Two Questions to Ask Yourself Daily That Will Change Your Life
On a recent visit to my mom in New York, the residents where she lives threw a farewell party for a religious leader who regularly visited their retirement community. When the rabbi got up to speak to her well-wishers, she asked the group of elderly residents, some as old as 100 years old, “How will you bring light into your life today and how will you share your light with the world?” These two questions struck me as quite powerful ones to ask of this particular group, driving home the fact that we all have light within us that we can connect to and the capability of sharing our light with the world, no matter our age or physical capacity.
These questions also struck me as auspicious to consider at this time of year. Often on the eve of a new year, we take stock of what we’ve accomplished during the prior year, what we had hoped to fulfill but didn’t, and what we want to achieve in the next year. As I’ve written in my previous blog, 6 Tips for Making “Un-Resolutions” for the Remainder of the Year, resolutions for the New Year often end up tossed along the wayside by the beginning of February, if not before. “Resolutions” usually consist of things we feel we “should” do in order to be a “better” person, or at least a healthier one, and many of us have a tendency to berate ourselves when we fall off the wagon. We then start this cycle again the next New Year with the same resolutions or we simply give up on trying.
I’m very supportive of anyone who wants to change unhealthy habits into healthier ones. Any day of the year is such a an opportunity to start anew with making one’s lifestyle healthier, so that “falling off the wagon” doesn’t have to feel like a monumental failure, nor does it have to wait until the next New Year to try again. Changes in habits work best when they’re gradual, with gentle adjustments at those times when we might have strayed from the new desired path. For how to accomplish modifying one’s eating habits, check out my blog, Food & Mood and Nine Small But Powerful Steps to a Healthier You. And for how to change self-sabotaging thought habits to more self-empowering self-talk, take a look at my blog, Taming Our Inner Troll.
But, the questions posed above contain within them all of what we desire in order to improve our life. After all, what is the real goal for resolving to lose that extra fifteen pounds if not to create more health for ourselves, so that we can connect more easily to our own inner light and joy? What is the real goal of promising to contribute more to charities if not to add more health and joy, aka “light,” into the world? Hence, I pose these simple, yet powerful, questions for you to ask yourself at the start of the new year and every day thereafter.
How will you uncover the light within yourself in 2018? Perhaps, you will make it a point to find the humor in life more often and to laugh as much as possible. Maybe, you will decide to spend more time with friends and family or to make new friends. You might decide to spend more time connecting with Mother Earth and meditating. You might even, perchance, decide to make more of an effort to follow your dreams no matter your age.
The world seems to have become more chaotic most recently. We could sure use more light in the world. What will you do to become part of the solution by, as Terry Hershey, author of The Power of Pause, phrases it, “spilling your light” into the world, your community, or your family? Just one such action has the noteworthy outcome of actually increasing our own joy and physical health. For example, if we give without expectation, the benefits to us will be significant. Take a look at my blog, The Benefits of Kindness and Generosity: Creating More Meaning in Your Life Through Giving Without Expectation, for more about this. One small act of kindness can trigger a domino affect with the receiver of the kind gesture or an observer of such generosity feeling inspired to acts of kindness of their own.
While I was on my visit to New York, it started snowing one evening. I decided to take a walk to the local Bronx neighborhood pizza place. While I was there, an elderly man came in for shelter from the snow. He had walked a long way from home and was carrying several shopping bags. It was now too slippery for him to walk home. He asked the owner of the pizza place for the number to call a taxi. “Don’t take a taxi,” said the owner. “They’ll charge you $10. My brother will drive you home.” Out they trudged to the brother’s car. Observing this warmed me from the inside on this bone-chilling evening and I noticed everyone in the little restaurant glowing with an inner light, sharing smiles and joy with each other. Generosity is a powerful spark to create such a glow among all who experience or witness it.
Perhaps, the dream that you’re following entertains people with your talent or inspires others through your teaching. Maybe you will share humor and heartfelt stories with family and friends. Or you might try volunteering. Simply making it a point to give emotional support to friends and strangers can be a beacon in the darkness. So can smiling more.
Start each day throughout the year by asking yourself, “What can I do to connect to my inner light today, this week, this month, the rest of this year? What can I do to bring my light into the world right now or for the rest of the month or year?” Every day is an opportunity to hit “re-set.” In fact, every moment is such an opportunity. Having a rough day? Stop what you’re doing. Take a breath. Ask yourself the questions. If you’re sincere in your inquiry, you will feel an immediate sense of relief. The more you do it, the better you’ll feel and, no matter your situation, you can create light in the world and in your own life.
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Originally published at medium.com