Wednesday, May 25, 2011


When the waves and surfs on the surface of a lake subside, a true view of whole park appears.
Similarly, our true being emerges from the bottom as our emotion, impression and thoughts subsided.

The word “Emotion” came from a Latin, “Emovere” which means “displacing, moving”. Understanding and controlling of the emotion is starting point for the road to a Buddha.

- Photo: Russel State Park, Georgia, USA

Old Fashioned Values

by Sean Marshall of Family Rocketship.

So are old fashioned values still relevant today?
Is it possible to live with 20th century morals and ideals in a 21st century world?
Do these values really play a role in increasing the romance needed in marriage?
Let’s take a look at three key “old fashioned values” and see how they might help us today.


Chivalry is one of the easiest to indentify as being “old fashioned”. Guys, this is a message especially for us. What would it be like if we, as men, all stood up when a lady entered the room? What would it be like if we took her coat for her? What would it be like if she never had to open a door?
I know from personal experience that most women are a little shocked at first. Then, at a deeper look, you can see that it really makes them feel special – like it’s a way they’ve always wanted to be treated.
Just before my wife and I were married, a piece of advice someone gave me that really stuck with me is, “she never touches a door handle”. Meaning, I need to always be there to hold the door, open the car, and so on. By being chivalrous, you can bring back the true meaning of the word ‘gentleman’.
Even in our busy modern lives, there’s always time for a little chivalry. In fact, it’s one of the best ways to help the ladies feel grateful to you and induce more romantic feelings for you.


Tied closely to chivalry is respect. Respecting your spouse involves treating him or her the way that makes them feel important. The highest form of respect in marriage is seeing and treating each other like royalty.
One aspect of respect is agreeing to each other’s standards and values and acting accordingly. When my wife and I were engaged, one of my friends found out we were waiting until we were married to have sex. He couldn’t believe it.
“Don’t you want to give it a trial run before you commit?” he asked. “Isn’t that a little too old-fashioned?” My response was that I wasn’t getting married just to have sex. It was (and is) so much more than that. It ultimately boiled down to respecting each other’s values more than giving it a “trial run”.
By respecting one another, your love and admiration of each other will also increase. Then, as a positive side effect, your romance will also increase.


Serving one’s spouse is one of the best ways to arouse romantic feelings. What is romance except the time and care you put in to impress your spouse?
Serving your spouse manifests itself in many ways. It could be picking up a chore they aren’t very fond of. It could be doing something they really enjoy. It could be just taking the time to be involved with them, whatever that may mean at the time. The ways to serve your spouse are almost infinite. It’s just a matter of actively looking for ways to help.
It’s my experience, that as you look for ways to serve your husband or wife and actually do it consistently, that love will be reflected back and yours will be a happy marriage.
So are these values too old-fashioned?
What if we just removed the word “old-fashioned” and simply called them values?
In reality, any value that encourages a more romantic, more loving marriage is never old fashioned.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Art of Unfairness

It’s hard to love people who betray you.
It’s hard to love people who disrespect you.
It’s hard to love people who appear perfect.
It’s hard to love people who try your patience.
It’s hard to love people who tear at your hearts.

That's not fair.

It’s hard to love people who cause you suffering.
It’s hard to love people who never say thank you.
It’s hard to love people who openly criticize you.
It’s hard to love people who repel you emotionally.

That's not fair.

It’s hard to love people who treat you with contempt.
It’s hard to love people who don’t know how to receive.
It’s hard to love people who always take and never give.
It’s hard to love people who live in a state of ugliness.

That’s not fair.

BUT THAT’S THE THING: Love isn’t supposed to be fair.

If it was, it wouldn’t be love – it would be strategy.

Silly rabbit. Fairness is for kids.

THE WAY LOVE WORKS IS: It finds the people who don’t deserve it – then offers itself to them freely and fully when they least expect it.

If you want to master the art of unfairness, consider these practices:
1. Don’t give – pour. Love is a respiratory requirement. And when you breathe out the love people need, they gasp with joy. Next time you see an opportunity to keep quiet, tell the truth. Especially when there’s no reason to be honest. Lavish and heap and overwhelm people with it. How strong is your honesty asset?

2. Don’t imply – express. Love is the great eraser. And it reminds you that every minor incident is not a supertragedy. Next time someone reflexively apologizes to you for a minor inconvenience, immediately respond by saying, “I forgive you.” What types of people are you afraid to give the benefit of the doubt?

