(Before I Turned 31)
Lesson 1: Life IS vulnerability and so, to live life is to be vulnerable.
Elaboration: It’s difficult to be vulnerable in a world where we’re shamed for being any emotion or expressing ourselves or our truth. Okay, not difficult but certainly challenging (difficult suggests that the source of resistance is on the outside- it’s not) because challenging suggests not everyone is open to your truth but guess what?
Life IS vulnerability. You’re born into existence and whoever you are or whatever part of the world you might live in, who you are right now and WHERE you are in life IS WHO you are right now and WHERE you are in life.
You. Just. Simply. ARE. Beyond the labels and judgments, beyond the egotisms and conditions and barriers, you just are a being that exists. Sure, you face challenging moments but you can walk away from them, when you confess to yourself that being in the situation is difficult. OR you can continue being in that moment and accepting responsibility over it for what it is (to you).
The only way to resolve or deal with that situation is by being vulnerable to yourself. Life has practically brought the entire human race to it’s knees. Some of us needed that experience to avoid numbing our pain. Others needed it to deal with pain differently. Either way, it’s in moments such as these that one realizes how short life really is and how important it is to take care of yourself.
Why would you choose to take care of yourself, if you didn’t actually care for your well-being? And what does it mean to care for yourself? It means to be vulnerable enough to yourself to recognize you need to take care of your cup before you exhaust yourself helping others. To see yourself as a being that needs care is to be vulnerable to yourself and to be vulnerable to yourself is to FEEL. When you feel within, you’re able to feel FOR OTHERS and that awakens a sense of compassion within.
Therefore, to live life is to be vulnerable and to live life is to be vulnerable.
Lesson 2: Mind, body and soul are connected.
What we expose ourselves to, on a daily basis, has an impact that’s far deeper than we know, on our well-being. The thoughts we have, the way we treat our body and the way we react to the universe and the opportunities it brings our way is so much more than what we can comprehend on a conscious level.
The mind comprehends what it can, to whatever (albeit limited) extent it can. The body reacts to it and the soul, in those moments of silence that we frequently reject as useless or ‘waste of time’ speaks to us and guides us. The only thing that matters to all 3 aspects of existence is presence.
To be present is to be aware and to just be. It is to look beyond what happened or what will happen and to bring focus and attention to what IS at this very moment.
Lesson 3: Let go of anything that doesn’t work for you.
This can be something as small as a habit or something as major as a relationship. If a person, being or object adds stress to your life and there’s nothing- absolutely NOTHING- you can do about it, let him/her/them or (in case of an object) it go.
No matter what the nature of the problem or how it came about, the basis of your relationship with that person or object is problematic. If the basis of the relationship is problematic, it requires more upkeep and upkeep means more effort. After all, you can’t build a house on a weak foundation. That applies to all other aspects of life too.
The minute something starts to feel like it requires more energy than you’re able to expend, is the very minute that your relationship with it has become too demanding.
The best thing to do, for yourself, is to accept that there’s not much you CAN do and to let things be and to let them go.
Lesson 4: What You Do Matters. What You Think Really Doesn’t.
Everyone suffers due to some version of self-doubt and self-sabotage. The brain, like any other organ, is material and susceptible to skewered perceptions and damage. What the mind sees, thinks or believes is rooted, more often than not, in the past or in OTHER people’s perceptions. So, what we think isn’t always reflected in the way we live our lives.
You might think you can lose 10 lbs by the end of the month and focus on that with all the positive thinking content and inspirational content in the world. If your actions aren’t matching up to that thought, it would be physically impossible for you to meet that goal. Or you might think you’re a good friend, in general, until a time comes where your actions prove otherwise.
What you do matters because it is through action that you put energy out into the universe. It is through action that you accept what WAS but no longer is and it is through action, not thought, that you change the only version of reality that exists: the present.
Lesson 5: Accept The Apology You Didn’t Get By Forgiving The One Who Wronged You.
Waiting to get an apology is pointless, when it doesn’t come from the person that wronged you. Carrying the baggage of expectation just re-invites the trauma and pain of the past. You might not get the sorry that you wanted but waiting for it is a long, arduous, draining process. The pain of the past doesn’t go away and therefore, the past will repeat itself one way or another.
The faces and places change but, essentially, you relive your past because you’ve never moved beyond whatever hold it had over you.
That’s just how Nature works: what you resist persists.
The best thing to do is to analyze your own involvement in a relationship and understand what it was that caused and allowed you to play the part that you did in persisting a pattern. This allows you to break yourself free of the other person by viewing your own actions and contribution. Secondly, it allows you to take ownership and to deal with similar circumstances differently, in times to come.
