1. Accept yourself.
If this is difficult, clean up your past as best you can and then look at each day at the end of it so you can make things right as you go along. None of us is ever going to be perfect, but we can start each day fresh and feel good about our imperfect selves.
2. Claim your joy.
Joy is necessary. It’s contagious, so being joyful is a great way to help others. And it begets more of itself. when I was in exile in upstate NY (we had a tragic death in the family
and moved there to heal, but since I am intensely urban, it just made
things worse for me), and I came back to NYC, got a sublet, and spent
two whole weeks here where the way of life fits me well. I’d argued
with myself over spending the money, yada, yada. However, as a result
of being here and being infectiously happiness daily, in spite of the
circumstances in my life at that time, I got a writing assignment, a
major speaking gig, two new coaching clients, and even a surprise
income tax refund during that mere fortnight’s foray into joy.
3. Keep a Sabbath.
If you don’t have a religious Sabbath, just pick a day and set it aside for spiritual, recreational (that means re-create, you know), and delightful endeavors. For me, it means no email and keeping my desk verboten.
4. Cultivate greater compassion.
“Feel with” (that’s the basic definition of the word compassion) the homeless guy on the corner, whether you opt to give him a buck or not. Feel with the people you read about in the paper, and expand your circle of compassion to include other sentient beings. The Jain saint Mahavira put it so beautifully: “To every creature, his own life is very dear.”
5. Treat your body as a temple.
Honor it. Care for it. Treat it kindly. Use it well. Feed it the best food, give it enough rest and exercise, and show it some appreciation: it does a lot for you.
6. Share your time, talent, treasure.
Give of your time, let the world benefit from your talents, and give of your resources, either through tithing (regular giving of 10% of all money that comes to you) or some other system of sharing. This makes the world better and opens the way for the universe to give back to you.
7. Study and learn.
Read the scriptures of the world or of your own tradition. Read the spiritual classics such as The Yoga Sutras of Patajali, with its timeless moral teachings of nonviolence, truthfulness, non-stealing, moral conduct regarding sex, and non-greed. Or Brother Lawrence’s The Practice of the Presence of God, which explores the idea of doing even the most menial act “to the glory of God.” And read new books that help open your mind to more wonder and beauty and grace.
8. Create community.
Bring into your circle people who are also on a spiritual quest. You need them to reflect back to you what’s really important.
9. Allow others to, simply, be.
Principle 9 states that you need people around you whose spiritual questing is in keeping with yours, but you also need to allow other people to be on other paths and some to be on, seemingly, no path at all. Shine your light: if it’s of the wattage they can see and appreciate, they may want what you have and they’ll ask how you got it. If not, trust that they have a Higher Power, too, and that they’re just where they should be.
10. Find Spirit everywhere.
Look around your life and your day and find God, Spirit, Presence, Source Energy. See it in nature, in serendipity, in children and animals, in art and beauty, in simple pleasures.
Thank you for reading my blog, posting your comments, and letting other people know about it. It means a lot. With appreciation — Victoria