3. Don’t fight – bow. Love is the best comeback. The more successful you become, the more torpedoes will be shot at you. And that’s not fair either. Next time someone rips your art to shreds, say this: “I respect your opinion of my work.” Are you willing to idle your motor even when you feel like grinding your gears?

3. Don’t thank – gush. Love is a brand that is built by hand. Next time you’re debating how to show people how essential they are, write a love letter in the form of something else. Give it away freely and without expectation. And the more handmade, the better. What unsolicited token of love could you give today?

4. Don’t hoard – spray. Love doesn’t discriminate. It should be shared with the people who cannot love you back. No matter how unfair that is. Next time you encounter a tormentor; love them with a constant heart. Even you know for sure that they’re wrong. Are you willing to fall in love with things most people are turned off by?

5. Don’t extract – overflow. Bring forth your heart in every action. Instead of trying to dilute the distaste, just pour in more love. Next time you start a new relationship or partnership with someone, say this: “I want to learn all your little quirks, just so I can say I love you anyway.” Are you demanding that the people who love you change their essential nature so you feel more comfortable?

6. Don’t contract – affirm. When you do what you love, the hatred will follow. That’s not fair either. Next time someone lashes out at you because they know they’re not doing what they love, say this: “I’m so glad you shared that with me. Feedback like yours inspires the hell out of me.” How are you laying a foundation of affirmation with people who are hard to thank?

7. Don’t shine – reflect. If you want people to fall in love with you, help them fall in love with themselves first. Next time you want someone to adore their own reflection, give them a front row seat to their own brilliance. Do you love yourself enough to get out of the way so other people can articulate their fabulousness?

8. Don’t withhold – express. The best way to change the world is to love it first. Next time you want to transform the spirit of people you’re with, love them until they ask you why. Be indiscriminate and promiscuous. Break yourself open and pour yourself out. Are you willing to love something to death to bring it to life?

9. Don’t whine – expand. You can’t keep your door locked. Love means caring when it’s inconvenient. No matter how unfair it feels. Next time you encounter someone most people view as a nuisance, love at a time when opening seems impossible. Are you willing to accept that you don’t need anyone to love you back?

10. Don’t evade – mend. There’s nothing that won’t reveal itself if you love it enough. Next time you get a chance to answer the call to love, stop long enough for your heart to open. And believe that there’s nothing love can’t heal. Have you committed to accepting love from everyone and everything?

11. Don’t suppress – broadcast. What we love shapes us. And your life is measured by how you love. Next time you leave the house, love like it’s a rare jewel that costs everything, but give it away freely like it’s nothing. Are you famous for the people who love you and the way that you love them?

12. Don’t isolate – breathe. Love means showing up when you’re scared. And then leaving room for the other person to decide. That’s not fair. Next time you find yourself on a bended knee, look love in the eye, succumb to its softness and take joy in the moment. Are you caught up in your relationship or just dwelling in your love?

13. Don’t conceal – expose. Love changes the architecture of the heart. And it’s a response to your greatest values found in another person. Next time someone calls you crazy for wearing your heart on your sleeve, say this: “I can’t help it – love does this to me.” Will your love help you discover yourself in others?

14. Don’t require – offer. Love meets a closed heart with kindness. That’s definitely not fair. Next time your ego attempts to turn love into a scorecard, try this: Focus on being a more loving person without worrying about what you’re getting in return. Are you afraid to extend your heart to people who disagree with you?

REMEMBER: If you only love people when it’s fair, you haven’t learned anything.

Maybe it's time to stop being so darn fair with your heart.

How unfair are you willing to be?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hidden Treasure

Finding Another Vantage Point
Seeing the world from another perspective can introduce you to all sorts of hidden treasures.

The ocean can look very different, depending on whether you are standing at the shore, soaring above in a plane, or swimming beneath its waves. Likewise, a mountain can look very different relative to where you are standing. Each living thing sees the world from its unique vantage point. While from your window you may be seeing what looks like a huge shrub, a bird in its nest is getting an intimate view of that tree’s leafy interior. Meanwhile, a beetle sees only a massive and never-ending tree trunk. Yet all three of you are looking at the same tree.

