Society has rules to keep order. Rules for our kids and pets are there to keep them safe and help integrate them into society. But what about in our own private world? Yep, even there, we have rules, boundaries we put in place to define who we are to ourselves and the world. Even if we don’t have them hanging on our refrigerator, they’re there.
Here are the top ten rules I try to live by:
1) Pay attention to the reoccurring themes in your life. These are quiet lessons being whispered to us every day in the form of an overheard conversation, a book flipped open to the right page, a photo on a passing bus. Tiny messages that accumulate like snow flakes until they are big enough to get our attention.
2) Accept change. It is part of the natural cycle, the ebb and flow of life. Sorrow will follow joy, but joy will also follow sorrow. The only thing we can control is our reaction to change.
3) Don’t lose your inner child. Allow yourself to be silly, ride roller coasters, make snow angels, chase fireflies and invisible dragons, build sandcastles, play dress-up, spin until you fall to the ground and watch the clouds whirl above you. Of course, it helps if you have an actual child doing these things with you. Do everything you can to not take life or yourself quite so seriously.
4)Widen your view of the world. It is much more expansive, far- reaching and deeper than the space we occupy. There are so many cultures, philosophies and places to explore, experience and love and–so little time.
5)Remember how to breathe. As children we breathe deeply into our bellies. As adults we breath shallow into our chest. Be conscious of your breath, use it to fill your belly, calm your emotions, quiet your mind.
6) Live well. This is not as easy as it sounds. Letting yourself rest when needed, saying no when you are overwhelmed, exercising, fueling your body’s furnace with healthy foods, creating, meditating, worshiping, laughing, learning, connecting. There is so much to taking care of your mind, body and spirit but it’s worth the investment. Give yourself a chance to reach your full potential in life.
7) If you’re going to bother doing something don’t do it half way. Delve into it, immerse yourself in the whole experience. Don’t just taste the wine– learn how to swirl, close your eyes and separate the fruit from the oak from the earth. Life will be richer and full of color.
8) Friendships are vital. It’s the space in between people where things happen. Pay attention to this space, this is love.
9) Hold on to hope. Hope is our greatest weapon against cause and effect, against knowing what the future can and will bring, and against ourselves when we feel like giving up and giving in.
10) Live free. Not free of responsibility or relationships, but free of fear, guilt, judgment and boundaries. Let yourself off the hook and off the leash.
What about you? What rules do you use to shape your life?