One can live at a low flame. Most people do. For some, life is an exercise in moderation, (best china saved for special occasions) but given something like death, (and it will happen to us all) what does it matter if one looks foolish now and then, or tries too hard, or cares too deeply. Diane Ackerman
We all need the basics:
2. Nutritious food and water
4. The company of others: friends, family and strangers
This week’s “basic topic, is A Reason to Get Up In the Morning
Things to do this week, if you choose:
Ted Talk: Pico Iyer on The Art of Stillness
An Assignment that you can adapt to your particular circumstances, for this week. If your life is going as you want, there is no reason to try and look for something that isn’t working. As with all assignments, you take what you can use and you leave the rest.
Living well is not about ignoring our difficulties or our grumpiness but it is about noticing that that isn’t the whole story and actively seeking the kernels of goodness each day along with taking our small steps to learn, or help another, or create a picture or play a song, and moving forward one foot in front of the other, even while feeling grumpy or anxious.
That moving forward may involve asking for help because our body is hurting or our heart is broken.It may involve offering help to another who is suffering more than we are. When the Dalai Lama was asked what to do when life becomes unbearable, he said” Find someone worse off than you and lend them a hand.”
Don’t think that we need to be happy in order to be grateful. When we get the “gratefulness thing,” going, as my friend Meredith puts it, we are happier.
So, your assignment this week if you choose to do it is to make a list of 100 things that have happened this year that have been helpful to you, in some way. You can list people, along with the specific thing that they did for you. (not just Mom was kind or my friend was helpful) Or consider the things in your life that we take for granted such as the shower that allowed you to wash your hair and clean your body; the ipod that played your favourite song; the card that your colleague or friend sent you in the mail or the bird that you noticed singing just outside the door. What about the person who picks up the trash, or mows the lawn in the park, or stocks the shelves in your grocery store, or takes your blood in the lab or the cozy bed or chair where you can curl up and have a nap or read a book. Maybe it is your uke that you have learned to play or the pain meds or a practice of meditation or yoga that helps calm your mind. You get the idea.
Nothing is too small or too large for your list. 100 sounds like a lot and it may be a struggle at first and take awhile to get into it. But it is a good exercise and I doubt if anyone will regret doing it. Remember that deciding to do something isn’t doing it. You need to take pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. Once you complete your list do a little leap of joy, whether real or metaphorical.
It takes time and effort to notice all the ways we are supported. If we don’t pay attention, so much of our lives disappear into the background, unnoticed and unappreciated.
Good luck and warm greetings.