Part of this is to stop waiting for the apology you expected to get and forgive your wrong-doer while accepting, stating and taking direct action to deal with the circumstances by talking to them.
If THEIR pattern persists, you can decide whether to stay in that relationship or to walk away. If yours does, you can accept it for what it is and make decisions in alignment to your true feelings.
Lesson 6: It’s Ok To Breakup With Your Past Self & Accept Who You Really Are.
There’s a version of ourselves that is conditioned to be a certain way around people and then, there’s the real person behind all that facade and conditioning. The past feels like the past because the version of you that existed back then, was conditioned to accept things or people, after keeping a checklist of standards in your head.
The real you is eternal and free of that sort of conditioning. Think of it this way: if your existence is dependent upon time, people, objects, events and anything that ISN’T you, you’re not being yourself anyway! Those are just contents of your existence- they’re things that exist and will eventually either fade away or lose importance. The real you is timeless and isn’t touched by conditions. It isn’t defined by what’s on the outside but it lies on the outside. The real you is eternal and everything that makes it up stays true from the point that you are born till the day you die. That’s why the little things in life matters.
Having all the money in the world will make you happy but only for a bit, until you realize paper and plastic is a part of life but doesn’t make life better or worse. Having the best job in the world will make you happy but for a bit until you realize it doesn’t anymore because it’s becoming draining. Being in certain friendships or relationships might seem exciting or great at first until you realize that they don’t. All of these realizations kick in when you start to see your life doesn’t resonate with you. In fact, it doesn’t feel like your life at all. It never did because what is truly yours would fulfill you and exist without conditions. And that’s what the little things are: condition-less. They come with ease.
When focus is shifted from what’s within to what’s on the outside, life steps in, strips away anything and everyone from us, who or that doesn’t serve us and it is in such moments that we transform and become our real selves. For some this can be the passing of a loved one or the loss of a job/career and for others it could be a pandemic or the sudden realization that the life that they’re living doesn’t resonate with them. You kind of feel like the object of your life rather than a human being that’s living it.
Lesson 7: Do Something You Everyday.
Every individual is made a particular way and fulfills their purpose their own way. Finding purpose in the things you do has an important impact on life: it grounds you within yourself. It gets easier to center yourself and to act from a place of awareness rather than to live life blindly and/or for other people.
We’re born with souls and the purpose of a soul is to live through us and to express itself. Doing something You means to indulge in activities that you enjoy; conversations that interest you; hobbies that feel like they’re extensions of you; partake in company that you enjoy; watching films or reading or playing sports that ground you; taking on projects that are in alignment with you and doing everything that makes you feel like you’re putting YOURSELF into your day. You allow yourself to LET YOURSELF BE instead of seeking control over life or giving control over your life to others.
We’re all in charge of our own lives but it’s when we do things (or avoid things) that don’t sit well with our conscience that we feel like we’re betraying ourselves.
Lesson 8: Everything Is Always Working Out For You, Even If You Don’t See It.
We tend to want to make sense of things because thinking and drawing conclusions is the mind’s way of protecting us from danger. Essentially, it is an organ that is prone to stress- be it physical, psychological or emotional- and it acts as a troubleshooter, when we’re conscious and awake. That’s why we have 70,000 thoughts a day- because the mind is constantly in search of a way to make things predictable.
Life, itself, however, is unpredictable. What didn’t work out 10 years ago might manifest itself in some way today or what did work for us, at one point in time, might not anymore. Life, itself, has ways of confabulating with the universe to guide us and bring us to our truest, highest self. It does so in several ways. Sometimes the journey is difficult and other times it seems easy.
The difficult times seem difficult, when we’re not willing to let go of the things and people that are inauthentic and therefore, not in alignment to our truth. The easy times seem easy because every decision we make; every person we include in our lives; every choice we make is in alignment to our truth and therefore, in alignment to our truth.
Want to know if something is working out for you? See how it makes you feel and take ownership and charge of yourself and of your feelings in those moments!
Lesson 9: You Create Your Reality.
The word ‘want’ denotes a wish for something or someone but it also means to be dissatisfied with things for what they are. One can want a six-pack or to be a millionaire but, in fact, do everything contradictory to that desire. To want something without acting on it is to wish for a result without recognizing the control we have over our circumstances. Oftentimes people say they want something and then, act in a manner that is contradictory to what they say. Consequentially, they lose what they wanted in the first place!
