Saturday, December 28, 2013

A guide to life for my kids

by Leo Babauta

These are the key life skills I'd like to teach my 6 wonderful kids (and anyone else who's interested):

  1. Flexible mind
  2. Embrace discomfort
  3. Deal with anxiety
  4. Learn self compassion
  5. Learn contentment
  6. Limit possessions
  7. Have a daily gratitude session
  8. Learn how to change/create habits
  9. Have confidence that you're awesome
  10. All you need for happiness is within you
  11. Savor life
  12. Play
  13. Meditate
  1. Eat whole foods
  2. Exercise almost daily
  3. Make your exercise social
  4. Consider a vegan diet, for reasons of compassion
  5. Limit sugar/flour
  6. Learn to cook, & cook meals at home
  7. Floss before bed
  1. Build relationships
  2. Open your heart
  3. Let love be your rule
  4. Be trustworthy
  5. Deal with anger
  6. Coping with loss
  7. Learn how to meet people
  8. Meeting new people: be curious
  9. Surround yourself with positive friends
  10. Let go of jealousy
  1. Love what you do
  2. Take pride in what you do
  3. Start your own business
  4. Limit how much you do
  5. Learn to beat procrastination
  6. Help others
  7. Become great at a skill you love
  8. Good writing is clear thinking
  9. Blog -- as a way to reflect, and share
  10. Failure is just a lesson
  1. Spend less than you earn
  2. Avoid/eliminate debt
  3. Save/invest automatically
  4. Don't put off taxes & accounting
  5. When you have kids, create a trust
  1. Be there
  2. Teach, don't control
  3. Model the behavior you want them to learn
  4. Read to them regularly
  5. Love them without qualifications, unconditionally
  6. Be patient & compassionate
  7. Consider unschooling

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Joy of Being Alone

by Leo Babauta

A surprising number of people fear being alone. Maybe just about all of us do to some extent.

We fear being without a partner, or friends and family. We fear traveling alone in strange places, lost without anyone to ask for help. We fear taking on life without help, for fear of failure.

This is natural, this fear of being alone. We’ve all felt it, deep within us, though we try desperately to avoid this fear.

And this is the cause of our misery: to avoid this fear of being alone, we will socialize endlessly, including on social networks and email. To avoid being alone, we’ll end up with someone who isn’t really good for us, just to have someone to cling to, someone to rely on. We’ll eat junk food or shop to comfort ourselves, because these things are replacements for love.

But here’s the secret: being alone is empowering. The quiet of being alone is joyful.

We tend to see aloneness as bleak, depressing, scary. But it can be seen as freeing, as an opportunity for growth, an opportunity to get to know yourself.

This is something I’ve been learning the hard way. I had the fear of aloneness for many years, but learning emotional self-sufficiency is one of the best things I’ve done.

Sit quietly for a minute, now, and turn inward. Who are you? What are you capable of? What do you think about?

Can you accept yourself, when you look closely at yourself?

Can you see the beauty in yourself, as you learn something new? As you contemplate life?

This is nothing to fear, but to celebrate. Aloneness is beauty.

Traveling Through Life Alone

But isn’t it scary to travel the world alone? To go through life alone if you feel unprepared?

Yes, it can be scary. That’s the reason to learn to do it.

Don’t know how to find your way in a strange city? Start with the place you live — get lost and find your way back. Learn to use Google Maps, then learn to find visual landmarks. Now branch out into nearby cities. Now take a trip armed with your new skills. Ask for directions. Learn to be OK with getting lost.

Don’t know how to pay bills and manage your life? Start with one bill. Teach yourself life management skills one at a time. Become self-sufficient. It’s better to learn to stand on your own two feet than to have to rely on someone else. If you can be self-sufficient, then relying on someone else is an act of strength, not of weakness.

Don’t know how to protect yourself? Learn to avoid bad situations. Learn to be aware of your surroundings. Learn how to get away. Learn how to defend yourself, at least enough to call for help. You’ll feel more confident in going places alone.

Traveling through life alone is a learning process, but you become stronger as you go. It’s like a child who can’t find his way home alone — doing it the first time is scary, but he’s safer and better off having learned the way.

Relationships and Aloneness

Does learning to be OK with being alone mean you can’t be in a relationship? Not at all — but if you aren’t OK with being alone, then being in a relationship is going to be fundamentally flawed.

