“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know”-Pema Chodron
As I sit here pondering how to approach writing this post, I can’t help but think of my precious children. What lessons have I learned throughout my life that may help them live happier and more fulfilling lives?
In the same breath, I know they need freedom to live their own lives. They will make mistakes and face challenges, like we all do. Hopefully these experiences will help them grow stronger and wiser.
That being said, as their mother, I feel that part of my role is to share with them some of the wisdom I’ve gained on my own journey; the things that perhaps could have served me well if I had known them at a younger age.
The list below contains 5 lessons I’ve learned throughout my life.
Meditation is Your Best Sidekick
Meditation is one of my favorite practices. I do it every day of my life because I love it. I attend meditation classes and I teach it as well. My children enjoy it too.
It is almost impossible to believe that just sitting and quieting the mind can benefit you profoundly. It sounds too simple, right? How can it be true? Don’t I need to work hard to achieve success and happiness? Isn’t relaxing and trying to still my mind a waste of time? Shouldn’t I be doing something more productive?
Meditation is very powerful. Do not underestimate its magnitude. As an observer watching someone meditate it may look like nothing is happening, but, in fact, everything that is important is happening.
Meditation is a secret passageway to accessing the best feelings, a broader perspective, and inspiration.
It is difficult for me to explain in words or on an intellectual level what it is that you are accessing during meditation. All I can say is that it’s beautiful and it makes you feel incredibly alive. Like the touch of a wand, it can shift you from a dark, negative space to a light, positive space.
You realize that life is supposed to be more fun, not the big hairy deal that we make it out to be.
You come to know that you can achieve anything in life, if you just let go of the mental struggle. When you release the mental struggle, you feel a flow of wellbeing. Then, you’ve accessed inspired thoughts which lead you to inspired actions that can take you anywhere you want to go.
I could go on and on about the beauty of meditation, but words don’t teach. Experience teaches. So, please give meditation a try and experience the wonder for yourself.
The World is Your Oyster
I wish I had known as a child that I could be, do, or have anything in life. I was led to believe that there was only one path to success and happiness; go to university, get a degree, obtain a good paying 9-5 job, buy a house, get married, have kids, and then live happily ever after.
What a load of baloney! It’s like trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there are people who have followed this path and are happy and successful. But, it’s certainly not the path for everyone.
What I’ve come to discover is that it’s important to stand by who you truly are and to cultivate your own passions in life. Don’t be afraid to stand up and speak out for what’s important to you. It will empower you and propel you positively forward in life.
I know that it’s difficult for us to not conform to the opinions of others. We care about what people think of us, especially our parents, teachers, and friends. But trying to please everyone else is a losing battle. You may lose yourself.
Just be the loving and joyful spirit that you are. Turn within and do what feels right for you. Allow yourself to gravitate to the things in life that excite you and make you feel eager.
When you love what you do, then your passion will lead you to your purpose in life. In turn, you will feel a deep sense of happiness and satisfaction.
Try your best to express kindness and compassion towards people, animals, our planet, and ourselves.
Kindness and compassion are essential sources of happiness and fulfillment.
When you view the world from a place of compassion, you access a broader understanding of love, forgiveness, and acceptance. It has the power to bring us together despite our differences.
Figure out ways to reach out and help others. There are numerous methods.
For instance, give hugs. A simple hug can be more powerful than any words can say. I’m a hugger for sure. I hug my friends and family all the time and I even hug trees on occasion. My children know that they can’t leave the house or go to sleep without hugging me first.
As well, it’s important to show your children the significance of compassion. I regularly express the importance of it to my children. I get them involved.
For example, my family supports a child who lives in Guatemala. My children draw pictures, write letters, and help me pick out presents for her. It feels so good to all of us.
Other simple acts of kindness may include complimenting others, donating food or clothes, cooking a meal for someone else, shoveling snow for your neighbor, and volunteering.
It doesn’t matter what you do to help. What matters is cultivating compassion within ourselves and spreading it wherever we go.
Stop Taking Life so Seriously
Lighten up. Many of us take life way to seriously. In the end we are all going to die.
I’m not trying to be morbid, but sometimes we need to be reminded that life is short and the end result is always the same.
Many of us tend to stress over even the most insignificant things in everyday life. We look for reasons to complain. We stress out because the coffee we ordered wasn’t filled correctly, our child spilled milk all over the floor, we woke up with a pimple on our face, we are stuck in traffic again, etc.
You know as well as I that it’s ridiculous to get upset over these silly things. But, we do it all the time.
At your next opportunity, catch yourself before you react. Remind yourself that you don’t need to freak out over something that doesn’t really matter. Make the choice to see it from a lighter perspective. Just breathe and brush it off or simply laugh at it.
If you practice catching yourself on a regular basis it will become habit and you will feel much better about your life.
I know that there are things in life that have to be taken more seriously, but even then, it doesn’t have to consume you with stress. Whether you’re studying for an important exam, getting ready for a big public speech, or punching many hours at work, you can lighten the load.
Give yourself regular mini breaks. Even if it’s for a couple of minutes to breathe, meditate, go for a quick walk, chat with a friend, or grab a snack. As well, remember to treat yourself for your hard work and successes.
The bottom line is that there is no value in taking life so seriously. It will only make you miserable. Make it a daily habit to figure out ways to lighten up. I’ve learned firsthand that you can find some light even in your darkest moments.
You Must Take Care of Yourself
You have just the one body that supports you through life. We often take it for granted, disrespect it and, at times, abuse it. It’s like we forget that it’s the only body we will ever have and that it can break down.
Often, we only become aware of its importance when we get older and/or when something goes wrong.
It’s imperative to take a proactive approach, rather than a reactive approach, when it comes to your body.
Your entire system (mind, body, and spirit) must be worshiped like a God or Goddess. By giving it the respect it deserves your chances of a happy, healthy life is much higher.
There are many ways to nurture yourself. Below are some examples:
- Eat Healthy
- Exercise regularly
- Sleep well
- Connect with positive, loving people
- Relax more
- Laugh more
- Love more
- Play more
- Connect with nature
This list could go on and on, but I’m sure you get the point. Taking care of yourself should be your first priority because you have no choice but to live in your body for the rest of your life.
I wanted to end this post by sharing something funny with you.
Below is a small conversation I had with my 7 year old daughter, Katie:
Me: “What is the most important lesson that I’ve taught you in your life?” (Inside my head I was envisioning a deep and meaningful response)
Katie: “You taught me how to use a spoon.”
Photo Credit: Image by Gregory Thiell via Flickr