I believe we’re all trying to do the best we can with the experience and knowledge we have, and within the boundaries or circumstances we find ourselves in.
I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know that I can try to help make it better for others as well as myself by being kind, honest and loving as much as I am able to. I know that there will be connections lost along the way, but also many more meaningful connections made. I also know that I am a flawed person who will continue to make plenty of mistakes, and that hopefully I will continue to learn from them.
The following collection of eleven principles to live by is something I have sort of decided for myself that I want to continue to work on in my life, and also to encourage in my children as they grow. There is no particular order or rank of importance, and surely it will evolve over time, as does everything else.
1. Be inclusive – interact with others. Smile, wave, shake hands, participate, hold doors open, strike up a conversation with a stranger. By helping others feel like they matter and belong, I also feel a sense of belonging.
2. Attempt to see the world through the eyes of others, not for comparison, but instead for compassion. I believe we can learn a lot from each other when we are willing to look.
3. Learn to let go of the past and not to focus too much on previous failures, losses or battles. Forgive people who I felt have wronged me. Learn from my mistakes. Stay in the current moment by developing more resilience.
4. Follow my dreams. I write down my goals each year, and then often break them down by month and by week. I try to set some lofty annual goals in the areas of health/wellness, family, work (accomplishments as well as income) and other personal goals, including ones that may take several years to work toward. At the same time, I have to remind myself that not accomplishing them does not make me a failure, it’s the pursuit that is exciting for me.
5. Try to focus on the positives rather than negatives in life. I consider myself an eternal optimist, and the more positivity I can put my attention on, the more I will attract in return and experience around me through a higher frequency or vibration.
6. Get out and experience nature. Whether it’s just taking a walk, having a garden or taking care of some animals, I try to notice the beauty that all living things possess. Fresh flowers, a chipmunk running across the yard, or the smell of a tea olive tree.
7. Find time and space for quiet reflection and meditation. For me, this comes in many forms, such as sitting or lying down for silent or guided meditations, mindful walks, going for a drive, and even things such as doing dishes, taking a shower or preparing a meal. I also receive great benefit from writing.
8. Cherish friends and family and cultivate more meaningful relationships. Connection is essential, and there are no closer connections than with those whom I love and care for the most. This simple statement cannot be emphasized enough.
9. Adopt an attitude of gratitude and humility. Be thankful for the things, people and experiences I do have instead of complaining about or comparing what I don’t have.
10. Apply the Golden Rule and treat others as I would want them to treat me or someone I love. Be polite, tolerant, accepting and rid myself of judgmental thoughts and actions as much as possible, allow them to pass when they are present and forgive myself when I fail to do so.
11. Look at the moon, stars and visible planets when I can, in awe, as a reminder of how vast our universe is. It helps me to remember to let go of the small problems of daily life and embrace the experience of living.