A special message from me to you: I typically run this column at the beginning of the New Year, but given the challenges that are facing us I thought it might be nice to consider getting back to the basics in order to put things in perspective. Why not start the New Year over again . . .?
Since this is the beginning of a New Year and resolutions are the order of the day, I thought it would be good to consider a different kind of list, of spiritual must-haves, to apply to all seasons to come. Perhaps if we all adopt some basic principles we can improve the quality of our lives and the lives of those we come in contact with on a daily basis. Drum roll please . . . In 2019 resolve to . . .
(1) Respect yourself and others. By respecting the differences that make each one of us unique, we have an opportunity to experience the rich mosaic that life has to offer. It sounds simple: Accept a person regardless of race, religion, creed, color or country of origin.
(2) Feel compassion with an open, loving heart. Hate is contagious, but so is love. It is within each of us to think and feel with love. Set aside your own interests to allow your spirit to hear unspoken pain and heartache. Respond with kindness, understanding and humility when asked to understand and comprehend the seemingly impossible.
(3) Develop understanding, and be gentle with yourself and others. People’s life experiences help shape their personality. No two people share the same perspective on anything even if they experience it together. Make room for others and their experiences.
(4) Begin to value time, yours and everyone else’s. Life is short, too short to waste it procrastinating. When you think about it, it takes a great deal of time to procrastinate! Why not do something instead of putting it off? Ultimately you save time because you are freeing up energy to pursue other opportunities.
(5) Have a prayerful spirit. Take time each day to meditate or to pray for the welfare of the world and its people. The universe needs your support.
(6) Commit to at least one kind act each day. How much time does it take to reach out and brighten someone’s day? To quietly acknowledge that the world doesn’t revolve around you? To realize that we all have to look beyond our own pain and circumstances to help others? To know that by taking time to be kind we are helping someone else heal?
(7) Work toward inner peace. I think it was Jasmine Guy’s character, Whitley in an episode of A Different World that I found particularly significant who said, “Relax, relate, release!” I found myself repeating those three words (with a chuckle, I might add), but never really practicing the intent. Well, it’s a new day! Let go of the turmoil that threatens to bog you down, and move forward in peace, knowing that a higher power has everything under control. Know it from the very center of your spirit. Even as negativity and turmoil surround you, you can wear a spiritual armor stronger than any protection human beings can devise.
(8) Release your creative energy! Do you secretly want to be an artist, but haven’t pursued it because you feel silly or that you don’t have the time or talent? Who cares! This is about exploring your interests. Following your passion could lead to a new job or hobby or become a source of self-expression and joy that flows through to other areas of your life. You will be a more joyful person.
(9) Find the courage to release the child within you! This one is a tough one, because we have “grown up”, and being grown means a certain amount of seriousness is in order. Nonsense! Lighten up! I am not suggesting that you put on blinders, but that you let yourself be awed by the wonder and sheer majesty of life—and by the divine sense of humor we experience every day.
(10)Exercise free choice. Choose something you feel you need in order to make a difference in your life and go after it. Know that it’s all up to you. Nothing and nobody is dictating your path of action.
So there you have it. Of course if you make these ten must-haves a part of your life, the world won’t change overnight and neither will you. But I promise you that you will set the wheels of personal—and collective—change in motion. Think about it. See you next week.