2021 List: Suggestions for a good life

Every year, I review this list. I edit things in. I edit things out.  Then, I share it with you. It's a good list. For a good life. Enjoy.

Suggestions for a good life.

Bless everything. Everyone and everything you encounter. Every challenge is an invitation to learn and grow. Every person is a manifestation of the Divine - including you. When someone or something doesn’t seem (at all) like a blessing, ask it: What did you come here to show me? Bless it as a teacher. Bless every single thing. Bless it all.

Try to be kind, especially toward yourself and those you live with. This does not mean you should always be ‘nice’ - only that you should seek the path that does the least harm to yourself, to another and to the planet.

Do what you love doing. Instead of searching for your calling, find something you love to do and do it full out - with your whole heart. Treat this ‘something’ as if it was your mission in life. You can’t get calling wrong. Chances are, the thing you love to do is your calling. If not, you’ll know soon enough. Calling will always show itself.

Less screen time. Instead, read books, take walks, write poetry, listen to music. Move your beautiful body. Dance in the kitchen. Learn yoga just so you can do a sun salutation every morning. They’re invigorating, illuminating. Each one is a conversation with body, with heart, with the radiance of the sun inside of you.

Say yes more often. Accept the invitation even though you don’t know anyone. When your husband says, “Hey, you wanna?” put down the crossword puzzle, the novel, the knitting and take his hand. At the same time, say yes to your own inner ‘NO’. If something feels off, don’t do it. Trust your intuition.

Trust your intuition. If you don’t really know what this means, begin to study yourself. Notice when you feel a little ping of guidance kind of pushing you to turn right instead of left. Notice when your belly tightens at the thought of going ‘there’ again. Notice when your mind fills with an image of a friend you haven’t spoken with and you think, “I should call her.” Call her. See what happens.

Tell the truth, especially to yourself. You know what this means. If you don’t know what this means, start where you are. Tell a little bit of truth. Notice how it feels. Tell a little more. Including the truth about how you feel, what you see. The truth about your wisdom, your bright ideas, your vision for the world.

Get out of agreements that compromise your integrity and contracts (especially those unspoken, unwritten ones) that give you a stomachache.

Cultivate joy. Keep a list of things that light you up. Do more of those. If something doesn’t make that list, do less of it.

Share what you have. No matter how humble. Allow others to share with you. A gift, no matter how humble, is an act of grace.

Encourage innovation and creativity. In your kids, your partner, your parent. Doing everything the same old way creates familiar, comfortable, steady. It also creates stagnation, that stuck feeling. Let yourself peek outside-the-box now and then. When you see something out there that looks interesting, go see. (That’s intuition, by the way, leading you toward joy.)

Listen deeply. There is always something to learn. Let yourself hear it.

Add beauty to the world - especially in your own environments, at home and at work. Make a garden. Put up that wallpaper you love because… beauty.

Leave room for silences – in conversation; and in your day. Find a place where you can be alone with your thoughts and go there every day.

Replace worry (and blame) with prayer. Remember EVERYONE is walking their own path or purpose with their own angels, who are working on their behalf. Trust that all hardship leads to learning. Let the people you love learn in their own way. Let the people you blame… oh, I know, this is a hard one… learn in theirs.

Let me repeat that one. It’s life-altering. It’s important. Especially now. The world we are living in can seem scary and uncertain. Replace worry and blame with prayer. Envision the person, the situation, the crisis resolving itself for the greatest good for all involved. Get a clear picture in your mind, adding in the colors, the scents and textures. Add as much detail as you can to the mental image. Imagine the image surrounded by an iridescent soap bubble. Imagine it glowing with light as it floats away from you. Let it go. Let the mystery have it. Let the mystery manage it. If you start worrying again, think of the image in the soap bubble floating in the field of the mystery.

Eat only what you can bless - food that tastes good and adds to your well-being, leaving you energized and healthy. Avoid food that leaves you feeling bloated, angry, spaced out or sick.

Make things with your hands. Knit. Sew. Paint. Glue. Collage. Sculpt. Hammer. Make a scrapbook, a quilt, a garden. Design your own greeting cards (with paper and markers and glitter.) Paint the kitchen cabinets. Buy the fancy doorknobs.

Drink more water. Get enough sleep. Wear a hat that covers your ears in winter. In the summer, don’t forget the sunscreen.

Wear natural fibers. They just feel better.

Naps are nice.