To want something other than what IS is to dismiss what exists for a time that does not exist. It is to distract yourself from reality for an illusion and to run after a mirage. The outcome of something motivate by fear, pain and scarcity and/or lack of acceptance will only increase the intensity of those feelings.
Ever noticed how a person that wants to lose weight will frequently complain about their bodies, while saying they want to be thinner? They aren’t comfortable with their weight but will continue eating in a manner that ensure they don’t lose weight at all. The action contradicts their desires. The reason they eat MORE is because they’re usually dealing with some form of unresolved stress. So, the action isn’t so much about weight loss or gain but it’s rooted in the past while their intentions are for the future- “I WILL lose/gain weight”.
Creating your reality requires being aware of yourself and being aware of your life for what IT IS and then, taking steps to ensure your actions and words are in alignment with whatever it is that you want, at this moment. That can be accomplished by taking the smallest, simplest, seemingly most inconsequential and insignificant step such as waking up or brushing your teeth, first thing in the morning.
Lesson 10: Fall in love with life for what it is- yours.
Your life is yours and anything that isn’t part of it or causes distress, internal turmoil or discomfort- from people and circumstances to your own thought patterns and action or thoughts- is just noise. The problem with noise is that it can make you lose focus and so, instead of focusing on yourself, you find yourself partaking in things that have nothing to do with you.
The deeper you get into the noise, the more noise you’ll have to hear. Hanging out with a batch of people that causes distress and emotional trauma will reintroduce you to pain. It’s possible they don’t even know they have that affect on you (or that you’re unaware of the impact you have on them). They might not even be aware of what they are putting you through but to fight them is to resist yourself- because you’re unable to be or listen to your truest, highest self- AND to resist change- because you stay in their thought and relationship patterns and they in yours.
Detaching from people and circumstances that cause distress and doing the things that you WANT to do will allow you to let go of all the noise and find your center. It is from the center that you can, then, take action and live your life for what it is: YOURS.
Lesson 11: When The Past Repeats Itself, Life Is Giving You An Ultimatum.
Ever thought why the same issues or problem patterns seem to re-enter your life, no matter how much you change it? You could go to another city or get another job or make a new batch of friends and yet face the same thematic issues you did, when you were younger?
Here’s why that happens: Life will keep throwing the same circumstances at you till you deal with them. All that time you thought you were ‘changing your life’ or taking steps to make changes to life itself, you were resisting circumstances in hopes that life would change on it’s own. You can’t change life but life WILL change you one way or another. You WILL have to deal with your problems and take SOME action to deal with them. Those people that bother you can either be accepted and you can change your ways with them or you can walk away from them, knowing they’re not good for you. That job that you don’t really want to do can either be accepted for what it is- a way to earn- or you can give it up to look for something that satisfies you.
You might think you don’t have a choice in such matters but here’s the thing: you make a choice, even in not making a choice. The only one who can change that is you. Thinking, fretting, complaining or ignoring it won’t change things because you’ll find the past will keep haunting you, like a child that keeps poking you.
Lesson 12: There’s No Point In Taking Life Seriously Because You Have NO Control Over It.
For reals. The more seriously you take life, the less likely you are to learn from it. As human beings, we like to believe that’s not the case but if there’s anything that pandemics, crashing stock markets, universally ruined economies and life changes on a personal level, has taught us it’s that WE have no control over it.
Life’s whimsical that way.
The good part about living life is, as is, as you go along, dealing with things that you CAN deal with, things start to get clearer. You begin to find purpose and create a flow that moves everything along. You can’t change people or material (wealth, objects, etc.) but you CAN change the way you see your life and that change of perspective can either be empowering or incredibly painful. That’s when things start to ‘fall into place’.
Lesson 13: The Truth ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS Comes Out. ALWAYS.
There is and always will only be one thing that matters MORE than anything and everything else in life: the Truth. You can deny it to yourself or use others to justify why you did something but there is always ONE principle that Life’s foundation is based on- The Truth. ALWAYS.
Honesty, unfortunately, has become a choice- you can either be honest or not- but the Truth isn’t and it never will be. Honesty is the ability to do what you say and to say what you do. Anything short of that is either due to lack of clarity or a desire to live by untruths that do not serve you anymore. They never did.
Nature, the Universe and God (or any being or deity that you believe in- or not) works through it’s creation. It’s engine will always be the Truth. A fish cannot fly and a fly cannot survive in water because it’s not in their nature to do so. They are what they are and function according to their natures because they do not have the mental faculties that we do, as human beings.
Anything and anyone that we surround ourselves with exists in our lives because we allow them to but everything including your family name, family members, job and money and all else in between, is an illusion. No matter what you say, think, do, hear or choose to believe, there is a Truth to life.
