Archive for ‘Instructions for Life’

October 16, 2013

Instructions for life #3: Do it now

Don’t wait too long to do the things that feel right to you, in the moment when you really feel them pull you. If you do, you might miss the opportunity to grab those things altogether.

Life doesn’t often offer second chances or do-overs. It doesn’t usually insert same amazing people or the same potential experiences into your path more than once. So when you do meet those amazing people or encounter those potential experiences — the ones that really call to you and move you at a deep level — trust yourself enough to follow your heart into action in that moment. Don’t worry about what other people might think, and don’t be put off by “the unknown.” Be brave, and be confident, and honour the energy building inside you while it is still building, because that energy is there for a reason, and that reason wants to be heard.

Do it now, before the next opportunity that really speaks to you stops calling your name for good.

August 21, 2013

Instructions for Life #2: How to build a house that lasts

Today’s bit of inspiration comes from fellow blogger Daniel, whose blog Grow Up Proper I was lucky enough to stumble across today:

You cannot flip a switch and change your life, but you can change yourself and your life will change accordingly.

Many people are searching for that “magic bullet” solution to their problems, for a quick and easy “switch” that will bathe their lives in instant light and rescue them (once and for all) from pain, suffering, discomfort, smallness or what have you.

Important note: ┬áThere is no magic bullet solution to any problem worth solving. Even if there were, I wouldn’t advise that you take it (tempting as it may sometimes seem).

The major changes in life — those that involve personal relationships, career situations, health, day-to-day happiness and other things that really matter — are going to require work, and lots of it. They’ll also require focus, dedication, perseverance, courage, trust and consistency. You will have to put in significant time and significant effort, and you’ll have to put up with periods of stagnation as well as periods of progress. But if you do this steadily and in good faith, you will slowly move forward: you will slowly “change yourself.”

As you begin to gently reshape certain parts of yourself — your environment, your body, your perspectives, your outlook, etc. — your life will begin to change as well. You might not notice the change at first, but one day you will wake up and remark, “Wow, remember when I used to be like THAT?” or “My goodness, I’m so much happier these days than I have been in years!” That’s when you’ll know the changes you’ve made have taken root.

Change like this is not a quick process; it takes time to build a new house in which to live comfortably. You need time to learn how to effectively build and maintain strong foundations, time to weed the short circuits out of your wiring, and time to paint and repaint your interior spaces until they match the colour of your soul. You might not have a clue how to build a house in the first place; in that case, you’ll definitely need time to acquire and practice the skills you’ll need. All this is perfectly fine — and perfectly normal.

If you’re still wishing that you could just snap your fingers and have the whole house go up before your eyes, remember that you get what you put in. A quick job would inevitably have weak foundations, faulty wiring, and colours chosen by some person you don’t even know. You wouldn’t have a clue how to maintain the place, either, since you wouldn’t know it from the inside out. It might last you a while, but it would eventually crumble away and leave you homeless all over again.

So do it right the first time: take the time and make the effort to build your new life as you would take the time and make the effort to build the house of your dreams. It might be a slow process, but it is a process of love, and the end result will be something solid and stable that will last you a lifetime.

August 2, 2013

Instructions for life (#1): Do the things you love NOW

Do the things you love now, because you never know when the possibility or the ability to do those things will be taken away from you. As improbable or impossible as it may seem to you in this moment, you could very well wake up tomorrow and find yourself unable to write, sing, run, speak, walk, swim, go outside, dance, see, hold your children, or what have you. Do the things you love now, while you have the ability to do them. Don’t waste this time, for it is a time-limited gift, and it will not be available to you forever.

Prioritize the things you love above all else. There is little point in frittering away the time that you do have on lesser activities or pursuits. Do only the things that give you true joy, do them often, and do them whole-heartedly. Do not feel guilty about this. This is your life, after all, and the best way to spend it is in doing the things that make you feel the most happy.

Remember that even if you are forced to give up some crucial part of your life because of circumstances beyond your control, you will survive the loss. You will. There are other parts of yourself, as yet explored, waiting to be shown the light. The old parts of you will live on in fond memory, and the new parts will carry you forward into the future.

There are many chapters in your book of life. Not all chapters will be easy or fun to read, but all chapters will be meaningful. Live each chapter fully, while it is before you, because eventually — perhaps at a moment you least expect or desire — that chapter will close for good, leaving you with an entirely different set of words and sentences from which to compose your path and craft your identity.