The Cycles of Life
Life runs in cycles. Peaceful periods give way to challenging times, which then melt into another emotional color until that one changes too. These cycles occur over minutes, weeks, months and years.
Greater peace of mind arrives when we accept that life will always be changing, and we’ll never truly know what will happen next.
At the same time, consolidating our life lessons builds our resilience so we can meet the cycles of life with greater joy and ease. That’s precisely why I place value in a year-end review and the lessons that emerge from engaging with the right questions.
Some of my life lessons from last year were practical and some were profound. Here are the most important lessons I learned.
1. Don’t Expect to Arrive
I didn’t expect to be waylaid by two months of bronchitis or two weeks of flat out back pain. I didn’t expect to receive new genetic information that changed my treatment plan and possible outcomes.
Life will surprise you. Whatever arises, try to take it in stride without labeling it “good” or “bad” or clinging to it as the final destination. Don’t aim for a happy ending that never changes.
You can find greater peace and happiness by having this bigger perspective; not by expecting life to stay the same.
2. What Scared Me the Most Enriched Me the Most
The poet Rainer Maria Rilke once said that our deepest fears are like dragons guarding our deepest treasures. Those words rang so strongly for me this past year.
I know that fear arises from attachment. Fear begins to lighten up when we can loosen our attachment and realize that we don’t own anyone or anything, including this body that we tend to cherish so dearly.
3. Get Real About Time
Although I loved the process and enjoy guiding the course, it took me twice as long to create and promote my Living with Ease e-course than I expected. I have to face the fact that I’m unrealistic about the amount of time it takes to complete a project to my satisfaction.
As a result, I’ve intentionally scaled down my 2015 aspirations so they are congruent with my time availability, energy, resources and desire for quiet.
4. Focus on the Priorities
I know I lost time last year by fiddling around too much on the internet, attempting to meet my perfectionist tendencies, or wasting myself on low priority activities. 2014 will be the year I improve my focus.
5. Listen to Your Inner Voice
I gave myself away not once, but twice in the last few weeks of the year even though my inner voice was shouting “no” in various ways. My ability to stay true to myself has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. This was a beautiful reminder that I’m very much a work in progress, and need to further strengthen my ability to listen to myself.
6. The Power of Love and Gratitude
Love and gratitude changed the quality of my life last year. I was able to really let love in, which erases all those nonsensical ideas of not-being lovable or good enough. I also made a point of expressing my gratitude and love regularly. This makes life so much more relaxing and fun.
7. You Can’t Always Take Away the Suffering of Others
I’m a sensitive person and can be deeply affected by another person’s sorrow. Sometimes, a kind word, loving gesture, or profound insight can indeed ease the suffering of others. But soaking in their distress doesn’t help them at all.
This suffering might be precisely what they need to grow. I can’t know their karma, what they truly need, or how the situation will play out. It’s good to be kind, but to also trust and let go.
I love the way life keeps giving us perfect lessons, teaching us precisely what we need to know. If we’re open, pay attention, and willing to change, the path keeps unfolding in the most provocative of ways.
What lessons, insights, perspectives, and new behaviors will you carry forward into this new year?
P. S. Have you signed up for my monthly note, Wild Arisings, yet? You can learn more here.
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