Well, I’m back… been some time now away from the blogger…. just get caught up in the rat race of the materialistic world……..reminds me of an old poem by W. H. Davies
WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?
No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
Wow…though this was written somewhere in the 1890s, isn’t this so apt for the current world? Caught up in this rat- race today, which we term as LIFE, I often feel that we have lost the beauty in our lives. We are all so busy making a living that we forget to live – kind of ironical, isn’t it?
We are so caught up in our professional lives, struggling to compete, fearing a single minute rest lest someone overtakes you, rising costs, inflation, recession, soaring prices, increasing credit cards, loans etc—a whole range of illnesses afflicted to the modern society alone . Sometimes I wonder, is this what Pandora’s Box contained?? The struggle to make a living often makes us lose the basic essence of it--- LIVING…. Living is different from existing--- anybody, anything can exist…. But to Live, is an experience, a commitment to yourself and others, an investment which will never backfire, a profession where you will soar heights, a relationship which needs to be nurtured and many many more…. I could go on and on…
Yes, you will tell me, I need to fend for my family, I need to earn money, I need to think of my children’s education, post retirement plans etc etc.
That's fine, and comfortable, until you have gone through another year without having done anything, without having really lived life.That's fine, until you have reached old age and look back on life with regrets.That's fine, until you see your kids go off to college and realize that you missed their childhoods.
It's not fine. If you want to truly live life, to really experience it, to enjoy it to the fullest, instead of barely scraping by and only living a life of existence, then you need to find ways to break free from the mold and drink from life.
I have picked a list of few ideas, mine and a few plagiarized as well, ones that you would now by yourself, but did not get the time to write down and practice.
1. Love. Perhaps the most important. Fall in love, if you aren't already. If you have, fall in love with your partner all over again. Love family members, friends, anyone -- it doesn't have to be romantic love. Love all of humanity, one person at a time. Expect the worst, rather don’t expect anything at all :).
2. Get outside. Don’t remain indoors; don’t be captured within the 4 walls of your room. Go out when it's raining. Walk on the beach. Hike through the woods. Swim in a freezing lake. Bask in the sun. Play sports, or walk barefoot through grass. Pay close attention to nature.
3. Savor food. One of my favourites :) Don't just eat your food, but really enjoy it. Savor every bite. Good food is a luxury :) And when you do have them, really, really savor them. Slowly.
4. Create a morning ritual. Wake early and greet the day. Watch the sun rise. Out loud, tell yourself that you will not waste this day, which is a gift. You will be compassionate to your fellow human beings, and live every moment to its fullest. Stretch or meditate or exercise as part of your ritual. Enjoy some coffee.
5. Take chances. We often live our lives too cautiously, worried about what might go wrong. Be bold, risk it all. Quit your job and go to business for yourself (plan it out first!), or go up to that girl you've liked for a long time and ask her out. What do you have to lose?
6. Follow excitement. Try to find the things in life that excite you, and then go after them. Make life one exciting adventure after another (with perhaps some quiet times in between).
7. Find your passion. Similar to the above tip, this one asks you to find your calling. Make your living by doing the thing you love to do. First, think about what you really love to do. There may be many things. Find out how you can make a living doing it. It may be difficult, but you only live once.
8. Get out of your cubicle. Do you sit all day in front of computer, shuffling papers and taking phone calls and chatting on the Internet? Don't waste your days like this. Break free from the cubicle environment, this may require a change of jobs, or becoming a freelancer. It's worth it.
9. Turn off the TV. How many hours will we waste away in front of the idiot box? How many hours do we have to live? Unplug the TV. Only plug it back in when you have a DVD of a movie you love. Otherwise, keep it off and find other stuff to do.
10. Travel. Sure, you want to travel some day. When you have vacation time, or when you're older. Well, what are you waiting for? Find a way to take a trip, if not this month, then sometime soon.
11. Rediscover what's important. Take an hour and make a list of everything that's important to you. Add to it everything that you want to do in life. Now cut that list down to 4-5 things. Just the most important things in your life. This is your core list. This is what matters. Focus your life on these things. Make time for them.
12. Eliminate everything else. What's going on in your life that's not on that short list? All that stuff is wasting your time, pulling your attention from what's important. As much as possible, simplify your life by eliminating the stuff that's not on your short list, or minimizing it.
13. Exercise. Get off the couch and go for a walk. Eventually try running. Or do some pushups and crunches. Or swim or bike or row. Or go for a hike. Whatever you do, get active, and you'll love it. And life will be more alive.
14. Be positive. Learn to recognize the negative thoughts you have. These are the self-doubts, the criticisms of others, the complaints, the reasons you can't do something. Then stop yourself when you have these thoughts, and replace them with positive thoughts. Solutions. You can do this!
