Thursday, December 31, 2015

Ten Things to Take With You on the Ride Through 2016

I first posted this list in 2009. It's a list that has stayed with me and is now well-used, crumpled, worn, and torn in a couple of spots - none of which has any effect on its usefulness. So, I present it to you again, slightly reworked and revamped, but still intact with respect to its original spirit and thought process.

I wish you all a very
Happy New Year!

Now, without further ado...

Here is my basic Life Toolkit - also known as Ten Things to Take With You on the Ride Through 2016. I promise, you'll be equipped to deal with pretty much everything if you keep these in mind.

  • Never mind that the word kindness is a noun - it is an action, and it requires action. No one was ever accused of being kind who sat in a corner doing nothing. 
  • Contrary to popular belief, Time does not heal all wounds. Nature does. Surrounding oneself with natural beauty reminds one that everything shares an interconnection and that sometimes the big heavy stuff (while seeming to require a mental forklift on our individual parts) is but a grain of sand in the grand schema. That doesn't mean that we or our lives are in any way insignificant - keep in mind that a single grain of sand can change everything (ever get one caught in your eye?). 
  • Laughter is a requirement, particularly the ability to use it while looking in the mirror. 
  • Significant events in life will happen if you're ready or not. Keep these emergency supplies handy: observation, openness, at least one good friend (with two good ears), inventiveness and/or creativity, sense of humor, water, and chocolate. 
  • Love, while a useful tool, is not a possession. Give it away. The one who dies with the emptiest toolbox wins. 
  • Music is as essential to survival as food is. It can change an attitude. It can fix a mood. It just plain feels good to belt out a familiar tune, or dance (even if it's alone in the living room), or close your eyes and escape to whatever desert island awaits (I hear Bob Marley and I don't care how cold it is - I'm puttin' on a Hawaiian shirt!). And so, as the man sang, "Lively up yourself. Don't be no drag." 
  • Physical Fitness, Mental Fitness, and Spiritual Fitness are a triad and require strength on all three sides. Therefore on a daily "nutritional" basis:
Eat Well - We all know how to do that, I don't need to expound.
Think (outside the box will give you the best workout) - Learn something, feed your head.
Meditate - dream, pray, whatever you want to call it, so long as you take time to nurture your spirit.
Get daily exercise - Walk, get outside and get outside yourself!
Experience - give your heart a very long leash, remembering the words of Rilke: no feeling is final.

  • Connect with Innocence, whether it's a child or an animal. Seeing the world through unblemished, unjaded, non-judgmental, unconditionally loving eyes is a joyful thing. If you don't have a child or a pet, visit one - generally speaking, good parents and good pet owners are happy to share. 
  • Sometimes the person you need most in your life is (still) a stranger. Sometimes the person they most need is YOU. Say hello (with a smile, damn it!) to people you don't know. 
  • There's no rewind, there's no fast forward, there is no pause. There is only Play or Stop. Take care to keep it on Play - you're needed more than you know. (Oh, and there are no subtitles either, so speak up!)