Just as a shadow that is concealed from one point of view is easily seen from another, it is possible to miss a fantastic view. That is, unless you are willing to see what’s in front of you through different eyes. Seeing the world from another perspective, whether spatially or mentally, can introduce you to all sorts of hidden treasures. The root of the discovery process often lies in finding another way of looking at the world. The common human reaction to insects is one example. Spinning its web in a dark corner, a spider may seem drab, frightening, and mysterious. But seen up close weaving silver snowflakes between the branches of a tree, they can look like colored jewels.

Sometimes, there are experiences in life that from your vantage point may seem confusing, alarming, or worrisome. Or there may be events that look insignificant from where you are standing right now. Try seeing them from another point of view. Bury your face in the grass and look at the world from a bug’s vantage point. Explore your home as if you were a small child. Take a ride in a small aircraft and experience the world from a bird’s eye view. Just as kneeling down sometimes helps you see more closely when you are looking for lost treasure, so can standing back help you appreciate the broader picture of what you are looking at. In doing so, you’ll experience very different worlds.

Daily Om

On Truth Spoken

"...truth spoken is a gift given. Truth withheld is more than a gift denied, it is an arrow aimed at the heart.

It has been said that "the truth hurts," but the exact opposite is true. No truth is too hurtful , and no lie is harmless. Because every truth opens your heart to another, and every lie separates it.

Yet know this: The way you say your truth can be hurtful. So speak your truth, but soothe your words with peace.

Love, Your Friend...."

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Marriage and growing up

What does healthy growing up look like in marriage?

There are two challenges or dilemmas that have major roles in relationships.

The emotional reactivity/rationality challenge and the togetherness/separateness dilemma.

These two forces intermix in various and subtle ways to shape your relationship.

The togetherness/separateness force is a natural force much like the need plants have for sunshine or water. Every plant requires a certain level of sunlight for healthy development -- too much sunshine will kill the plant and too little sunshine will lead to the plant's death.

Marriages are the same in terms of togetherness and separateness. Too much togetherness or too little togetherness, depending on each individual's need, will influence the health of the relationship.

When people need more togetherness than their spouse provides, they are more likely to be emotionally reactive and become less rational. When people need more separateness than their spouse provides, they will invent ingenious ways to achieve separateness.

Problems often arise when one wants (needs) togetherness at a time in which their spouse wants (needs) separateness.

Humans are condemned to be separate yet paradoxically to seek togetherness.

Many people enter marriage or committed relationships with the fantasy that they will nearly always get their togetherness and separateness needs fulfilled whenever they desire. Over time as they become more emotionally fused they art hurt whenever their spouse does not give them what they want.

Some gradually conclude that they will never get their needs fulfilled and thus begin to drift apart.

Those that do this miss the divineness of marriage as a place to grow more basic self.

They miss the many opportunities to manage their anxiety whenever their needs are not satisfied. Know this: No spouse can provide just the right amount of togetherness or separateness.

Therefore, you must learn to self-soothe, to calm yourself, to manage your anxiety, and to self-validate. Then you become a better mate and in the process get a better marriage.

The sacredness of marriage is a great place to develop more basic self and to work on your own level of growing up.

Growing up is the ability to tolerate anxiety!

And no place tests your metal for tolerating anxiety like a committed relationship.

You know you have the spouse you need when you become anxious due to a simple look or comment like, "Why did you turn here?"

Much of the togetherness/separateness dilemma is influenced by one's ability to self-validate, self-soothe, to be intimate with self, and to calm self.

People needing more togetherness than their spouse can provide set themselves up for being held hostage by their spouse.

Grown up people can tap into their own personal source for self-validation and self-intimacy rather than being dependent upon their spouse for validation and intimacy.

Most of us have been reared on a diet of other-validation and are very poor at self-validation.

Grown up people are more in charge of their own life needs and become less dependent upon others. At the same time, they can actually be more available to others because they operate out of more wholeness, rather than out of a state of deprivation.

In short, grown up people have more to give!

Deprivation creates a state that looks a great deal like slavery and takes away choices. Poorly-developed (fusion oriented) people need togetherness, rather than simply wanting to connect. Poorly-developed (individuation oriented) people also need separateness and cannot be close and intimate without needing to distance.

Too much togetherness or too much separateness creates anxiety.

Anxious people are not comfortable to be around.

