More than three years ago, when I was just starting this blog, I wrote a post called “The Big Ideas.” In it, I listed the big concepts I wanted to talk about here. It was my “this, I believe” post.
It feels good to look back on them, to remember what I was holding in mind when I started. All of these ideas are still important to me. And there are new ones I would add to the list.
This is what I wrote then:
1. What you love, what you long to do, is really, really important. When you live in alignment with those things, life becomes joyful, alive, full color, move-you-to-tears gorgeous. But most of us get lost from our true loves along the way in life. There is a way to get back on track.
2. If you are here on this planet, there is a unique contribution you are meant to make. That’s what I call your real work. Sometimes we can do our real work through our jobs, and sometimes we choose to do it outside of our jobs. Which you do doesn’t really matter. But it really matters that in some way, you do your real work.
3. We all have a relentless inner critic and voice of fear within. Wise living involves learning to recognize those voices for what they are, and separate them from the voice of your authentic self. Then you can choose who to listen to.
4. Human beings get hooked by fear. We get unhappy because of stories we make up about how things are or how things need to be. But the big fabulous miracle is this: there is always a way out of stress, fear, pain, resentment or anxiety. That way comes from making subtle internal shifts, (I call these “two inch shifts”) that allow us to move from suffering to peace, from constriction to expansiveness. You can learn to make those shifts.
5. Most suffering comes from leaving who we really are, or leaving love. Simple as that. That means most suffering can be relieved by reconnecting to a spirit of love or reconnecting to ourselves. We all need a set of practices, cues, habits that help us make that reconnection.
6. If we fill up our lives up with endless doing and mental “shoulds” and overscheduling, the life that wants to emerge in us never can. We need to carve out white space in our calendars and in our lives. We need to become skilled at the art of subtraction.
7. Compassion is the natural expression of wisdom. The wise part of us has the capacity to know that every act that harms and hurts is born out of desperate pain and limitation in the perpetrator. Seeing that and acting up on it is seeing and acting upon the truth. Compassion is strength and compassionate responses work. They heal. They stop the cycles of waste, of attack and defend, of be injured and then injure that plague our world.
Which one of these calls out to you today? Which one says, “Pay attention to me! Delve deeper in me.” I invite you to live in quiet conversation with that one today.
Thank you for being on this journey with me.