and do is a projection of their own reality. In other words, nothing other people say or do is because of you. If you can internalize this idea, you will become immune to the opinions and actions of others. When we begin to really see other people as they are, without taking it personally, we protect ourselves from needless suffering. We’re no longer hurt by what they say or do because we know it’s in no way related to us. Remember, we’re not responsible for other people’s decisions. We’re only responsible for our own. When we truly grasp this, it’s like a weight has been lifted and in its place is a deep, profound sense of inner peace.
3. Don’t Make Assumptions. Ask. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life. All too often we make assumptions by our own accord and wrongfully believe them to be true. When the truth finally comes out, we realize that it was not at all what we thought. Find the courage to ask questions. Perhaps you need to gather more facts about a particular situation. Real love is accepting other people the way they are without trying to change them. If you don’t understand, ask for an explanation. How much sadness and drama could be avoided if we simply practiced communicating with others as clearly as possible without making assumptions?
4. Always Do Your Best. Your best is going to change from moment to moment. It will be different when you’re healthy as opposed to sick. When you wake up refreshed and energized in the morning, your best will be better than when you are tired after a sleepless night. Under any circumstance and regardless of the quality, simply keep doing your best. By committing to this, you avoid the self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret that come from doing anything less.
Self-acceptance is a way of viewing oneself compassionately, without condemning or justifying yourself. It is the starting point in life that opens the door to all other things.
“The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours- it’s an amazing journey- and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.” – Bob Moawad
Why is it that when things are going good we worry that at any second they could go bad…yet, when things are going bad, we forget that at any second things could turn good?
Highs and lows are an inherent part of life’s cyclical nature. By now, we’re acutely aware of this. So why are we still trying to change this basic, natural law?
Why would we want to disrupt the flow of life?
There is no cure for highs and lows. We cannot “fix” it. And who are we to say it needs fixing in the first place?
If we can stop trying to escape the inevitable alternation of pleasure and pain, we can simply relax and be fully present for the wonder that is our lives.