The well-developed (i.e. grown up) person can be close to others while being a separate individual, all without becoming emotionally reactive. The well-developed individual can choose what emotions he/she wants to experience. Well-developed people are in charge of their emotions rather than their emotions being in charge of them. Well-developed individuals can be intimate and passionate without losing self.

Think of it this way: Those that cannot control themselves will seek to control everything around them.

If people get to where they can stand their ground with their spouse (or family of origin) and take the best shots their spouse (or family of origin) can deliver while calming and soothing themselves, they will find that the rest of the world shoots blanks.

The key is being able to self-validate and self-soothe when you feel that emotional reactivity about to rise.

You'll feel a sense of being in charge of self and open an array of choices in responding when you're calm and rational.

Growing up is the ability to tolerate pain for growth.

Growing up is the ability to fill your emptiness.

Well-developed people still have some degree of emptiness as emptiness is a part of the naturalness of life as a human.

Too much emptiness is the problem.

And emptiness is a result of too little spirituality.

Empty people tend to place undue and unrealistic expectations on others.

The safeguards against too much emptiness are basic self and spirituality.

To sum all this up: No one ever gets a better spouse than they are willing to lose.

If you are fearful of losing the relationship, you will stop the growth processes for both of you.

Thus the challenge is to work on growing yourself up - which frees your spouse to begin growing himself/herself up as well.

Divorce rarely leads to getting a better spouse, because a divorced person usually seeks out another partner that is at their former partner's level of development.

People at like levels of growth attract each other.

You only get a better partner by improving your level of growth. And the best place you can work on growing up is in your current relationship!

Simple Marriage 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Twin Flames and Soul Mates

Soulmates by Artist Lena Reznikova

It always fascinates me to see what brings people together. Why are we drawn into relationships that have a certain destiny? Astrology reveals our psychology, spirituality, evolution, and astrology tells the story about karma and past lives, why we are attracted to specific people, our personal past-life patterns (personality and behavior) are being acted out in the here and now. In other words, time is an illusion your past and future lives are running simultaneously in the present. As an astrological intuitive, I see that no two people have identical astrology or past life history, not even twin flames.

What is a twin flame you may ask?

The term most often has been confused with that of soul mates the two are distinctly different. The greatest love story ever told is the one you have with your very own beloved twin flame. In the beginning we were created in God (Alpha and Omega) in an ovoid white-fire-spirit-light, the soul was split just like the atom (Adam Kadman) into two identical parts (twin flames) each with the same identical soul blueprint. The tai-chi is a symbol of twin flames. Twin flames in love spiraling in infinity.

Twin Flames in Love

Somewhere in cosmos, each one of us has our very own divine other, who carries either the feminine or masculine polarity. This soul memory of our twin flame is so powerful, that we can feel very alone in this world, as we search for that promise of that original perfect love, the twin. No other love can compare to your own twin flame. Twin flames throughout history and literature are seen as tragic love stories i.e., Cleopatra and Mark Anthony, Samson and Delilah. The dark forces of anti-love run rampant on planet earth, working to sabotage twin flames and keep them apart. Often twin flames do not have enough Self-mastery to maintain a healthy partnership. Thus, they seek solace with the next best alternative a soul mate.

Soul Mates Passionate Friends of Old

Soul mates and karmic relationships are the other two positions of partnership. Soul mates can create very happy marriages as they are working on similar soul initiations, life lessons, and projects in this life. Soul mates have been friends for lifetimes and may need each other in this life to satisfy a mission or complete a work. They may not experience the incredible, all-consuming, intense love dynamic as twin flames. Soul mates come in all shapes and sizes and as best friends. I find the very best marriages to be between soul mates they work very harmoniously together in business, raising children and contributing to the community. Soul mates make us feel happier, stronger and richer. President Barak and First Lady Michele Obama are an example of soul mates with a powerful mission.

Karmic Relationships

Karmic relationships are often confused with that of twin flames because they have the same intense attraction and emotional charge. I can’t get you out of my head thing, mental obsession. My body will not stop desiring you, the compulsive sexual attraction. In truth, these are often symptoms of a tragic past life experience from a prior life. Your soul is offering you as a warning Not a green light to get involved. Yet, people often ignore or mistake their Inner Being voice and jump in full speed ahead, only to become hurt, defeated and lost. Karmic relationships are where either the person owes you a karmic-debt or you owe them from a former life. The liaison ends when the debt is paid or when Spirit determines the time of opportunity to play the relationship out is up. We are fast approaching the end of karmic relationships in 3D (third dimensional consciousness).

