Everybody wants to find more fulfillment and happiness in life. As we move forward in this New Year I'd like to share with you 100 lessons that I have learned in my life (and continue to learn) in hopes they will help you find increased happiness and peace in 2011.
1. Pick up a stone and admire it for a few moments.
2. After you put the stone down look at your hand and admire that. Have you ever seen a more beautiful creation?
3. Put a hand on your belly and breathe with only your belly moving.
4. My dad, who was in great shape until he died at 95, used to make a point of thinking of something pleasant before he went to sleep. Try it, see if it works for you.
5. Read the 23rd Psalm.
6. Read a verse or two from Gitanjali, by Rabindranath Tagore.
7. Does life seem transitory to you sometimes? Consider the possibility that at the core of your being you are immortal and unchanging.
8. Look at a photo of your Mom and honor her.
9. Don't look to the world for a sense of importance -- look within, to your own being.
10. Look up at the sky.
11. Consider the timeless words: "My yoke is easy, my burden is light."
12. Be still.
13. Be still some more.
14. Listen to your own inner voice and trust it.
15. Say "thank you" and really mean it.
16. Consider the possibility that you don't have to look for happiness because who you truly are is already happy.
17. Do the thing your mind says it doesn't want to do.
18. Trust life.
19. Don't let thoughts dictate your life.
20. You don't have to see thoughts as an enemy -- just realize that while thoughts come and go, who you truly are at the core of your being does not come and go.
21. Listen to the sweet sound of running water.
22. Be of equal grace to all you meet.
23. Thank your spouse or friend for the many gifts they bring to your life.
24. Know in your heart that life is good and if you play your part and trust life and trust yourself life will unfold as it should.
25. Find some ducks somewhere and take a few minutes to admire them.
26. It's never too late to change your mind.
27. It's never too late to make an extraordinary discovery -- at the core of your being you are already happy.
28. Don't keep your happiness to yourself. Spread it around.
29. Don't know what to do? Be still, and listen. There's always the right thing to do in any situation.
30. Don't close up when strong feelings come. I tried it for a long long time, and it doesn't work. Let yourself feel whatever it is you are feeling, no matter how painful it may be. You will make an amazing discovery. What seemed like sadness, or grief, or fear will change into something altogether different.
31. Discover life's paradox. Be open to change, soft and yielding as water, but remember you are also strong and nothing worthwhile happens without persistence.
32. 2011 is a perfect year to get in shape. Consider going to a gym, if you've never been to one before. You may find it's a lifesaver. It’s helped me in many ways.
33. Spend more time with Nature.
34. Admire the spaciousness of the sky and remind yourself that the spaciousness you see has its origin in you.
35. The sky is simply reflects back to you an aspect of your own being, just as a mountain, or a flower, or another person reflect back to you the oneness of all creation.
36. Never pass up an opportunity to pat another person's dog -- or of course, your own dog.
37. If someone has helped you, or done their best to help you, make sure they know how much you appreciate the helpful person that they are.
38. If despair is upon you, there is something you should know. I've experienced a lot of tribulation -- some of it conscious, some of it unconscious – and I’ve learned that on the other side of despair is joy.
39. It's the joy of our own being, untouched and unchanged by any of the adversities of our life.
40. We come into this world with a unique gift to give. We can think of this in external terms, and that's very appropriate. But the greatest gift you have to give in 2011 is yourself, your own genuine, timeless presence.
41. Be thankful for the gift of hearing. Just listening to some passing geese, or the laughter of a child is more than enough happiness for one day.
42. Don't only listen to external sounds. Listen also to the wisdom of your own spirit speaking to you in the quietness of your heart.
43. Take courage. Let 2011 be a year in which a precious goal or dream of yours comes true.
44. Take patience. Patience is one of the greatest gifts of the universe. As long as you are doing the right thing in this moment, offering the very best you can into this moment, why be too concerned about the future? It will take care of itself, as all the prophets have said.
45. Take pleasure in little things.
46. Take pleasure in the chickadee, for instance, and her unique cry as she goes about her business.
47. Take pleasure in the sight of an old man enjoying his grandchildren.
48. Take pleasure in thinking about the gift that your own physical body has been to you in your life.
49. Even if your body is having troubles at the moment, acknowledge, and be thankful for the extraordinary faithfulness it has shown to you all these years.
50. Don’t be afraid if you lose something precious. There is one thing you can never lose -- your own timeless, boundless being.
51. Sing a new song next time you see your wife, or husband, or friend. I'm not suggesting that you necessarily sing in a physical sense. But don't be afraid to let a part of yourself come out to play that may never have come out to play in your life before.
