“Take care of your Thoughts because they become Words. Take care of your Words because they will become Actions. Take care of your Actions because they will become Habits. Take care of your Habits because they will form your Character. Take care of your Character because it will form your Destiny, and your Destiny will be your Life.” – Dalai Lama
I’ve found it helpful to choose a word (or words) for the year and this past year I chose “Let it In, Let it Be, Then Let it Go.” Most of the time, I just said to myself, “Let it go.”
Some people refer to this as a mantra or intention. Whatever you call it, choosing a word, phrase or mantra – has proven helpful to me in my self care journey. I spent three years with the same phrase “Simple, Sane, and Sacred” and what came from that is a lifestyle that is so much more relaxed, unstressed, and oh so very much more meaningful to me.
Then last year I chose “Conscious and Compassionate Connection” and I truly enriched some very special relationships in my life.
Is having a word of the year the only thing you need to create everything you desire? Of course not. But reminding myself regularly of a simple phrase that represents a new way of being, an area of my life I’d like to improve, or a new habit I’d like to embrace has proven to be a great tool for self-improvement and self care.
My thoughts became my words. My words became my actions which became my new habits. My new habits, which influenced my character, became my destiny.
This past year, I managed to continue my meditation practice for the fourth year by letting go of needing to do it “better.” By letting go, I chose to sit for 15 minutes a day no matter what and have appreciated such an amazing sense of satisfaction and contentment from my practice.
This past year, I have let go of needing certain people in my life to be a certain way – you know, more like me – and wow, with this, my love for them has increased tenfold and brought me a deep sense of understanding and acceptance.
This past year, I have let go of needing everyone to have the same political views as I and I’m doing a much better job at listening to other’s points of view and appreciating the idea that we can all live together if we can be open to people with different beliefs, ideologies or religious backgrounds. I am seeing that as bizarre as the political landscape has become this year, there really could be a silver lining to it all – a chance to learn to accept others as they are and not as I wish they would be.
I realize that most of the time I need to “let go,” I am perceiving something or someone as being “imperfect.” In other words, the situation, the conversation, the person in front of me is not as I think it should be. And when I embrace my words of the year, I experience over and over again the freedom, the light, the love that comes from leaning in and letting go of what I originally labeled as “imperfect.” I begin to realize that most of the time those imperfections are just labels I create – and so I have the power to let them go and see them as perfect for the time, place, and situation I am experiencing right now.
Consequently, my new words for 2018, will be “Embracing Imperfection.” When I see something or someone as imperfect, my choice will be to ask myself, “How can I celebrate or embrace these imperfections? How can I see the positive side to this? How can I accept people for who they are or who they wish to be and honor their beliefs while still respecting my own?”
Embracing imperfection will help me be easier on myself in times of perceived failures and others in times of perceived ignorance. I look forward to seeing how my world will be rocked with this new way of thinking.
What will your word be for this new year and how will it form your destiny?
For more ideas on how to self-care go to Fuzzy Red Socks.