Karmic Entanglements

All relationships are for mutual growth and personal evolution. How can you tell if you are in a karmic relationship? No relationship is perfect, but if you feel like you need therapy as a result of being with this person, then this could be an indicator. Feeling drained emotionally, physically, and financially are all indicators of a karmic entanglement. Are you doing all the giving and your partner is doing all the taking? Look-out it may be a karmic entanglement. We need to love Self more than the need for any relationship. You are having a relationship with You first. We need to be in a strong healthy relationship with Self in order to be healthy with another. The Age of Aquarius is the age of twin flames and soul mates coming together in love to anchor in our Golden Age. In truth, we are the forerunners of this Great Golden Age dawning. Karmic relationships are 3D egoic right fighting with an addiction to drama. They will not be around in the Age of Aquarius. We must become Self-masters and evolve into soul mate relationships. Saturn moving through Libra (relationships) until 2012 will be examining all of our relationship choices. Saturn rules integrity. If we are not with our true love we may be getting a divorce. If you know of many folks breaking up now it is a positive. This is not a negative for we need to be free to be in the new energy of healthy relationships. Fourth dimensional or quantum relationships are based on real intimacy, commitment, passion and allowing each person to be who-they-really-are.

Are you a ‘damsel in distress’?

“Some Lightworkers are behaving like a lady in waiting for their knight in shining armor to return from the Crusades and rescue them. The knight in shining armor may take the form of a soul mate, the government or even benevolent ET’s. In this incarnation we agreed to become our own savior, to willingly relinquish the familiar and comfortable role of victim with no responsibility that keeps our ego feeling safe.

As old souls, we volunteered to be role models for self-mastery and ascension, by healing our karmic past, standing in our Power, and being willing to step onto the world stage and make a difference in our chosen role as masters. Sabotaged by their ego’s fear-based conditioning and attached by an umbilical cord to the mass consciousness of fear, some Lightworkers will settle for an old knight in rusty armor riding a donkey just to feel safe and avoid fulfilling their soul agreement to be the master teachers, healers and leaders of our time..”-Tips for Transformation, Claudia Coleman

Have you been hiding your light in mediocre relationship? I know that thriving in uncertainty is not the most attractive offering as of late. However, it is what the universe is serving up. We must be willing to change our thinking, beliefs and practices to be at our best. 2010 will be a year of change and unpredictability, your success will be determined by your ability to be flexible and adaptable to changeful conditions.


If we are too rigid we will break in this new energy.

Practice being flexible

Practice being adaptable

Practice being mutable

Practice being grounded

Let go of Control

Flow with the Changes

Celebrate Change

So you can be:

Thriving in Transition

Thriving in Uncertainty

Thriving in Transformation

Sobering Saturn and renovating Pluto have just finished their second pass hitting the reset button on our lives. Forcing us to focus on what is truly valuable to our life path. Including, releasing that which no longer serves you, as you know, resistance is futile for change is inevitable. Patience and perseverance will pay off in the end, as the need to adjust our expectations becomes apparent. I have noticed that I am more fatigued. We are moving into higher dimension 4D and we have this intense astrology. The Shift is taking a toll on our physical bodies. These energetic transitions are causing ailments, sleep disorders, irritability, anxiety, and exhaustion I can’t push myself even if I want too. Get the rest you need be gentle with you. I work out at the gym, it helps me tremendously building strength, flexibility and releasing toxins.

Balance Is The Key to All Successful Relationships

The Universe works in a constant flow of figure eight energy. Giving and receiving equally.

All successful relationships are balanced in giving and receiving equally. It is not about the journey or event (getting with your twin flame of soul mate) it is about your process of growth and self-mastery.

Remember that the biggest relationship and the longest relationship you will have is with Self. If we are not healthy with Self we cannot be healthy with our true mate. Self mastery is the key to being united with your twin flame. The more Self-mastery you garner, the greater you’re light will be to elevate your twin flame up and out of his/her ego illusions of materialism, lesser relationships, distractions, etc and into their Divine Awakening to their True Self, True Purpose on Gaia and Original True Love (you).