You can either contribute to the illusion and keep up the facade, which life will keep knocking over OR you can accept the Truths to and of your life and live it, honestly. It really isn’t as scary to be truthful and honest as we make it out to be in our heads. If you’re unhappy about something or someone, it’s because you’re not being honest to yourself about how you feel towards them or it.
Lesson 14: You Are Exactly Where You Need To Be.
We tend to REACT to life but the more we react to life, the more we’re reacting to ourselves. That way we shift the focus off of the main subject- ourselves- and blame everything and everyone else for our woes, worries and form attachments to the people, things and circumstances that we think make us happy. Life ends up becoming a cesspool of complexities because we assume we have no choice to make. The choices we do make are reactionary- they’re responses we’ve learned in the past and apply it to the Now.
In other words, we become prisoners to our pasts and assume where we are, right now, is some form of a punishment or that we could change our lives had we made better choices. Do you know what you call a moment that you could predict and trace? The past- a time that no longer exists.
Whether you like it or not & agree or not, you are EXACTLY where you need to be this very moment. Only you can decide what choices to make and whether or not to recognize what and how you feel in this moment.
The more you react to life, the more it repeats itself. The sooner you accept it, the more capable you are of making choices while being centered in the moment that can either change your life for the better or keep you stuck in the past.
Lesson 15: Life Won’t Always Go The Way You Want It To Go But It Will Get You WHERE You Want To Go.
The bigger picture is always important because, frankly, it’s the only place where things make sense. You might want to get the kind of job that gets your heart singing but that might mean you will lose the job you have to venture through life, so you can know or realize what job that might be for you. You might want honest friends but that might mean you have to lose the friends you already surround yourself with, because they aren’t good for you. You might want the life of your dreams but that could mean losing the illusion that you refer to as life, right now.
Life will alway get you to your destination but it’s got this in-built filter system, where it will get you to eject everything and everyone that doesn’t work for you, at this moment. You’ll recognize those moments in the times that you’re undistracted and turn inwards.
All of a sudden things- losses, gains, patterns, life cycles, repetitions of themes, pain, anger, joy and hurt- start to make sense, when you bear in mind the fact that it IS working to get you where you want to go.
A change of perspective is all that’s needed.
Lesson 16: There Is No Shame In Confessing How You Feel.
There’s a stigma attached to feelings and preference is given to things that make sense. Sidelining and burying your feelings has an adverse impact on your physical AND mental health. The more you hold on to things, the more they affect you. The LONGER you hold on to them, the more serious it’s impact will be on your health overall. It’s kind of like holding on to a piece of coal, expecting it to transform into water.
Everything and everyone has it’s own nature. Feelings have theirs and if they aren’t given healthy outlets, they WILL manifest themselves in unhealthy ways.
Confessing to and taking charge of your feelings allows you to be honest with others AND yourself and to live in the now, without allowing the past to haunt you or the future to scare you.
It’s not that what has happened or will happen isn’t important but when you’re open, honest, upfront and self-responsible, you KNOW where you’re headed and how to deal with the murkiness that your thoughts might bring with themselves.
Lesson 17: Pick Your Battles.
There’s no point to arguing OR staying silent, passively, if what you’re doing is just going to make you feel disrespected, unheard or drained of energy.
Some battles have nothing to do with you. Whether or not you voice your opinion, those battles are already going on within the minds and bodies of the people that pick them, intentionally or unintentionally. There’s nothing you CAN do about them.
After a certain point, you feel and become like a child asking others to hear you, when the best thing you can do, for yourself, is to know that the only person you’re hurting is yourself. Other people need to go through their own journeys, joys and pains before you can make a difference in their lives or to your own.
The best thing to do is to pick your battles and ask yourself if the energy spent into talking to others is beneficial or pointless.
Lesson 18: Self-doubt Is Normal But
Before you make a decision, ask yourself if self-doubt is affecting your decision or if you truly feel like the decision you’re making is one that is good for you. Most people don’t realize the decisions they make come from a place of ego.
Perhaps, you’re making the decisions that you’re making because you want to prove to others that you’re better than what they think of you. Or maybe, you’re convinced that by choosing the job that you have at the moment, you have and hold a certain amount of power over others. Perhaps the way you spend money is more about escape than it is about self-love or the habits you’ve developed was a reaction to an unhealthy domestic environment.
When you act from a place of self-doubt, you’re acting from a place of pain and therefore, all that ensues is and will be a level of pain and anxiety.