Changes in an Instant

With the hurricane happening in Texas, I’ve turned my attention to the people down south who are suffering. Up here where I am, everything is dry, cool, crisp. When I put myself in the shoes of the people currently in the hurricane, it makes me realize a fundamental truth: life can change in an instant.

Maybe it’s a hurricane. Maybe your house gets robbed. Maybe a loved one dies. Maybe you are diagnosed with cancer. The point is that in an instant, EVERYTHING can change. What creature comforts you once had may suddenly become unhelpful. Things you enjoyed, may no longer be accessible. People you love, may no longer be around.

Writing this, it can be difficult not to feel depressed with the fragility of life. The fact that things can change so quickly to something so much worse could feed the pessimism in the optimism of most people.

But what if you looked at it another way…What if you looked at it as a way to value everything and everyone you have in the here and now? What if you paused, right now, looked around you at the people in your life and the things you have, and simply realized how fortunate you are to have those things.

What if rather than pessimism, you were filled with gratefulness? I think that’s the more important lesson here, to be grateful for the things we do have, and to really appreciate them.

Take time to slow down when you eat food.

Listen and love the people who matter in your life.

Marvel at every day objects.

Appreciate every moment and the things/people in that moment. Because in another moment, all of that could change.

40 Profound Life Rules from Jordan Peterson Everyone Should Know | High Existence

One of the wisest men on the planet shares his 40 greatest insights.

Many of you reading this will know and love Dr. Jordan B Peterson.

For those who don’t, I’m going to show you why you should.

Jordan Peterson is an award-winning lecturer at the University of Toronto, a practicing clinical psychologist, and the author of the revolutionary book on the psychology of religion Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief.

He is most famous, however, for his YouTube channel, which has 270,000+ subscribers. An insane amount considering most of his videos are over an hour long and cover very deep topics such as philosophy, mythology, psychology, and religion.

He is a man worth paying attention too.

On Quora, Jordan Peterson was asked this question:

“What are the most valuable things everyone should know?”

Instead of answering in a long essay, he wrote 40 maxims that I’ve presented below.

Before you read, keep in mind that these maxims are not your ordinary list of self-help tips.

They are simple. They are short. But they contain within each of them decades of study and thought.

Source: 40 Profound Life Rules from Jordan Peterson Everyone Should Know | High Existence

A Simple Mindfulness Strategy That Literally Rewires Your Brain to Let Go of Negativity – The Power of Ideas

Make 2017 even more positive with these tips!

In the center of everyone’s being is a place of pure peace. But as we go through life, we tend to be taken away from this deep sense of self as a result of social conditioning and difficult life situations. However, by practising mindfulness, we can learn to be aware of the negative thoughts that […]

Source: A Simple Mindfulness Strategy That Literally Rewires Your Brain to Let Go of Negativity – The Power of Ideas

The Path of Fearlessness

Fears stop us from building healthy and productive habits. Fears cause us to procrastinate, keep us from finding work that is meaningful (or doing that work if we’ve found it). Fears keep us from finding friends or connecting with people on a deeper level. Fears keep us from being happy in each moment.

Underlying all of those fears are a few key fears:

  • Fear of failure or being unprepared
  • Fear of uncertainty
  • Fear of being inadequate or being rejected

What would our lives be like if we didn’t have fear holding us back?

Read more about the Path of Fearlessness here:

The Gods Envy Us

Happy Wallpaper Wednesday everyone! This week’s Wallpaper was a perfect way to inspire and set the tone for a wonderful day. See my thoughts below the image:

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Regardless of what you thought about the movie, Achilles in Troy is making a very good point. Gods are immortal. They live forever. Nothing can kill them. But at the same time, they lack the contrast of life and death to help motivate them to really appreciate the world around them.

True, that the beauty of something is not measured by the fact that it ends, but a subtle reminder that not all things are forever (life included) can act as a motivation not to waste the few precious moments that we have on this planet.

Here we are, this moment, right here…and there is so much beauty to appreciate, to love, to embrace in. Close your eyes…what do you hear? Look around…what do you see? What do you touch? What do you feel? Take a few seconds to really appreciate the beauty around you…and this moment. Because this moment is going to end in the blink of an eye, replaced with another. So take advantage and be mindful of the here and now.

It is fleeing. It is already disappearing. But you can appreciate it, and life, before it does.

Turn Toward the Problem

Let’s take away that power, and shine a little light on the problem. Allow ourselves to feel the pain, to feel the fear and still take action. To begin the healing. To begin to create something new and amazing from the ills that have been hiding in the dark.

Turn toward the problem and you turn it into something beautiful.

– From Zen Habits “Turn Toward the Problem” 

An incredibly inspiring post courtesy of Zen Habits!