52. Sing a new song next time you vacuum the house.
53. Sing a new song next time you go to the coffee shop, or to the supermarket, or to a football game. Just because we have done something before doesn't mean we have to experience it in exactly the same way the next time, does it?
54. Life is a victorious experience when we live it properly. I truly believe this.
55. There are riches and wonders waiting to be revealed in your life that I bet you have never even dreamed of yet.
56. Persistence is an aspect of our own divine nature. There is always more persistence available to you in life.
57. Mind you, it's worth remembering that life has a magical, spontaneous quality to it, so that we don't get so hung up on finishing something that we lose any pleasure or enjoyment in what we're doing.
58. As Khalil Gibran aptly said, Who bakes without love bakes a bitter bread that feeds but half man's hunger.
59. When in doubt, smile.
60. I find doing a little abdominal breathing is a wonderful way to reduce stress and get more grounded.
61. It's good to be whole. But let us not forget that wholeness already exists. All we really have to do is let the wholeness of our own being express more fully through us -- in 2011 or any other year.
62. You may already do some Chi Gung, but if not, look into it. It's a great way to keep in shape at every level, especially as we age.
63. A wonderful resource on Chi Gung is a book called, "The Way of Energy," by Master Lam Kam Chuen.
64. Be kind to yourself.
65. Some words I like to say to myself once in a while: "Everything is going to be all right."
66. Reminds me of some words from an old Caribbean song: "Every little thing’s going to be all right."
67. Don't forget the sea, and the wonderful healing energy of the sea. My wife JoAnn and I live in Denver. I know I need to see the sea again. It's a big priority for me in 2011.
68. Just listening to the roar of the sea, the steady background noise that it makes, is uplifting for anybody.
69. The roar of the sea is primeval, like the roar of a lion. May we never lose either one.
70. Stop and listen to the sound that the universe makes in your ear.
71. Stop and note the magnificence of the universe as it displays itself in a fine painting, or in a mountain, or in a brightly colored butterfly.
72. Be true to yourself. Honor yourself. Above all, listen to the voice of your own being in the quietness of your heart.
73. Feel the skin of your own hand. Isn't it a miracle?
74. Pick a blade of grass this summer and stick it between your teeth like you did when you were young.
75. My favorite picture hangs above my computer. It shows a young fox at rest on a mound of earth with a piece of grass in his teeth, eyes shut and face aglow with bliss.
76. Bliss is our true nature. Don't let go of your bliss, follow it wherever it takes you.
77. Don’t be too quick to form an opinion of someone – it takes time to really get to know another person.
78. I don't know if this post will work or not. It's a bit experimental. If it does work, or even if it doesn't, would you write and let me know?
79. Who are you, really? Suppose you are an aspect of Eternal Love finding expression through human form? Our forms come and go -- but the love that you truly are has neither beginning nor end.
80. "Love never fails." Were more beautiful words ever written?
81. Where are the limits of love? Does love have any limits?
82. Love is not bound by time. I just thought of my mother, long gone, and felt a closeness with her that is as strong now as it ever was.
83. If love transcends time, perhaps it also transcends space?
84. If the truth of your being is love, and you get on a plane and go somewhere, do you really go somewhere?
85. Perhaps, when we think we travel, or moving from one town to another, we jump to a conclusion.
86. Perhaps the truth of who you are has not moved at all?
87. Perhaps here is a secret of true peace in life.
88. Got to say a word in support of ravens. I love ravens, love hearing them call. I'm so glad that this townhome complex where we live has a resident flock of ravens I can listen to and watch and love.
89. Don't only look for joy in big things like a relationship, or a trip to Hawaii, or Bali. Look for joy in little things like going for a walk, drinking a cup of tea, or chatting with a friend.
90. Joy is a gift from the universe. It's part of our divine nature.
91. Let the joy that is already inside you be given expression freely through you in these coming months, to bless your own life and the lives of others.
92. Joy is our true name. It was our name before we came into this world, and it will still be our name when we say goodbye to our earthly body that has been our home and friend in this life.
93. It's never too late to open your heart to joy. It’s simple mathematics. The more joy and love you express, the more joy and love you know.
94. Same thing with freedom. The more we open our mind and our heart to the true freedom that already exists within our own being regardless of circumstance the more we experience the truth of freedom in our lives.
95. Joy and freedom. Freedom and joy. Such beautiful words, aren't they?
96. I'm writing this post in a little study in a sweet little townhome complex in Denver, Colorado. Wherever you are, and wherever you live, I want to say "hi," and reach out a hand of friendship and blessing to you. I wish you a truly happy, fulfilling and creative new year.
97. We are not as separate from one another as we may have thought.
98. You are part of a beautiful, harmonious whole.
99. You are loved by this Whole.
100. May you be strengthened and sustained by love as you move into whatever 2011 holds in store for you.