The Age of Aquarius is the Age of twin flames and soul mates. That is why the collective negative forces want to sabotage the divine lovers and keep them apart. The power of true love to heal our economy, planet and people comes from twin flames and soul mates united in purpose. If we had a larger group of soul mates and twin flames joined today. We would wonder where all the problems we are facing had gone? Instead, we would be basking in the Sun of our dawning age of love, freedom and truth. “Develop your own following. Support everything you do and admire your efforts and actions. Your dedication to Self encourages you. Your belief in Self steadies you. Your trust in Self honors you. Everything you need, you can give to you. It is yours.”-Ivo/Lisa Dorr

Happy Valentine’s Day! Big hugs and kisses.

L OVE, Kelley

"The healthy Eros/Psyche relationship is one of empathy and intimacy, safety and passion. It is joyful and totally relaxed. When conflicts come up, as they inevitably will, there are means of negotiation. This is "soulful" love which includes many results of self-consciousness. It is generative in nature. There is bonding, commitment rather than vulnerability, self-disclosure, sensuality, ecstasy, as well as respect, caring, belonging, togetherness, toleration, and constancy." ~ Iona Miller

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Hinduism about Karma

"The process in how we develop Karma is very important because through each Karmic experience we go through a re-birth process to learn or experience something to become more spiritual and practice humility. Humility is an action and tendency, therefore anything good or bad that we do there is a result is graduated into more bad or good. Through this graduation it reaches our soul and our physical body. For example we may become very ill not necessarily because we are bad people or did bad things it just means what ever that you are doing no longer benefits you and since you are not able to learn through your action the result is that it manifest it self into our physical body.

In Hinduism, it is believed that we must do what ever we can not take ill actions, and reactions to eliminate or reduce bad karma so that we can encompass good karma to be fruitful in this life time so that we have fewer lessons to learn in the births to come. The sublime bliss is to release our moksha (inner soul) so that we are better people in next life time. A person who comes into this life time with released moksha can acquire a blissful moksha so that they can prosper in this life time. I am sure you have heard the saying, “why do good people die and bad people continue to live and prosper?” This is because the good has released their moksha and going to a place where they have good fortune in the next life time and there comes a time when they will not be born again until they are a perfect being without greed, attachment to materialism, and evil deeds.

Good people usually give things without asking for anything in return, good people often can be those who have the least materialistic things, good people are usually those suffer quite often and get the least. Why? Because these people have learned to detach tangible things out of their lives and bring humility into their lives. This means that body and mind will bring the ultimate life which is known in the Gita as Brahman. When a person reaches the Brahman stage they are at their last life time where life is not so bad but the lessons are difficult continuing their lives through humility and spirituality."

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Remember The Importance Of Humility

“I got this insight when I was asked to teach a class on humility at Harvard College. I asked all the students to describe the most humble person they knew. One characteristic of these humble people stood out: They had a high level of self-esteem. They knew who they were, and they felt good about who they were. We also decided that humility was defined not by self-deprecating behavior or attitudes but by the esteem with which you regard others. Good behavior flows naturally from that kind of humility. For example, you would never steal from someone, because you respect that person too much. You’d never lie to someone, either.

It’s crucial to take a sense of humility into the world. By the time you make it to a top graduate school, almost all your learning has come from people who are smarter and more experienced than you: parents, teachers, bosses. But once you’ve finished at Harvard Business School or any other top academic institution, the vast majority of people you’ll interact with on a day-to-day basis may not be smarter than you. And if your attitude is that only smarter people have something to teach you, your learning opportunities will be very limited. But if you have a humble eagerness to learn something from everybody, your learning opportunities will be unlimited.

Generally, you can be humble only if you feel really good about yourself—and you want to help those around you feel really good about themselves, too. When we see people acting in an abusive, arrogant, or demeaning manner toward others, their behavior almost always is a symptom of their lack of self-esteem. They need to put someone else down to feel good about themselves.”
Clayton Christensen, Harvard Business Professor and author

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Only love can do that

"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that"
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

38 Lessons I’ve Learned in My 38 Years

Post written by Leo Babauta.

Today (April 30) I turn 38 years old.

I’ve been on this earth for nearly four decades. Being in a city like Paris, where there are buildings that measure their age by the millennia, helps put that brief blink of the eye into perspective. But still, it amazes me that I’ve been around that long — I feel like I’ve barely begun.

