June 2, 2014

30 Spiritual Lessons I Learned by Age 30. ~ Ashley Rose Howard

Samatha Marx

Several elders in my life have told me that your 20s are for exploration and your 30s are all about figuring it out.

I always wondered if I used this theory as an excuse to try different careers and experiment with relationships in my twenties or if all of these experiences were divinely preparing me for the next decade of my life.

Sometimes I feel young enough to still be exploring my path and at other times I feel like I’ve learned so many spiritual lessons that perhaps I’ve already reached enlightenment?

Here are 30 awakenings I discovered by the time I turned 30:

1. Life happens when you step outside of your comfort zone. Even if that means starting with the smallest step like trying a different commute to work. Imagine what you may discover.

2. Be kind to everyone. Each person that comes into your life has a purpose. I’ve had so many teachers and guides come into my life in the form of boyfriends, bosses and even enemies. Often, it isn’t until years later that I clearly recognize the gift this person offered or the connection they provided.

3. Don’t believe everything you hear from others, your inner guidance will always speak the truth.

4. Learn to let go. Sometimes when we’re trying too hard to make something happen the best thing we can do is just let go. Only then do we create space for change to manifest.

5. How you view others is a mirror of yourself. If you find you’re admiring the effortless wit of your colleague, do recognize that talent is alive somewhere within you. Unfortunately, the same goes for negative reflections. If you notice your significant other continually overreacts, perhaps this is a characteristic you subconsciously share.

6. Trust the universe. You may think you know what’s best for you, but sometimes the universe has an even bigger plan.

7. Live for the present. This is something that takes a lot of practice and awareness. We’re constantly living in resentment of the past or worry about the future when everything that really matters is actually happening right now.

8. If you’re going to fall in love, do it with your whole heart. Only offering someone a piece of your heart is like giving a poor man half of a one-dollar bill. Without the missing piece, there’s still emptiness.

9. Don’t waste time seeking validation from people (ahem, your parents) about your dreams — go chase them!

10. Be daring enough to fail and resilient enough to start again. I moved to NYC to follow my dream of being a writer only to get let go from my job (twice). But the second time I took my severance and invested in yoga teacher training, which taught me how to become a more authentic writer and changed my entire career path.

11. Feeling stressed? Just breathe. It’s amazing how often the breath goes unnoticed. Yet, it’s the one thing that fully connects us to existence.

12. Your body has a voice. I’ve learned to listen to my ‘body language’ over the last decade. When you eat healthy and workout you not only clean the body, you clear the mind. I wish I learned this earlier.

13. Saying no is empowering. Just try it.

14. Accept uncertainty. If you’re like me, and like to be in control, uncertainty may be challenging. But instead of filling yourself with fear and worry use curiosity to visualize what could be. I like Wayne Dyer’s quote, “Miracles come in moments. Be ready and willing.”

15. Money doesn’t create happiness, but it certainly helps to be rich.

16. Make time for you! I find it’s only when I take the time to center myself that I can really tap into my creativity and help others. Sometimes being selfish is the most selfless thing we can do.

17. Stop trying to seek happiness. Trust me, you won’t find it outside yourself.

18. A few close friends offer more support than a crowd of acquaintances. There are only a handful of friends I keep close to my heart and who truly understand and support me without a trace of judgment. Anyone else usually just joins me for happy hour.

19. We are creatures of habit. And habits will keep showing up until we make a conscious effort to break the pattern.

20. Slow down, life is not a race. Just because all of your friends are getting married or making more money than you doesn’t mean you’re behind in life. You are exactly where you’re supposed to be.

21. It’s okay to get off track. This does not mean you’re off your path.

22. Authenticity is the true ingredient to success. Really get to know yourself and only speak from that place of true authenticity.

23. Breakups are the worst kind of pain, but the best kind of growth. I’ve seen some of my closest friends go through terrible breakups, then leverage that loss of attachment to gain the independence to start their own companies or travel the world.

24. Only surround yourself with people who have your best interest in mind. It’s important to build a community of like-minded individuals when you’re just starting to create yourself. But the people that really help you grow are those that hold a mirror to your insecurities and help you become your best self.

25. Don’t obsess on your weaknesses. Figure out your strengths and share those gifts with the world.

26. Give to those in need only when you are able to expect nothing in return.

27.  When you’re feeling stuck, go explore. When I was feeling lost in my early twenties, I left everything behind and traveled to Africa for a few months. This is when I realized it’s not the ‘things’ I own that define me, but rather my life experiences. Go travel. Move to a new city. Learn a new language. Your stories are what transcribe your individuality.

28.  Confidence is everything. When you hold confidence, people trust you. And trust opens doors.

29.  You don’t have to accept a situation that no longer suits you. If you hate your job, leave. If your relationship feels awful, walk away. If you’re unhappy with yourself, get help. It may not be that easy, but it’s most likely worth the risk.

30. Stop worrying. I spent most of my twenties worrying about every little thing from being late for a meeting to not being able to pay my rent. But I learned that once you face fear, life starts showing you the most unexpected and incredible spiritual lessons.


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Assistant Editor: Lauryn DeGrado/Editor: Travis May

Photo: Samatha Marx/Flickr

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