I woke up this, first day of spring, morning from a bad dream. Thankfully it wasn’t a full-blown nightmare—I have those too. This dream was about being in a terrible accident and waking up paralyzed; my mobility forever at the mercy of a wheelchair; my way of life abruptly halted. In the dream, I was frantic, pushing back against a reality that I was unwilling to accept as my future. I pleaded with my family and closest friends to let me go. I was afraid of a life that felt powerless to me.
Because of that dream, I started my quiet time this morning with not only my usual “Thank you God for all I have and for all the joy I experience”, but also, “thank you for the abilities I, much too often, take for granted.”
Through a fair amount of dream research over the years, I know that night visions are rarely interpretations of something literal. It wasn’t until I was in a calmer, contemplative state that I was able to step back and figure out what was behind the fear-filled thoughts that streamed through my mind.
I’m aware that, often, I feel like I’m simply not enough. I’m metaphorically paralyzed by: “what if this doesn’t work, what if I’m not supposed to choose this path, what if I never accomplish my goals, or live up to the belief that others have in me, what if I just can’t do enough?”
I’ve been thinking about the “rules” that we live by—bullet points in life that become the framework within which we believe we should exist. For some folks there may be just one or two; for others there may be a hundred. So much of that depends on your experience to this point in time. I recognized this morning that I hold dear many guidelines that are fundamental to how I try to live. Sometimes it’s so overwhelming—there is so much that I believe is important—that I’m paralyzed by the fear of not being enough.
These “Seven Cardinal Rules for Life” have been widely accepted in our culture:
Make peace with your past.
When you are not defined by your past, you’re free to create a life that reflects who you are now. What has happened up to this moment can no longer negatively influence the future, so, with intentionality, you choose to move forward as your best self.
Don’t worry so much about what others think.
From a big picture perspective, I agree, but this is a whole lot easier said that done! It takes work, but if you can get to a place where your recognize how special you are—how much value you add to our world—it becomes easier to let go of other people’s views of you.
Time heals almost everything.
Given enough time, most pain/hurt/loss will have less power. There have been times that I was simply “hanging on by a thread”, and thought I’d never be me again, but I found myself—sometimes different but still present. The scars we have—both physical and non-physical—are testaments to having lived.
No one, except yourself, is the reason for your happiness.
Find your joy, find your passion, find what feeds your soul and then move into that space. Happiness is self-created, and inextricably linked to the life that’s being played out. You can’t find happiness unless you believe in the possibility of it being part of your life.
Don’t compare your life with the lives of others.
What we “see” of another’s life is not the totality of it, just a glimpse of it. What’s played out in public is often not a true representation of what’s really going on behind closed doors. Your life is a creation of the environment into which you were born, and the choices you’ve made. Don’t assume that someone else’s reality is any different.
Stop thinking so much.
Disclaimer—this is next to impossible for me. I’ve been over-thinking my entire life. Having admitted that, I am aware that no matter how much I think, I’ll never have all the answers, and that’s as it should be. It’s okay to simply be in the moment without second-guessing it, analyzing it or managing it.
Smiling does have a positive psychological impact for both the smile-wearer and anyone he or she comes into contact with. If there’s even one thing to smile about, do it! Who knows when that opportunity will come again? Who knows, too, if that smile might just be what’s needed to change another person’s day?
Those are the traditionally accepted “cardinal rules”. I’d like to add these:
Help others—especially those in need.
Don’t assume you know what someone else is thinking.
Answer a person when he/she speaks to you.
Don’t keep doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.
Don’t judge others.
Forgive, and try to not let the pain lessen who you are.
Make time for the people who are most important to you.
Don’t long for what others have.
Tell the truth, especially to yourself.
Follow your heart, not the crowd.
Treat your body with respect.
When given a choice, take the high road.
Think before you speak.
Be the person you want to be.
Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.
Remember, always, your self-worth.
This first day of spring always brings me hopefulness. Even on a day where snow is still piled high outside the window,
I know that warmth is on its way.
I know that I get to dream big.
I know that I get to wake up and see the light.
I know that I have a compass to guide me.
I know that my life is blessed.
I know that if I take it day-by-day
it’ll all work out.
©peace full home™/intentional living
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