I’m not usually one to make a big deal about my birthday, but as always, it has given me an opportunity to reflect. I thought I’d share a handful of lessons I’ve learned — as a helpful guide for those just starting out.
This post is for my children, whom I miss greatly across the distance of a continent and an ocean. I hope this will shine a dim light on the streets they have to navigate ahead of them, though I know they’ll still stumble as much as I have.

This is for you, Chloe, Justin, Rain, Maia, Seth and Noelle. I apologize for the length.

38 Lessons I’ve Learned in My 38 Years

1. Always swallow your pride to say you’re sorry. Being too proud to apologize is never worth it — your relationship suffers for no good benefit.
2. Possessions are worse than worthless — they’re harmful. They add no value to your life, and cost you everything. Not just the money required to buy them, but the time and money spent shopping for them, maintaining them, worrying about them, insuring them, fixing them, etc.
3. Slow down. Rushing is rarely worth it. Life is better enjoyed at a leisurely pace.
4. Goals aren’t as important as we think. Try working without them for a week. Turns out, you can do amazing things without goals. And you don’t have to manage them, cutting out on some of the bureaucracy of your life. You’re less stressed without goals, and you’re freer to choose paths you couldn’t have foreseen without them.
5. The moment is all there is. All our worries and plans about the future, all our replaying of things that happened in the past — it’s all in our heads, and it just distracts us from fully living right now. Let go of all that, and just focus on what you’re doing, right at this moment. In this way, any activity can be meditation.
6. When your child asks for your attention, always grant it. Give your child your full attention, and instead of being annoyed at the interruption, be grateful for the reminder to spend time with someone you love.
7. Don’t go into debt. That includes credit card debt, student debt, home debt, personal loans, auto loans. We think they’re necessary but they’re not, at all. They cause more headaches than they’re worth, they can ruin lives, and they cost us way more than we get. Spend less than you earn, go without until you have the money.
8. I’m not cool, and I’m cool with that. I wasted a lot of energy when I was younger worrying about being cool. It’s way more fun to forget about that, and just be yourself.
9. The only kind of marketing you need is an amazing product. If it’s good, people will spread the word for you. All other kind of marketing is disingenuous.
10. Never send an email or message that’s unfit for the eyes of the world. In this digital age, you never know what might slip into public view.
11. You can’t motivate people. The best you can hope for is to inspire them with your actions. People who think they can use behavioral “science” or management techniques have not spent enough time on the receiving end of either.
12. If you find yourself swimming with all the other fish, go the other way. They don’t know where they’re going either.
13. You will miss a ton, but that’s OK. We’re so caught up in trying to do everything, experience all the essential things, not miss out on anything important … that we forget the simple fact that we cannot experience everything. That physical reality dictates we’ll miss most things. We can’t read all the good books, watch all the good films, go to all the best cities in the world, try all the best restaurants, meet all the great people. But the secret is: life is better when we don’t try to do everything. Learn to enjoy the slice of life you experience, and life turns out to be wonderful.
14. Mistakes are the best way to learn. Don’t be afraid to make them. Try not to repeat the same ones too often.
15. Failures are the stepping stones to success. Without failure, we’ll never learn how to succeed. So try to fail, instead of trying to avoid failure through fear.
16. Rest is more important than you think. People work too hard, forget to rest, and then begin to hate their jobs. In fitness, you see it constantly: people training for a marathon getting burned out because they don’t know how to let their straining muscles and joints recover. People who try to do too much because they don’t know that rest is where their body gets stronger, after the stress.
17. There are few joys that equal a good book, a good walk, a good hug, or a good friend. All are free.
18. Fitness doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a long process, a learning process, something that happens in little bits over a long period. I’ve been getting fit for five years now, and I still have more to learn and do. But the progress I’ve made has been amazing, and it’s been a great journey.
19. The destination is just a tiny slice of the journey. We’re so worried about goals, about our future, that we miss all the great things along the way. If you’re fixated on the goal, on the end, you won’t enjoy it when you get there. You’ll be worried about the next goal, the next destination.
20. A good walk cures most problems. Want to lose weight and get fit? Walk. Want to enjoy life but spend less? Walk. Want to cure stress and clear your head? Walk. Want to meditate and live in the moment? Walk. Having trouble with a life or work problem? Walk, and your head gets clear.
