We know the trending buzzwords of today: meditation, mindfulness, gratitude, presence, purpose, authenticity. It seems as though we are all seeking shifts in our chaotic status quos — aiming for a successful reinvention of self. Whatever we’ve been doing to this day hasn’t been working.
Plain and simple.
We climb the corporate ladder, we check likes and follows on our devices and we’re constantly adding digital invites to our iCal. We don’t stop and breathe and assess our life – but when we do, let’s say, while stuck on the 405 or during a SoulCycle climb, we’re struck with the epiphany that this 0-60 in 2.5 seconds way of living isn’t leading us to a life of happiness.
We need to slow the F down, prioritize life, prioritize self and allow for an inhalation of spiritual nourishment. A large portion of our generation is stuck in self-obsession and selfies; but, thankfully, there, too, has been a trend of fixating on self-betterment, self-fulfillment, and self-love. And in that quest has been an intake of a variety of spiritual practices.
I’m totally guilty of what the mass is guilty of regardless of mindfully trying not to be. So I’ve been doing my best to connect with myself more and be alone more and be within my own mind more. With no onlookers.
I see that life is passing me by. The passing of parents. A stray grey hair. Character lines. My children’s birthdays. My own birthdays. And my biggest fear in life is being on my death bed and realizing that life passed me by and I slept-walked through all of it. That I didn’t do the things I wanted to do. That I didn’t travel where I wanted to go. That I didn’t walk with confidence. That I didn’t fully engage in friendships, family and the construction of self.
So I’m going to do so. I’m focusing on bettering myself as a person and living richly.
These mindful measures have been in my practice – and yet, it’s still a work in progress. Just like I am.
ACTS OF KINDNESS
I’m not asking you to be a kind person or a generous person or a mindful person if you aren’t already – but engage in acts and actions that kind and generous people do. Random acts of kindness will provide joy and appreciation for the recipient, yes, but it has also been clinically proven that people who engage in acts of kindness become happier over time. The hormone oxytocin is released – lowering blood pressure and reducing depression.
And acts of kindness need not be all altruistic — but the good news is that the benefit to our society will be the same. I’m big on paying it forward. I hope I’m not naive in my thinking that kindness and generosity will circle the world and we’ll one day be at peace.
Go feed a homeless dog, walk into a market and buy hot food for a homeless person, make an anonymous donation, hold the door open for a stranger (even if it’s for a weirdly long period of time). Bradley Cooper did that for me one morning at 6:00 am — and to this day, I’ll never forget it.
WALK THROUGH LIFE LIKE A KID OR A DOG
Be curious. Relish in what smells good. Bend down and examine the plants. Window shop. It’s all so calming. And yes, you have time to do so. Life will wait.
STAY IN YOUR LANE AND DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS
A dear friend of mine is a billionaire. Literally. And everything about her is enviable. She’s gorgeous and adorably cute (the most unfair combination), brilliant, a businesswoman, and has a strong social circle – all of whom love her. She hangs, laughs and has fun with untouchable entrepreneurs as well as her childhood friends from when she was a normal suburban girl. Looking at her from afar in the pages of magazines, you’d guess her life was bliss.
She has her successes and her blessings – but she also carries with her a multitude of personal things going on at home that the world would never know. (The publicists don’t report on that!) This is why you shouldn’t compare yourself to others. You don’t know what anyone is going through, especially behind closed doors.
Stay in your lane and focus on you. The grass is not always greener on the other side.
FIND ANTI-CHAOTIC ACTIVITIES
Find your meditative hobbies. Whether it’s yoga, martial arts, golf, meditative walks, writing, cooking, photography. It’s important to enrich your life with activities that are just for you — and not for your employers, investors or your family. It’ll benefit your sanity and mental health — and if it’s a sport, then it’s a score for your physical health too! Plus, it’ll help keep your brain working well into your senior years.
UNDERSTAND THE SCALE OF THINGS
Don’t engage in work drama, friend drama, school parents drama. It’s all inconsequential and without purpose — and is a total time suckage.
Even a disgruntled co-worker whose belligerence is directly or indirectly aimed at you isn’t worth oxygen. Just like in taekwondo, don’t fight force with force. Force on force leads to injury on both sides. So, back off.
Do your work well, ignore the discontent and live a rich personal life.
Prioritize and get yourself out of microcosmic states.
CONNECT IN PERSON
Spirituality and self-intervention is also about not just connecting with yourself, but connecting with others. I make it a regular habit to meet up with one of my dearest friends from law school. We both live harried lives with work and kids — so we go for a walk and talk, a mani-pedi or shopping errands. We even do dinners at the Whole Foods hot bar. (Shopping and dinner in one stop!) This way we get to engage in person but also cross things off of our to-do lists. Texts can be so distant — and in-person meetups are revitalizing. You’re reminded you’re human.
TAKE OUT THE TOXIC
And not just toxins from our foods and our products, but people.
Those who don’t support you, that talk about you behind your back, that have proven not to be there for you when you needed them most.
I also apply this to friends who give you conditional love. Who love you when you’re down — but get jealous or mad when you’re on the rise.
Life is too short and we barely get to see those we love. So focus on those who have been loving you back.
INVITE SPIRITUAL READING AND TUNE INTO POSITIVE PODCASTS
I’m a sucker for DAN MILLMAN and all those adjacent to him with the same Kumbaya rhetoric. I love cheerleaders. Hokey, I know. But reminders are good. We get lost in the chaos of today, the naysayers. It’s good to have someone in your corner.
As far as podcasts, I love LEWIS HOWES!
JOURNAL AND SET LONG TERM GOALS
The whole process of putting pen to paper is therapeutic and fun. And for those of us who aren’t artists and don’t draw – it’s our method of creation.
It’s been proven that those who can articulate in detail what they are setting out to accomplish achieve much success. Don’t forget to set deadlines!
Even if you don’t know what your long term goals are, the journaling and brainstorming process can help guide you.
FIND YOUR PURPOSE
I’m on the hunt for this. And all the aforementioned will hopefully, one day, lead me to the light. I think we all feel like there is some reason we were put on this earth – but we can’t exactly put our thumb on it. We want to make an imprint, an impact – but we don’t yet know how. Some of us have been blessed with the knowledge of self-purpose early on (mostly artists, I think) – but the rest of us are still finding our way.
Meet you there?