A few years ago, I was asked to write a piece for Inspire Me Today, a wonderful website built, it seems, to remind us all of the magic of our lives. What I like most about this site is that is not one of those false, pseudo-new age endeavors that attempts to link itself to the self-help or self-fulfillment craze. It, instead, is truly an attempt to direct us all to our personal humanity. As a memoirist, the people at Inspire Me Today must have believed I had been looking so intently inward through my writing that maybe I had something relevant to say. It was a wonderful compliment and it still humbles me today that the editors at the site asked me to participate.
What are your five daily habits for a bountiful life?
This is the question I was asked to consider and write about. I’ve been thinking a great deal about this question recently, in a time when kindness is hard to find, when strident political discourse is the norm, and when so many are misunderstood. And as the holidays near, the question seems to be an even more important one to ask ourselves.
Here’s how I answered that question then for Inspire Me Today and how I would continue to answer it today.
Five things to believe in for a bountiful life; five life habits that if considered daily, you can’t help enrich your existence.
One: Truly listen. Look in the eyes of others and be in the moment. Wait to speak. Take in the words they offer and savor them before reacting. You might call this “the patience of thought.” You cannot honestly connect with another living thing if you are only considering your own response. Understand your fellow human and you will understand yourself.
Two: Be kind. Consider your fellow human being’s experience, background, personal, and community struggles. Speak softly and with compassion, and do not raise your voice. Kindness is part of every spiritual endeavor. Even if you do not agree or believe in what someone has to say or how they are progressing through their personal life, you must be gentle with your guidance and your thoughts. You cannot walk in their shoes, only your own. We are more alike than we are different.
Three: Be your vision. Don’t strive to be the person you want to be, just be it. The power in being the best you comes through the decision to be that person every single day. It’s not necessarily about dreams or specific goals, but more about a belief in your own vision. Stand up each day and be the person you admire.
Four: Live with simplicity. Realize that whatever you have is probably enough. Do not permit materialism or consumerism to decide your worth or your pleasure. Savor what is in front of you and do not strive for false satisfaction in more “things” or “opportunities.” Scrub out your cupboard, clean your garage, and clear your mind of clutter. Eliminate what is not needed. Less truly is more.
Five: Embrace something bigger than you. The universe is an enormous, diverse, and rich entity and there are many wonderful mysteries. Find your personal mystery and allow it to enhance your existence—pray to a god, get lost in nature, meditate. Find where you fit into the world and then give yourself up to the beauty of something more powerful than you. It is truly the way to peace.
Happy holidays, everyone.