It’s always good to dust off our beliefs and closely held opinions, shine the light on them, and see what is still juicy and relevant versus what no longer holds true.
Our credos may change radically from year to year throughout our lives.
I recently read The Bassoon King, a heartfelt and funny memoir by Rainn Wilson (the actor who played Dwight on “The Office”), at the end of which he writes a chapter on “10 things I know for sure,” which, of course, was inspired by Queen Oprah herself.
That inspired me to write this list. I hope it resonates with you and perhaps even inspires you to pen your own version.
This I Believe.
1. Life is beautiful, and the mind is a gift.
Of course, there are times I wake up with unfounded sorrow. Can I see the beauty in sadness? Can I feel grateful for my breath, my body, my mind, and my precious human life?
2. Serving others benefits everyone.
And remember, there ultimately are no others when we remember Oneness.
Paradoxically, we are each separate individual beings. So be sure to ask yourself before speaking or acting: Is it kind? Is it helpful? Is it necessary? Cut away whatever is unkind, harmful, or unnecessary.
3. All things must pass.
No matter how fantastic or horrible, boring or neutral, shocking or blissful, this too shall pass. Aim to enjoy your inner weather, whether it’s a soothing rainstorm, a relentlessly sunny day, or a hurricane.
“Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” ~ Harriet Beecher Stowe
4. Simple life = joyful life.
Simplify, simplify. Let go of the need to always acquire more. Enjoy the baseline beauty around you in this moment.
“Youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art.” ~ Stanislaw Jerzy Lec
5. Life isn’t easy or fair.
Nevertheless. You’re living it. Why not put the effort in to gradually make your dream a reality? This happens step-by-step, not magically or all at once.
6. Be honest.
Cultivate clear, open communication, and bask in the clarity and ease that truth and honesty bring.
7. Have gratitude for both light and shadow.
Cultivate awareness by rejoicing in the contrast between light and dark. Meditate on the sky at dawn and dusk.
8. Look within and reach out.
The ultimate key to a meaningful life is our connection to ourselves—as well as to each other, animals, plants, and the whole of nature.
9. Life’s paths are full of lessons and wisdom when we take the time to learn and reflect.
Honor your teachers. Honor and balance your inner and outer feminine and masculine energies.
10. Let your life be guided by death, the greatest adventure into the unknown.
Engage in practices to contemplate death rather than fear it. Ask yourself regularly: How are you transforming? How are you making a difference? How are you benefiting others? What will your legacy be?
“I’m alive. Today might be my last day in this lifetime. It is uncertain when I’ll die. Because of this, I’m committed to living a full wholehearted life and letting the little things go. I’m going to be a helper and not a hurter today. I’m going to live my life to the fullest.” ~ Tibetan Buddhist death meditation
11. Wander in the wilderness.
It is a magnificent (and much-needed) way to spend time. I love going forest bathing alone or with a small group. I feel myself being healed by the green and grounding, soaring energy of the trees.
“The gratification comes in the doing, not in the results.” ~ James Dean
12. It’s essential to dedicate the merit.
May we seed our highest intention through our daily actions, moment to moment. May all of us beings know peace, joy, and liberation in our time on Earth.
13. Being fully present with gratitude, compassion, and kindness is a valuable practice.
Make an offering to Spirit. Show devotion to your ancestors. Honor all your relations.
“What is past belongs there; what is present is in your hands. But it is only through your decisions in the present time that your future is defined: every action, every decision, every plan or project you undertake will have some impact on your life or perhaps those of others in the near- or long-term future. This is why the present is all-important; indeed, it is the only fleeting bit of time of which we have any active experience.” ~ Birgitte Rasine, The Serpent and the Jaguar