A new dawn is upon us:
The hands of time are welcoming in the days and nights of a new year, and we have many plans for resolutions.
Instead of promises, however, I collect lessons, and squeeze them to make life’s martini.
Without a doubt, life teaches us well. We must keep our eyes and ears open to all the experiences it provides.
For me, this past year was the first one that I played the game of life consciously: 2019 was the year I met myself. While 2018 was about preparation and processing the pain of the past, this year indeed became the year of freeing myself—spiritually and emotionally.
From taking up yoga teacher training and stepping out of my comfort zone to expressing myself through writing, art, and photography to the more significant undertakings associated with settling in as a mother post-divorce, 2019 was the year I faced my own existence. I understand now that I thrive most when I am creative, rather than as an employee of a company. I am a free soul who has to run wild; restrictions suffocate me.
Now that I know myself, 2020 is the year to implement what I have learned. With this thought, I share the lessons I amassed painstakingly and sometimes unknowingly—and that I squeezed to make life’s martini.
May it be of benefit:
Self-care: how are we doing?
- Self-compassion is the first step toward healing. When we don’t dismiss emotions, we connect to our inner and external worlds in a way that aligns with our well-being.
- Move your body: walking, going to the gym, biking, gardening—anything will do. Eat a more plant-based diet. Most diseases result from a lack of physical activity and healthy nutrition.
- Have boundaries that empower you and are non-negotiable. Practice saying “no” more often.
- Make time for passions and hobbies—the kind that nourish one’s soul. And take that vacation you’ve been putting off!
- Forgive your past. What’s most important after we’ve made a mistake is to learn from it so we can carve a better future.
- Pick a cause and volunteer. By serving others, we also heal in the process.
- Our thoughts shape our reality—be generously self-affirming, always.
A roller-coaster of happiness and sadness.
- Emotional ups and downs in life are guaranteed. Our response to each such situation determines the quality of our life.
- Endeavoring to control the future can cause us a lot of anxiety. Instead, practice nonattachment to a specific idea or result.
- How we act, think, and live, if not aligned with our highest truth, will break us down, resulting in depression. And know that depression is treatable—please seek professional support to heal.
- Do not depend upon tomorrow to be happy. Be joyous today in all conditions.
- Don’t take life too seriously, and instead approach it with humor and playfulness.
- Build each other up—there are others in the same situation or worse.
Relationship with self and others.
- One’s relationship with “self” determines the relationship with others.
- Don’t let anyone else dictate your worth, and don’t be the sacrificial lamb. As a giver, invest your energies discretionally. Co-dependent, need-based relationships become a burden for everyone involved. Don’t rely on others for meaning and happiness.
- Let go of toxic situations and people with too many toxic behaviors, both of which drain versus uplift your inner being.
- In healthy relationships, one can express themselves freely without fear of judgment.
- Remember that human relationships are not definite.
- Be comfortable in solitude.
- Divorce does not imply that children belong to a broken home, especially if a parent is loving and attentive to their needs.
- Abuse—emotional and/or physical—is a red, flashing light in any relationship. Recognize the signs and take careful steps to leave the situation.
What’s up with your soul business?
- If you are spiritually inclined, refocus your energy in that area—our meditative reflections can break barriers and help us achieve our highest self.
- Meditation is often seen as a practice to control the mind. Contrarily, one must allow the thoughts to flow in, acknowledge them mindfully, show patience toward them, and then let them go.
- The path to spiritual enlightenment begins with questions. Meditation may not have all the answers, but the resulting state of mind and body allows us to be pleasantly relaxed while we discover our answers.
- Nature may seem abundant and unlimited, but it isn’t infinite. Be eco-conscious and strive to preserve the equilibrium within our natural world.
- From the birds flying in the sky to the grasshoppers on the ground, all of life is part of the perfect mechanism of nature. We must respect this mechanism.
- Always consider what are we doing to help the environment. As a small step, I have steel straws for my children and carry bamboo utensils with me everywhere.
- Learn more ways to live an eco-friendly life here.
Success: don’t believe the hype.
- Don’t let others define your view of success.
- Success always comes at a cost—understand what that cost is, and decide whether it is worth it.
- Success without spirituality may result in our downfall with grandiose wants of more and more.
- Believe in the one reason why something will work rather than the countless reasons why something will not.
- The pressure to excel is either self-inflicted or fueled by the expectations of others. Either way, the build-up of pressure will find a way to escape, one way or another, in our lives.
- Busy does not equal success. Question your day. Are you simply filling up your day, or are you productive?
- Success is in being in the driver’s seat of one’s life; success is found in kindness, love, gratitude, and service to others.
Life as we know it.
- Count your blessings—a pearl of old wisdom that is applicable at all times. With that gratitude comes humility and bliss.
- We do not have to be stuck in one place, physically or emotionally—life’s middle name is change.
- Suffering is a given for any form of life that exists on this planet.
- Be fearless wherever you go.
- Many times, we question, “Why me?” Instead, we can ask ourselves what the lesson is, and then we can ask, “What’s next?”
- We should only compete with ourselves to evolve into our highest selves.
- Live more meaningfully and joyously by remembering we are mortal beings.
- With a free will to choose, we can change our destiny. However, the results of our actions are ours to bear.
As we all welcome the new year, these lessons remind us of how far we may have come on our journey. May we transform these lessons into actions for a blissful life. May we continue to savor the martini of life squeezed from these lessons. Cheers!