21. Let go of expectations. When you have expectations of something — a person, an experience, a vacation, a job, a book — you put it in a predetermined box that has little to do with reality. You set up an idealized version of the thing (or person) and then try to fit the reality into this ideal, and are often disappointed. Instead, try to experience reality as it is, appreciate it for what it is, and be happy that it is.
22. Giving is so much better than getting. Give with no expectation of getting something in return, and it becomes a purer, more beautiful act. To often we give something and expect to get an equal measure in return — at least get some gratitude or recognition for our efforts. Try to let go of that need, and just give.
23. Competition is very rarely as useful as cooperation. Our society is geared toward competition — rip each other’s throats out, survival of the fittest, yada yada. But humans are meant to work together for the survival of the tribe, and cooperation pools our resources and allows everyone to contribute what they can. It requires a whole other set of people skills to work cooperatively, but it’s well worth the effort.
24. Gratitude is one of the best ways to find contentment. We are often discontent in our lives, desire more, because we don’t realize how much we have. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, be grateful for the amazing gifts you’ve been given: of loved ones and simple pleasures, of health and sight and the gift of music and books, of nature and beauty and the ability to create, and everything in between. Be grateful every day.
25. Compassion for other living things is more important than pleasure. Many people scoff at vegetarianism because they love the taste of meat and cheese too much, but they are putting the pleasure of their taste buds ahead of the suffering of other living, feeling beings. You can be perfectly healthy on a vegetarian (even vegan) diet, so killing and torturing animals is absolutely unnecessary. Compassion is a much more fulfilling way to live than closing your eyes to suffering.
26. Taste buds change. I thought I could never give up meat, but by doing it slowly, I never missed it. I thought I could never give up junk food like sweets, fried crap, nachos, all kinds of unhealthy things … and yet today I would rather eat some fresh berries or raw nuts. Weird, but it’s amazing how much our taste buds can change.
27. Create. The world is full of distractions, but very few are as important as creating. In my job as a writer, there is nothing that comes close to being as crucial as creating. In my life, creating is one of the few things that has given me meaning. When it’s time to work, clear away all else and create.
28. Get some perspective. Usually when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. In the larger picture, this one problem means almost nothing. This fight we’re having with someone else — it’s over something that matters naught. Let it go, and move on.
29. Don’t sit too much. It kills you. Move, dance, run, play.
30. Use the magic of compound interest. Invest early, and it will grow as if by alchemy. Live on little, don’t get into debt, save all you can, and invest it in mutual funds. Watch your money grow.
31. All we are taught in schools, and all we see in the media (news, films, books, magazines, Internet) has a worldview that we’re meant to conform to. Figure out what that worldview is, and question it. Ask if there are alternatives, and investigate. Hint: the corporations exert influence over all of our information sources. Another hint: read Chomsky.
32. Learn the art of empathy. Too often we judge people on too little information. We must try to understand what they do instead, put ourselves in their shoes, start with the assumption that what others do has a good reason if we understand what they’re going through. Life becomes much better if you learn this art.
33. Do less. Most people try to do too much. They fill life with checklists, and try to crank out tasks as if they were widget machines. Throw out the checklists and just figure out what’s important. Stop being a machine and focus on what you love. Do it lovingly.
34. No one knows what they’re doing as parents. We’re all faking it, and hoping we’re getting it right. Some people obsess about the details, and miss out on the fun. I just try not to mess them up too much, to show them they’re loved, to enjoy the moments I can with them, to show them life is fun, and stay out of the way of them becoming the amazing people they’re going to become. That they already are.
35. Love comes in many flavors. I love my children, completely and more than I can ever fully understand. I love them each in a different way, and know that each is perfect in his or her own way.
36. Life is exceedingly brief. You might feel like there’s a huge mass of time ahead of you, but it passes much faster than you think. Your kids grow up so fast you get whiplash. You get gray hairs before you’re done getting your bearings on life. Appreciate every damn moment.
37. Fear will try to stop you. Doubts will try to stop you. You’ll shy away from doing great things, from going on new adventures, from creating something new and putting it out in the world, because of self-doubt and fear. It will happen in the recesses of your mind, where you don’t even know it’s happening. Become aware of these doubts and fears. Shine some light on them. Beat them with a thousand tiny cuts. Do it anyway, because they are wrong.
38. I have a lot left to learn. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that I know almost nothing, and that I’m often wrong about what I think I know. Life has many lessons left to teach me, and I’m looking forward to them all.