Friday, June 4, 2010
I read something today that was so profound, and made so much sense I just have to share.
"We search outside ourselves for the validation we crave. And since we have no control over this validation, we can never truly be at peace or gain access to our true power in this life."*
Ever since turning 40 I’ve been trying to give some sort of theme to this decade of my life. Having never been forty before, I’ve had a hard time nailing down what I wanted to accomplish in these 10 years.
I have let the ideals and opinions of others influence and affect me in really significant ways. I have often looked outside myself for guidance on everything from what to wear and how to vote, to what God was to me. I didn’t trust myself to make the very best choices for me, but rather looked to those whose opinion I gave more credibility than my own.
The trick is, when you allow others so much influence over your actions it’s such a gamble, right? For example: almost every time I go to buy clothes I am searching for something I’ve seen in a magazine or on a celebrity. Never mind my body is shaped differently, or that I don’t like the color pink. I see something in a magazine, or on television, and recognize this look as fashion forward, thus I decide I should give it a try. Of all the outfits I can put together, how many earn me compliments from the people I am around? Truly? Maybe 6-10 out of thousands. That's a gamble with very poor odds. Needless to say, I don’t go to Vegas much.
What if I spent as much time really examining my own truth, and then based my behaviors and actions on my internal compass, rather than what was right for others? What if I looked for my own approval first, and then whatever positive reinforcement I accepted from the rest of the world would be sprinkles? It may take a little time to figure out what your truth is, but goodness, isn’t it worth knowing? And personal approval can often be just as difficult to earn as external approval, but it means a lot more in the end.
I certainly haven’t sorted my whole truth out yet, but there are a few things I’m certain about:
1. The world is smaller, and we are more alike than different. Most people believe their actions and words to be good and right, so it is essential to develop the ability to see through various points of view before reacting.
2. There is much more good than bad. These ARE the “good old days.” I’m thrilled and blessed to have been born exactly when I was.
3. I choose not to thoughtlessly take the life of another creature simply for the pleasure of consuming a meal. I don’t judge anyone for their dietary choices, but hope to offer information and really amazing alternatives to eating animals and their secretions.
4. I ask every single day what I can give to the world, rather than what can the world give to me.
5. My body is pretty amazing, and I don’t give a shit if I’m not a runner. I can easily touch my toes to the back of my head, and do the splits both ways, and I fit into jeans I’ve had for 20 years. That’s enough.
6. No one wants to be preached to, or berated. Live what you believe, and if others recognize you as a deeply peaceful and happy person, they will want to try on what you have.
7. Not speaking up for what you believe, or not supporting others for what they believe, is every bit as bad as being a bully. There is no need to be oppressive or unloving, but don’t be a wallflower.
8. Where there is oppression or extreme poverty there will be crime, and people will succumb to violent behavior. Everyone wants and deserves to be heard and their basic needs to be met, whether you think they "deserve," that or not. This is absolutely certain...no wiggle room...it's a fact. When this doesn't happen you have problems.
9. I take care of myself, with oodles of prayer.
This is all I’ve come up with so far, but I’ll keep working on it. *I was inspired by Rolf Gates, who is one of my wonderful teachers, and who wrote an incredible gem of a book, Meditations from the Mat. I can always count on this collection of daily readings to inspire contemplation and motivation to move another step forward.