Two years ago Laura suggested I write monthly essays for On the Wings of Dreams, called Reflections by Tee. Isn’t Laura brilliant? I think she is, because is provided an opportunity for me to contribute to the best little shop on the planet. It also allowed me to fulfill a dream of my own – to use my writing to put something positive and uplifting out into the world.
Twenty four essays later, Reflections remains a joyous place for me. Not only do I get to share the journey with readers, but I always learn some valuable gems from the process of writing them.
Who doesn’t love win/wins?
In celebration I decided to write a top ten list. Let’s call it “Tee’s Top 10 Life Lessons”.
Here we go…
#1. Every moment spent worrying is wasted time.
I was aware of this one for a very long time before it truly sank in. The crux of the thing is that if you cannot address a concern with words or deeds RIGHT NOW, then you need to drop it and focus on something over which you do have control. Worrying is bad for your health and helps no one or nothing. Trust yourself to meet each moment as it comes.
#2. It is not your job to fix everything.
Oh yes, I am a fixer. A solver of problems, which is a very good thing in most regards. Yet, when you are good at fixing things, your ego can get a bit inflated and you suffer when something unfixable comes along. It is a humbling experience, which is also a good thing. What’s the answer? There is a good mantra for this: “Accept the things you cannot change.” If you’ve given it your best effort with no results, continuing to struggle with it is only self-destructive.
#3. Find your smile.
When you are in a tough spot, a black mood or just can’t find your ray of sunshine, get your face to smiling. There is something about the physicality of smiling that uplifts you right away. It can even lead to laughter over how ridiculous it all is, which is even better!
#4. If you want to have a good time, you have to be willing to look foolish.
My friend Susan told me this one, although she doesn’t remember it. When I reminded her of it, she said, “Wow, I’m pretty smart!” Gotta love Susan. It is a true thing, however, that concerns over what other people think can make you ultra self-conscious. If you are doing no harm, then just be yourself! Be silly. Have fun. Wear you big purple hat to the grocery store. Dance down the street with a friend singing Beatles’ songs. Why not? Show me the rules forbidding it. There are none! The heart thrives on fun.
#5. Where you keep your mind determines your experience.
I get a bit miffed when I hear the saying “Your thoughts create your reality.” It’s about 10 degrees off the mark. When you wake up tomorrow, gravity will still work even if you don’t believe in it. But (and this is a big but!) what you focus on in your life does have the propensity to change your experience of it. Think of it like a house plant. If you water it, make sure it has light, pull the dead leaves and basically give it your attention, the plant thrives and grows. So too with aspects of your life. Just like your body, if you give your mind junk food you won’t feel well. Give you mind good, wholesome input.
#6. Follow your bliss.
Yes, I’ve usurped this one from Joseph Campbell, who is one of my heroes. Even though we must all attend to the things life demands of us (jobs, housework, bills, etc…) we must make time for what truly keeps our fires burning. What is your passion? If you don’t know, experiment. If you do know, engage it at whatever level you can.
#7. Keep it simple.
I read once in a novel “This step and then the next gets you where you are going.” So many times we attempt to juggle too many things. Life seems to throw curve balls at us from up, down and every direction there is. The antidote for this: take things one at a time. Make a list so you know what you need to do, then laser beam focus on one thing at a time. The confusion that results from scattering our attention accomplishes nothing. It tends to paralyze instead of prioritize.
#8. Spend time in nature.
I almost didn’t include this one in the list, because I wondered if everyone really needs this as much as I do. Upon consideration, however, I do believe this one is an essential life-coping mechanism. A long walk in the woods, or a quiet spell sitting by a tinkling stream can renew and recharge us in so many ways. It connects us to LIFE and puts things in perspective. It opens us to beauty and to peace. Take it from a nature-addict, it will do you good.
#9. It really is all pretty silly.
This is a different take on #3. Really, why do we take everything so seriously? A light-hearted approach can dissolve those mountains that were made of mole-hills. Commitment does not mean dour. A relaxed attitude filled with good humor is much more efficient. It’s so easy to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. Remember that there are nearly seven billion of us doing the same thing. Which leads nicely to…
As in, Love is a verb. Love as much as you can. Give it and receive it. Respond with compassion instead of anger. Be kind. Use all the variations of Love in every way possible. The answer is not political. It is not cultural. Neither is it scientific. It is seven billion hearts with the amazing capacity to imagine the other as the self. It makes your eyes shine and eases your path. It is our greatest tool and our greatest promise.
So, there you have it. On this chilly day in mid-October, these are my top ten bits of wisdom. Tomorrow they may change. They should change and I’m sure they will. To evolve and grow is at the very root of our nature. No fight. No struggle. Just flying on the wings of dreams!