Why? Because you become dependent. You need the other person, not only to pay bills and help you manage, not only to protect you and provide for you, but for emotional needs. You need the other person to pay attention to you, to give you validation and comfort and love. Now, all of those things are nice, but needing someone else for them means you become needy, desperate, and those aren’t attractive qualities. Who wants to be in a relationship with a needy, desperate person?

Much more attractive is confidence. And self-sufficiency. And strength.

So learn to be OK with being alone. Learn to provide for all of your emotional needs. Learn that you are OK, just as you are, without anyone else to “complete you”.

What if you’re already in a relationship? This is what I’ve been dealing with myself — it’s still doable. It means noticing when you’re being needy, and backing off. Taking care of your needs yourself. This is a slow process, but it works.

Once you’ve got that down, you are in a much better place to be in a relationship. You’re now two whole people, coming together for the benefit of the both of you.

The Joy of Being Alone

Aloneness can be a scary thing, but it can also be a joyful thing.

You can celebrate the times when you’re alone. Get to know yourself. Do things that rely on very little — reading a good book, writing, playing music, dancing alone, sketching, learning a new skill. Go for hikes, discover the world without needing to instantly share it online.

Be alone and be happy with yourself.

You deserve it.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Timing Can Be Everything

by Madisyn Taylor

Every person fulfills their purpose when the time is right.

Since human timetables quite often do not correspond with universal timetables, it’s common for people to feel that life is progressing too slowly or too quickly. We draft carefully composed plans only to find that they fall into place when we least expect. Or, conversely, we are thrust into roles we believe we are not prepared for and wonder how we will survive the demands imposed upon us by unfamiliar circumstances. When delays in our progress kindle pangs of disappointment within us or the pace of life seems overwhelming, peace can be found in the simple fact that we are exactly where we need to be at this moment.

Every person fulfills their purpose when the time is right. If you have fast-tracked to success, you may become deeply frustrated if you discover you can no longer satisfy your desires as quickly as you might like. Yet the delays that disappoint you may be laying the foundation for future accomplishments that you have not yet conceived. Or the universe may have plans for you that differ from the worldly aspirations you have pursued up until this point. What you deem a postponement of progress may actually represent an auspicious opportunity to prepare for what is yet to come. If, however, you feel as though the universe is pushing you forward at too fast a clip, you may be unwittingly resisting your destiny. Your unease regarding the speed of your progress could be a sign that you need to cultivate awareness within yourself and learn to move with the flow of fate rather than against it. The universe puts nothing in your path that you are incapable of handling, so you can res! t assured that you are ready to grow into your new situation.

You may feel compelled to judge your personal success using your age, your professional position, your level of education, or the accomplishments of your peers as a yardstick. Yet we all enjoy the major milestones in our lives at the appropriate time—some realize their dreams as youngsters while others flourish only in old age. If you take pride in your many accomplishments and make the most of every circumstance in which you find yourself, your time will come.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Citizen of the World

by Madisyn Taylor

An aware traveler sees each new journey as an opportunity to gain a greater understanding of humanity.

As the technology of travel grows ever more refined, the world grows smaller. Whereas a journey of a hundred miles once took many days, we can now travel across the globe in mere hours. The four corners of the earth are accessible by plane, train, and ship, and there are few pleasures in life as soul-stirring and transformative as travel. In a new land, the simplest of joys can be profound—meditation takes on a new quality because the energy in which we are immersed is unfamiliar. Our sensory experiences are entirely novel. Yet the relative ease with which we can step out of our own culture in order to explore another means that we are ambassadors representing not only our own way of life but also the culture of the traveler. As a conscious citizen of the world, you can add value to the locales you visit while simultaneously broadening your own perspective.

A truly aware traveler sees each new journey as an opportunity to improve international relations, spread goodness, and gain a greater understanding of humanity. To immerse yourself in foreign cultures is to open your mind to fresh ways of being. Your natural curiosity can help you navigate the subtleties that define a culture. While you may not agree with all the traditions or laws of a country, abiding by them demonstrates that you understand and respect their value. Staying centered in another culture is often simply a matter of learning about your destination, being patient with yourself and others, and accepting that people may treat you as an example of your country’s attitudes. New worlds will open to you when you take part in the everyday life of a locale—the reality of a destination is in its markets, its streets, and its people.

Traveling presents a wonderful opportunity to practice being open-minded and grounded. The voyages you make help cultivate a worldwide community in which we as humans can acknowledge and appreciate our differences as much as we recognize and appreciate our similarities. Though you will eventually return home, the positive impression you leave behind will remain as a testament to the respect and amicability that marked your intercultural interactions.