An old book with a looking glass by ēst smiltis no ausīm
Doesn’t that seem like a wonderful, life-affirming idea? It would have an index at the front with chapters like “How to follow your dreams,” and “The easy way to find the answers you need.” There would be illustrations on “how to paint your house,” to “the best way to wash your dog so you don’t get soaked.” The best feature of all would be a front page full of emergency numbers to call when you feel too overwhelmed to handle things by yourself.
What a great gift that would be. Just thinking about it, I like to order 20 copies right now. Unfortunately most of stumble through our lives, trying to keep our feet under us while the ground gets rockier and rockier. We read books and learn techniques to get us out of current mess and then life sends a new avalanche of problems our way.
Take my life for instance. Lately it’s been chaotic and disorderly. I have a plan worked out about what my future should be, yet every time I make a move forward, it’s like trying to keep your footing across an icy lake – one with brittle ice.
So in an effort to help myself while providing useful tips for all of you, here’s my checklist to a more positive and orderly life:
- List your priorities. If you have 10 errands to do, pick the 3 most urgent, and work to get those done this week. It will give you a feeling of satisfaction to check them off, and you can move on to the next pressing matter.
- Form your support system. Your support can be anything. Your spouse, a good friend, your mother, anyone you can talk to about your problems. If you find self-help books useful, try a few of those. Use all the help you can find.
- Take time off for fun. When you worry endlessly about your problems they can consume your life. Take a few hours each day to let them go. Watch TV, read, meditate, play video games or whatever else helps you forget. If you get a brilliant breakthrough while doing this, add it to your priority list.
- Sacrifice what you don’t need. If you can get rid of some smaller bills to help get through a crunch, do it. Downgrade your cable and cell phone, trade in your new car for a used model. Simply your committements and your clutter and you will find more clarity.
- Do what you love. Do what gives you energy, joy, strength and peace. Paint, sing, dance, play with your kids, walk your dog, and visit your friends. Happiness gives you hope, and is like sunlight in the darkness. Add vitality to your day by doing activities you enjoy.
- Don’t settle for a stinky life. If you are depressed, bored or unsatisified with your life, do something different. Try a new job, start a new hobby or learn a new skill. Make changes, large and small and see what develops. List what you love to do and look for a way to make money doing it. Don’t give in to unhappiness.
- Look inside yourself. The biggest improvements come after deep reflection. Take stock of your life and admit honestly and completely what you love and what you hate. You know your innermost thoughts, dreams and desires. Now is the time to live your dreams. You’ll regret never trying more than failing to try.
- Remember pain is temporary. Like the searing pain of a toothache, sometimes life can overwhelm you with sensations of agony and cloud your mind with hurt. When you identify the pain, you can begin to take steps to relive it. And believe it or not, you may not even remember the misery you were in once it’s gone.
There’s no cure-all for the problems of life, but sometimes just knowing that other people have suffered and endured pain and tragedy can help us not to feel alone. Look back at your past and you will see that your struggles and troubles usually give you the biggest opportunities for growth and understanding. Keep your head up and keep looking forward. This too shall pass.