Things that Matter Most

Things that Matter Most: My family

“…an admittedly eccentric compilation for which I offer neither apology or justification.  It pretends to no completeness, and will undoubtedly stir in the reader many other ideas, notions, prejudices, and predilections that could also have been included.  Such further thoughts, additions, and objections will thereby prove much the richer as readers are summoned to consider what matters most for them.”

James Hollis,  What Matters Most:  Living a Considered Life

These are the things I wished I learned instead of algebra.  Things I wished my parents told me but I wouldn’t have listened if they did.  Things I know I can’t teach my kids but I will try anyway.  These are the things that matter most.  This is MY list.  I do not assume that what matters most to me matters most to you.  But I have a feeling that we are not all that different from each other.  I know this list is not complete.  This is “Part One” of many.  Take what you want from it, leave the rest.  Love you!

Things that Matter Most: My Band

You are one of a kind, an original.  Out of the 7 billion people on this planet, no one has your talents, your abilities, your body or your soul.

Live a life worth living, a life full of possibilities, a life that matters.  No regrets!

Take care of your body.  “Your body is a metaphor of your story.” Depak Chopra.  Write a good story.  Or, if you are like me, you may need to revise it a few times before you get it right.  That’s OK too.  Eat whole foods, exercise daily, go outside, and breathe deep the fresh air and sunshine.

Things that Matter Most: My favorite walking spot

Follow your soul.

Keep learning, reading, travelling and saying “yes” to the world.  There are teachers everywhere and learning moments in every experience, good and bad.  Embrace them both.

Think outside of the box.  Or, get rid of the box altogether.  There are thousands of things you can do with one paperclip if you set your brain free brain and turn off your inner editor.   There are thousands of things you can do without a paperclip as well.  Be creative.  Keep busy.  “Boredom is the pathology of the depressed, or the unimaginative.”  James Hollis

Do not spend more than you earn.   This is such a simple concept but one of the hardest things for me to live by.

Don’t listen to that annoying little voice in your head.  It’s just an annoying little voice.  Instead, go deeper.  Listen to the voice that knows; the voice with power, the one true voice.  It will not lead you astray.  It knows what is best for you, even if you don’t.  And, the more you pay attention to it, the easier it gets.

When that voice (not the annoying little one) is telling you to do something and you are scared to death to do it, do it anyway.  Fear is just fear.  That’s all.  Don’t be afraid of it.  Don’t let it keep you from your dreams.  When I took my kids out of school to homeschool, I had panic attacks.  I was so afraid I would mess up my kid’s lives forever.  That was fear doing the thinking.  I didn’t mess them up.  In fact, it turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Take risks.  Make mistakes.  Put yourself out on a limb.  Don’t be afraid to make a fool of yourself.  Don’t be afraid to be wrong.  Don’t be afraid to be yourself.  You will miss out on a full and meaningful life if you play it safe.  Don’t miss out!

Learn to live with the anxiety that comes with not missing out.  Get good at feeling uncomfortable.  Discomfort is normal.  Feel the pain.  Embrace the suffering.  Do not anesthetize with food, alcohol, drugs, work, sex or another person.  Do not fall for distractions, fantasies and quick fixes.  “A life lived only in search for highs will prove in the end to be a transient superficial life.” **

Accept that we truly know nothing.  Accept the fact that everything on this list could change next year.  Accept that you will never know all the answers.  The one thing that is for sure is that nothing is for sure.  Embrace this ambiguity.  It is a sign of being a grown-up.

Grow up!

Things the Matter Most: Riley

Things that Matter Most: Casey

Things that Matter Most: Maggie

Be open!  Open your heart.  Open your arms.  Open!  Unlock the mysteries within.  Break down your walls.  If you have to, get that sledgehammer out…

And love…love with all your heart.  Love like Moses, Jesus, Mohammed and Buddha combined.  Love until it hurts.  And it will hurt.

And when it hurts, go ahead and cry. “…you know that a good, long session of weeping can often make you feel better, even if your circumstances have not changed one bit.” ― Lemony SnicketThe Bad Beginning

Things that Matter Most: My girls Weekend

Be the compassion you want to see in this world.  Feel other’s suffering.  Be empathetic.  Do not judge.

Loneliness is a human condition. Solitude is the cure.

There is no magical other.  I repeat, there is no magical other.  Do not expect someone to take care of you, validate you, rescue you or complete you.  Only you can complete you!

Don’t take anything personally.  Toltec wisdom says, “Nothing others do is because of you.”  Nothing!

Live and let live.

Let go and forgive.  Forgive others and most of all forgive yourself.  Anger and resentment is self destructive.  You are the one that suffers. Buddha says, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”

You cannot control another human being.  And, no one can control you.  You are the boss of you.  You do not need permission.  Take personal responsibility for yourself.  No one can protect you from necessary choices.  The choices are yours alone.  You own them.  Take a stand.  Be empowered.  Have a say in your own life.  “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”   The Serenity Prayer

Live your own life, not someone else’s.  Don’t find yourself behind a desk when you want to be behind a drum kit.  The Hindu scriptures tell us, “It is better to do your own duty badly, than to perfectly do another’s.”

More Toltec wisdom:  live with integrity.  Be impeccable with your word.  Don’t assume anything and always, always do your best.

Do not assume that if you are a good person and you live a good life that life will be good to you.  The Universe does not work that way.

Life is not fair.  Get over it.

When life is not happening the way you want, when it is moving slowly or not moving at all; be patient.  Allow things to happen without forcing an outcome.

Things that Matter Most: My boys girlfriends

Happiness is inside of you.  It is not out there.

Happiness is not the measurement of one’s life.  It is a state of being.  Elusive, like trying to catch a butterfly, it bounces on the air here and there, occasionally landing on a random flower or you, then flitters away bouncing off into the air again, usually just out of your reach.  Be thankful when it lands.  And when it flies away, know that it will land again.

Be grateful.

It’s about the journey.

Never ever give up.  As Odysseus reminds us in his hero’s voyage, “I will stay with it and endure through suffering hardship, and once the heaving sea has shaken my raft to pieces, then I will swim.”

Swim, my loves, swim.

Things that Matter Most: You!

And remember always that:

“We are not here to fit in, be well balanced, or provide exempla for others. We are here to be eccentric, different, perhaps strange, perhaps merely to add our small piece, our little clunky, chunky selves, to the great mosaic of being. As the gods intended, we are here to become more and more ourselves.”  James Hollis

So tell me, what is on your list?

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