4 Ways of Choosing Happiness

1. Don’t be Your Own Worst Enemy
2. Practice Gratitude
3. Savor Pleasant Experiences
4. Exercise Optimism

Taken from 4 Ways of Choosing Happiness – Time

Here are some of my own reflections on the above:

1. Don’t be your own worst enemy:

We all have a critical voice inside us that is rooted in a one word philosophy: “can’t”. It’s a critical voice that makes us pause when we are pursuing something we like, or make us doubt the things we know. Learning to listen to this voice, without letting it interfere is a skill that can take months to years to form. One way I’ve learned to deal with this voice is to recognize that anything that generates a reaction from that voice of critical self, is probably worth my time. The things that we are most scared of doing, often end up being the most rewarding. The next time you hear the inner voice of ‘cant’, realize that you’re onto something worthwhile…and then give it your all. 

2. Practice Gratitude

It’s  easy to look at the things we don’t have. But to take a pause from that and focus on the things that we do have is one of the most rewarding skills a person can have. People try to define their happiness by accumulating the things that they have, when happiness can come from the things they already have. Take a moment every day (I like to do it at the beginning and end of every day), to appreciate the things you have. Maybe it’s the fact that you had some free time to pursue a hobby. Maybe it’s the fact that you had a good day. Maybe it’s simply looking forward to the cool crisp sheets you’re about to sleep in. Whatever it is, find something to be extremely grateful for, and let it fill you up with happiness, appreciation, and gratitude. 

3. Savour pleasant experiences

This one is very similar to practicing gratitude. Whereas gratitude may be backwards or forward reflecting, savouring pleasant experiences is something that has to be done in the moment. Stop right now. Take a minute to do absolutely nothing. Focus on the air around you, your breathing, the sounds, your body etc. What about this very moment is pleasant? Now, try this same exercise the next time something pleasant happens to you. Pause and really soak in the moment to appreciate it. 

4. Exercise optimism

This one is perhaps the hardest of them all. Optimism is not something you just do. It is a philosophy and way of life that can take years to fully form. The next time something neutral or bad happens, try to see the glass half full. What about that experience can be beneficial to you? What about that experience has taught you something new? The expression “there is always a silver lining” is almost always true. The trick is looking to find that silver lining. Take every opportunity to find the silver lining, and you will be one step closer to an optimistic attitude. 

15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy

A very interesting link on some things we need to do to be happy:

We hold on to so many things that cause us a great deal of pain, stress and suffering – and instead of letting them all go, instead of allowing ourselves to be stress free and happy – we cling on to them. Not anymore. Starting today we will give up on all those things that no longer serve us, and we will embrace change.

15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy

Letting go is a theme that often comes up when thinking about happiness and truly living in the moment (and seems to have taken the internet by storm thanks to the movie Disney’s “Frozen”). Why are the two so tightly connected? The things that we cling on to the most are things anchored in the past. They are memories, events, habits, incidents, or even objects. But as long as we are living in the past, we aren’t able to fully appreciate the things that are right before us, in the present.

Letting go is allowing yourself to appreciate and accept the past, but move forward without the significant anchor weighing us down. When we are able to move forward from the past as a very valuable teacher, and apply what we have learned to appreciating the moment, we open ourselves to happiness.

On Healing the Past

An interesting thought…

We do not heal the past by dwelling there; we heal the past by living fully in the present. – Marianne Willamson

Pursuing Happiness When It’s Already Within You – A Great Article from Zen Habits

Leo Babauta wrote an incredible piece about why you should pursue anything if happiness comes from within. It’s a short piece that I recommend everyone read:

 

One of the key learnings I’ve had since starting Zen Habits is that everything I need to be happy is already within me.

 

I firmly believe that, but I’ve been asked a good question: if happiness comes from within, why should you pursue anything in life?

 

Why should you pursue goals, achieve anything, connect with others, exercise, eat good food … if you don’t need to do any of that to be happy? It’s a great question, and I’ll answer it with a simple exercise:

Let’s assume you don’t need to do any of that to be happy. You have happiness, from within, and you can go about your day and have just about anything happen and you’ll still be happy.

 

Now what? You can sit there and watch TV or do absolutely nothing, and you’ll be happy. Let’s call that Choice No. 1.

 

Or you can take actions to make others happy, to relieve their suffering, to see that they have the tools for happiness already. Focusing on the happiness of others is Choice No. 2.

 

Now, with either of these choices, you’ll be happy. You can do either, and it won’t necessarily affect your happiness. But with Choice No. 2, you’re increasing the happiness of the world.

 

I’d argue that Choice. No. 2 is better.

 

And this choice, to dedicate your time to helping others, relieving their suffering, making them happy … this is the motivation you can use for doing great things, for building something useful, for creating and working and being a good parent. It’s not about increasing your own happiness, but the happiness of others.

 

Copied directly from Zen Habits. Check out this wonderful site!