Sometimes, it is not the answers we get, but the questions we ask. While this might seem poignant, it’s true. And now is the best time ever to reflect on this. Why – you may ask?
Because the mid-year flog has cleared.
Half of yet another exciting year – 2018 – is over and been put to bed. The year might have started with promises, hopes, and dreams, and perhaps the direction of those dreams changed as winter gave way to spring.
Are you one of those enthusiasts who writes a list of annual personal goals? Or do you shun such rhetoric and would prefer to swim where the tide turns?
If you dreamt of bungee jumping or are waiting for it to happen – you could still try this little exercise. Grab a warm cuppa, a cozy corner, and some silent time.
Many corporates do an annual or half-yearly review to understand their employees, examine performance, and align themselves for the rest of the year. While the methods and nuances of such corporate reviews could be up for debate, there is no harm in simply examining ourselves in our personal space.
And like the wise said: life is not what happens to you, but for you. And only you can make it happen.
So, back to the exercise.
Don’t say you didn’t know. So here goes:
- Remember, this is a non-stress inducing, absolutely relaxing read. If your heart is racing with ideas, then take a few deep breaths. And jot them down.
- The degree of participation bears a direct relation to a feeling of lightness. It could impact your heart too. In a good way.
- Patience is a virtue of the ones courageous enough to do the exercises.
- Inspiration works better when used often. We don’t recommend trapping such inspirations in the deep recesses of your heart.
- Can’t think of issuing any more warnings.
Part I: Go for it!
1. Pull out your list of goals for 2018
Where have you reached? Have you been able to tick off your goals? Have you found it difficult to make progress with some? Do some of those dreams seem a little idealistic, or do they still resonate with you? If given a chance, would you alter any of the goals or do they still hold true?
2. If you didn’t start on a goal list in December 2017/January 2018 – this could be a good time to do so.
These questions could help to think through:
- Which areas do I want to grow in?
- What are my strengths?
- Which experiences would I like?
- Who is the person I want to be?
- How do I want to contribute to people around me?
The key is to put down what you’re passionate about, work at it, and find a way of making it a reality. And after all that hard work, don’t forget to let go, and move with the flow of things. A goal list does not aim to give you sleepless nights, a sense of frustration or guilt. It is simply to give your life a direction. To ensure that you’re using your time, and energy on all things wise and beautiful.
Part II: Slow down
1. Assess the half-year that has gone by
Review your growth. e.g.:
Did I behave from a space which resonates with me?
Was I able to inculcate a habit I always wanted to?
How was my journey of the past six months?
It’s akin to creating a personal report card, perhaps which only you will view and give yourself a pat. It’s a little assessment to celebrate the life you’ve led, revel in your growth, and acknowledge your strength, and progress.
Part III: Remember these little nuggets of inspiration
A few wisdom nuggets from a spiritual teacher, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, to anchor you in the now.
1. Honor the wisdom in your life
“Wisdom is there in each and every one of us, but we must throw light on our life because when we throw light on our life, wisdom dawns.
Many times, we turn our face the other way around, close our eyes, and gallop towards our desires. Honor the wisdom.”
“It is wisdom that holds the key to happiness. Wisdom has nothing to do with gathering information; it is just a shift in the quality of the consciousness.”
Life has a way of giving us the wisdom that we need, to grow deeper, and become wiser.
Perhaps it was to accept a friend?
Maybe practice more patience?
Learn to take things lightly!
What is the wisdom that life has taught you?
Acknowledge the shift that wisdom has brought in you. Whether the shift is slow to recognize or apparent. The awareness of the shift will give you, both, motivation and joy.
2. Practice being grateful
“Out of all the negative emotions that surround us, fear and anger impact us more than the others. They rob us of our inner peace and at times stretch our sanity to the extreme. Gratitude is the antidote to both of these emotions. It is impossible to be simultaneously grateful and angry or fearful. When we acknowledge what is good in our lives, we stop focusing on the negative and instead make use of what we already have. Happiness then becomes a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. Like all good habits, the habit of gratitude pays off big.”
Make practicing gratitude a part of your daily routine.
Take a few minutes out each day and be mindful of all the little things that happen which help us survive and thrive.
“Consider this – if you knew that doing a particular habit daily would considerably improve your overall well being and it would only take a few minutes a day, you would do it without fail! Feeling contentment and gratitude for the abundance in life is one such habit. It costs you almost nothing to do and pays dividends that last a lifetime. The only catch, it should be a consistent habit. We don’t go to the gym one day and get fit for life. The practice of gratitude is like a gym for the mind, do it daily to reap maximum rewards.”
3. Utilize your gifts
“Utilize the gifts you have been given. You have been bestowed with so many blessings; use the blessings that have come your way, you will get more. Use your gifts for society and the world.”
Make a list of your talents, and strengths. And write down at least one way in which you will use it to contribute to making the world a better place.
Perhaps you have a unique sense of humor and would like to use it to bring people together when working on an office project. That’s your way of contributing.
Do you cook really well? Perhaps you want to participate in the weekly food drive happening in your neighborhood.
Whichever way you decide will be the best one possible.
4. Recognize the greatness in you
“Recognize the greatness in you, recognize the greatness in others. Then there is no you; there is no other. And that is Namaste. That is fullness.”
Be respectful, and operate from a space of compassion. Examine yourself in situations, especially when things might seem unfavorable, or unpleasant. Can you still operate from respect and compassion?
5. Acknowledge your Guru-hood
“Everybody is a student, and everybody is a teacher as well. By default, you are all teaching someone something. Whether you want to or not, you are a Guru. Whether you acknowledge this or not, you are a Guru.”
Offer guidance, love, and care to people. Decide at least three ways in which you want to better play the role of a guru.
Give with complete awareness, without expecting anything in return.
Congratulations. You’re almost there.
Sometimes, a little introspection can provide that much-required life compass. Add some quiet time and meditation practices to your daily schedule – and you’re setting yourself up for growth, and success. Architect your life on hope, and love. And don’t forget to use floss!
Based on Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s knowledge talks and inputs by Dr. Prema Seshadri, Faculty, The Art of Living
Written for The Art of Living website