There are days I wake up to the harsh world and ask how I can possibly be an optimist about this.
At times, it has had me frozen in fear, past the point of apathy, or lost in the mundane.
And It’s hard to get through, to see the light.
The trick of maintaining inner peace, despite the outer turmoil of the world, is quite a feat. It’s easy to find peace on mountain tops but what about bringing it straight to the concrete jungle? Here, where we deal with traffic, bills, and so much noise. And the disconnected world continues to spin around us, seemingly faster and faster. This is where we really test our strength.
The peacefulness we experience (in nature or wherever you find it) can be brought with us wherever we go. We can tap into it within ourselves at any moment, finding complete and portable peacefulness.
Recently, I made a few new habits into daily practices, many of them small. These practices keep me connected; they allow me to see the magic and to find the peace within and spread it. The result has been a rippling of positive effects on my life and the people in it.
Here’s my list that keeps all of my days magical:
1) Choose to see the magic.
It’s as simple as choosing to see and appreciate magical moments everywhere and in all things. Not just when it’s easy and life is beautiful. This takes practice but gets easier and easier.
We are a spirit, that is, for now in human form. Everything around us is spirit as well. There’s no line; the reflections of the divine are infinite—and through all things. We can learn from all around us. Before I could feel fully alive, I had to agree to see it, hear it and believe it. This is where we begin. When taking the time to look, listen and pay attention you can begin to notice the universe speaking to you.
My tip: Observe and appreciate details. Things get more real when you’re zooming up close. The complexity of life is astounding and often breathtaking. This also brings you into the present moment.
2) Make someone smile today.
This is the mantra of one of my best friends. I watched him enact it daily. His selflessness made him so happy he literally glowed. Watching him spread his cheerfulness, which we all know is contagious (just like a grumpy attitude), changed my life directly and indirectly. I watched how his light lit up everyone in his path, myself included.
My tip: Carry out random acts of kindness. You don’t need to donate your life savings to a charity or volunteer overseas but open the door for a stranger or let another sit on the bus when there’s one spot left.
As George Eliot says, “What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?” The smallest actions make me feel like I’m changing the world to be at least a little bit better.
3) Light yourself up from the inside.
What do you love? What lights you up? What do you daydream about?
Just do that a little more.
You don’t have to quit your day job, publish a best seller or sell a million dollar painting (at least not yet).
But do stir and fuel that fire! Who knows what you will get cooking?
4) Move your body.
The ability to feel is a truly beautiful gift. Use your body.
Oddly enough, the body helps us to connect to the mind. Learn to focus the mind on something inside the body, and learn how to focus on a sensation in the mind. Synergy.
My tip: This became more apparent to me when I began a regular yoga practice; the melding of mind, body and spirit. The awareness I learned of my body on the mat brought me to awareness of my mind and emotions. Yoga practice doesn’t end when you get off the mat. I tell my friends yoga practice taught me how to live.
5) Envision your highest self.
When I get down in the dumps or am being mean to myself, I picture the person that I want to be, then I ask myself, “Would she talk to herself like that?” or “would she behave like that?” When the thoughts are negative, the answer is always no.
Write a story and don’t limit your potential because whether you believe you can or you believe you can’t, you’re right.
Author: Annette Huebner
Editor: Catherine Monkman