Maps Not Measuring Sticks

#truelove #allowing #dating

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Maps Not Measuring Sticks
It’s an interesting exercise to sit down and add up all of the things you think you should be doing every day and see how much time doing all of those things would actually take.

I would like to bet that meditating, blogging, journaling, reading, visualizing your day, gratitude-listing, cooking and eating healthy meals, taking your vitamins, exercising, brushing and flossing, handwriting thank you notes, never lunching alone, calling your mom, and oh right, also putting in a full day of work, taking care of family, and getting the 7 to 8 hours of sleep we are supposed to get, for most people will simply not fit in a 24-hour time span.

And yet if you read articles like “5 Things Super Successful People Do Before 8 a.m.” you might walk away feeling like there’s something wrong with you if you can’t fit in half of that list before 8 o’clock in the morning.

Every time a new article comes out telling you why writing every day is good for you or that you’ll be happier if you [fill in the blank], it is difficult to not feel compelled to add those things to the list of expectations that you have for yourself and then feel disappointed in yourself when you somehow can’t magically fit 30 hours of activity into 24.

Part of that disappointment comes from the fact that we assume that if other people are sharing this advice with us, they must have somehow figured out a way to follow all of it.

Advice meant as a map to help us on our journey, we end up treating as a measuring stick of our own abilities and potential.

We have been storytelling and map-making for centuries as a way to help the next people after us find their way, getting through their journeys with fewer trials and tribulations.

Without maps we’d spend our days wandering around constantly having to discover and rediscover the same things over and over again, staying longer in the same spot instead of making forward progress.

But a map is most useful when it shows you all of the potential paths, not just one way to go.

The Internet has been a boon for the sharing of wisdom, roadmaps, and advice, but it has also created a whole marketplace for the sharing of what appears to be a single correct route to success. Advice on hacking our lives toward better performance and productivity and happiness is the dieting advice of this decade.

And just like dieting advice, it can often feel prescriptive and closed, instead of something that is exploratory and open.

So we have to bring the exploration and openness back to it.

We can shift from seeing an article about how early risers are more successful as a dictatorial decree (no matter how the headline is written) to seeing it is an invitation for us to explore, to keep our own curiosity about ourselves alive, and to check in with ourselves about how intentional we are being about what we do with our time and how our current habits are working for us.

If you find that when you sleep until 8 or 9 a.m. you always wake up feeling behind and feeling that you have to rush through your day, then waking up earlier could be good for you. Not because it checks off the “waking up early” box, but because it could make you feel better.

But only you know that.

All of these suggestions give us an opportunity to check ourselves, to check what we “know,” to check the assumptions we’ve made about what we can and can’t do. If in the back of our minds we’ve always wanted to write but keep telling ourselves we don’t have time, is that really true? How important is that to us? If it’s that important why aren’t we finding even 10 minutes a day to do it?

At its best, the wisdom and experience of others leads you to ask yourself important questions that help you, in turn, develop deeper wisdom about yourself.

It is a map with multiple routes. A choose your own adventure with wise hints along the way.

11 Things We Do That Make Us Miserable
Oftentimes we read about what we can do to increase our happiness through valuable tips, tricks and techniques. I love reading this stuff and noticing the impact it has on my day and my life. Sometimes equally important is identifying what habits we have that negate all of the positive mindset gearing we do.

Here are 11 things many of us are guilty of that sabotage our peace, joy and calm:

1. Hold a grudge
Forgiveness is the key to freedom. As Marianne Williamson says, “Forgiveness is actually out of self-interest.” When we hate, feel anger or resentment towards another, the intended impact, to hurt them, backfires on us. We harbor the anger and resentment within our own minds and bodies. And it’s poisonous. Under Williamson’s advice, try to see a situation differently. How must my enemy have felt to act the way they did? What fear did they feel? What good qualities does this person have that perhaps I have never thought about? I have four sisters, and one of them has not spoken to me in 12 years — despite lots of effort on my part. It made me confused and angry for a long time. My forgiveness way of thinking opened me up to compassion. When I think of her now I do so with love. It takes practice but this does get easier.

2. Give up on our dreams
To me this is the saddest one. As Marie Forleo says, “The world needs that special gift that only you have.” So often we bury our gifts, follow a “safe” path or simply do not have the courage to pursue what it is that we want. This results in a lot of regret later in life and even in the present moment. I heard once that the definition of hell is when the person you are meets the person you could have been. Our inner voice knows when we are not living our truth and this voice does not go away although we do our best to tune it out. By ignoring our dreams we are not sharing our unique gifts with the world.

3. Not make time for what brings us joy
This is aligned with number two. Do you love to write, draw, sing, teach? When we do not make what brings us joy a priority we are often completely unaware of the happiness we could be experiencing. It results is a much less rich, less colorful life.

4. Settle for superficial relationships

Since moving to New York I really noticed this. When making new friends I realized that a lot of time people do not talk about things that really matter, let alone make themselves vulnerable. Whenever I bring up my early divorce or humble upbringing, people tend to open up with me too, as we all secretly want to make a genuine connection with other people. People often tell me, “Its so nice to talk about this stuff.” We don’t realize that connecting with others has nothing to do with our exotic vacations or successful career stories — it is about making a soul connection which often arises from deeper conversations.

5. Compare!
Buddha said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Comparison is selective, exaggerated and unreal. We have no idea what is going on in other people’s lives. We may envy their fortune but not know their child is struggling with bullying or that their marriage is falling apart. Instead we should be too busy envying our own good fortune (gratitude, my friends).

6. Value possessions over experiences
Marianne Williamson says in A Return to Love, “Material things are not good or bad, they are just nothing.” We prize possessions so highly when life experiences are so much more meaningful. We often do not make travel, trips to see loved ones, going to our favorite live event, and dinner with an old friend a priority over shopping and collecting things.

7. Tell ourselves life is “good enough”
Truly happy people push themselves. They understand that pushing our boundaries and making progress is rewarding and fun. When was the last time you did something completely new or set the bar higher for yourself?

8. Let fear, not creativity, rule
The next time we make a decision, lets tune in to which part of us it is coming from. The best decisions are always made out of creativity and love. Jack Kornfield says, “Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I would like to see you in better living conditions.”

9. Do not give
At the end of it all, it is not about us! The greatest, most real and rewarding sense of happiness comes from helping others. I know a lawyer who teaches guitar on Sundays to children who cannot afford lessons. He says it is one of his greatest source of happiness. To me, this is the most beautiful thing about the world — that giving of ourselves creates the most joy.

10. Self-medicate
Brene Brown says in her famous Ted Talk that, “The USA is the most medicated, in debt, addicted and obese nation in the world.” All of these things offer temporary satisfaction but in the longer term make us depressed. We are looking for joy outside of ourselves. Joy and peace come from within.

11. Fail to live in the moment!
We are so busy worrying about what will be in the future or living in the past. True joy, peace and contentment come from being alive and present in the current moment. It is all we have and it is all there really is.

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