15. Open your heart. Is your heart a closed bundle of scar tissue? Learn to open it, have it ready to receive love, to give love unconditionally. And practice makes perfect.
16. Face your fears. What are you most afraid of? What is holding you back? Whatever it is, recognize it, and face it. Do what you are most afraid of. Afraid of heights? Go to the tallest building, and look down over the edge. Only by facing our fears can we be free of them.
17. When you suffer, suffer. Life isn't all about fun and games. Suffering is an inevitable part of life. We lose our jobs. We lose our lovers. We lose our pets. We get physically injured or sick. A loved one becomes sick. A parent dies. Learn to feel the pain intensely, and really grieve. This is a part of life -- really feel the pain. And when you're done, move on, and find joy.
18. Slow down. Life moves along at such a rapid pace these days. It's not healthy, and it's not conducive to living. Practice doing everything slowly -- everything, from eating to walking to driving to working to reading. Enjoy what you do. Learn to move at a snail's pace.
19. Touch humanity. Get out of your house and meet people – may be the less privileged. Meet them, talk to them, and understand them. Live among them. Be one of them. Give up your materialistic lifestyle.
20. Volunteer. Volunteer to help. Learn compassion, and learn to help ease the suffering of others. Help the sick, those with disabilities, those who are dying.
21. Play with children. Children, more than anyone else, know how to live. They experience everything in the moment, fully. When they get hurt, they really cry. When they play, they really have fun. Learn from them, instead of thinking you know so much more than them. Play with them, and learn to be joyful like them.
22. Talk to old people. There is no one wiser, more experienced, more learned, than those who have lived through life. They can tell you amazing stories. They are the wisdom of our society -- take advantage of their existence while they're still around.
23. Learn new skills. Constantly improve yourself instead of standing still -- not because you're so imperfect now, but because it is gratifying and satisfying. You should accept yourself as you are, and learn to love who you are, but still try to improve -- if only because the process of improvement is life itself.
24. Find spirituality. For some, this means finding God or Jesus or Allah or Buddha.. For still others, this just means an inner energy. Whatever spirituality means for you, rediscover it, and its power.
25. Take mini-retirements. Don't leave the joy of retirement until you are too old to enjoy it. Do it now, while you're young. It makes working that much more worth it. Find ways to take a year off every few years. Live simply, but live, without having to work. Enjoy life, then go back to work and save up enough money to do it again in a couple of years.
26. Do nothing. There is value in doing nothing as well. Not doing nothing as in reading, or taking a nap, or watching TV, or meditating. Doing nothing as in sitting there, doing nothing. Just learning to be still, in silence, to hear our inner voice, to be in tune with life. Do this daily if possible.
27. Watch sunsets, daily. One of the most beautiful times of day. Make it a daily ritual to find a good spot to watch the sunset, perhaps having a light dinner while you do so.
28. Stop reading magazines. They're basically crap. And they waste your time and money. Cancel your subscriptions and walk past them at the news stands. If you have to read something, read something light, something that interests you.
29. Break out from ruts. Do you do things the same way every day? Change it up. Try something new. Take a different route to work. Start your day out differently. Approach work from a new angle. Look at things from new perspectives.
30. Stop watching the news. It's depressing and useless. If you're news junky, this may be difficult. I haven't watch TV news or read a newspaper regularly in about two years. It hasn't hurt me a bit. J
31. Laugh till you cry. Laughing is one of the best ways to live. Tell jokes and laugh your head off. Watch an awesome comedy. Learn to laugh at anything. Roll on the ground laughing. You'll love it.
32. Lose control. Not only control over yourself, but control over others. It's a bad habit to try to control others -- it will only lead to stress and unhappiness for yourself and those you try to control. Let others live, and live for yourself..
33. Cry. Men, especially, tend to hold in tears, but crying is an amazing release. Cry at sad movies. Cry at a funeral. Cry when you are hurt, or when somebody you love is hurt. It releases these emotions and allows us to cleanse ourselves.
34. Be in the moment. Instead of thinking about things you need to do, or things that have happened to you, or worrying or planning or regretting, think about what you are doing, right now. What is around you? What smells and sounds and sights and feelings are you experiencing? Learn to do this as much as possible through meditation, but also through bringing your focus back to the present as much as you can in everything you do.
35. Appreciate people Be it your friends, family and even strangers – a bit of due appreciation makes a wonderful difference to their lives.
A big list – food for thought… this is what I know I have to do…. I have started on my list and hope to complete most of these with practice…….. if you have additional points , do share them with me :)