Thirty seconds from now, I will hold silence for one minute. It is to be a moment of quiet contemplation amidst the aftermath of the recent terrorist attacks in France. It doesn’t seem enough, sixty seconds, to find peace within such tragedy and chaos.
What occurred in France is timely. It happened in the middle of a particularly intense period of self-enquiry and transition which I have found unsettling.
Recently I feel like I have been hunting happiness. I have been so pre-occupied with processing my own quirks and paranoid about pursuing my own pleasure, that I forgot how to be present. I was so busy with my own seek and destroy mission to eradicate all the things I didn’t like about my life and myself that connecting with any kind of inner peace felt impossible… there is enough conflict in the world without me contributing to it!
It made me think — when there is so much struggle and sadness in the world, is my own self-reflection serving any helpful purpose?
All this effort I’m making to figure myself and the meaning of my life out is, quite frankly, exhausting. It breeds discontent and that cannot, in a world where terrorism is a real threat, be good. The truth is, if we’re to ever create harmony around the world it must begin within.
Inspiration from the Dalai Lama
In response to the attacks in Paris, the Dalai Lama said: "Violence is a reaction by short-sighted, out-of-control people. At 81, I believe it cannot be resolved through prayers or government help. We have to begin the change at individual level and then move on to neighborhood and society."
So, with the Dalai Lama's quote as inspiration, I arrived at a simple conclusion this morning; I need to practice appreciating life more and beat myself up less. Therefore, as of today, I have made the following commitments to help me accept and appreciate the life I have, here and now, instead of always being in hot pursuit of something else.
Perhaps you’d like to, too. Here are eight ways to help you appreciate life every day:
1. Always Get Out of Bed with a Positive Attitude
Remember every day is a gift. Each morning we are presented with a fresh palate to paint as we please.
2. Don’t Drown in Confusion and Contemplation
Reflection is helpful; repetitive over-analysis isn’t. Don’t try to make sense of everything, as you won’t always be able to obtain the clarity you crave.
3. Keep Moving
Don’t stand still. If you don’t know which way to turn or what is good for you, just keep trying new things. Recognize that all experience presents an opportunity for growth.
4. Appreciate the Little Things
Look for beauty everyday. It’s there, and often it’s just a matter of tuning in.
5. Look After One Another
It isn’t always about you. Consider and act in the best interest of others, too.
6. Love Unconditionally
As much as possible, love without expectation. Love without judgement.
Practice forgiveness and give the object of your affection the freedom to express themselves and respond to you in their own way. Together you will learn how to speak a new language of your own creation.
7. Make Your Mother Proud
Act with honor, humility, and grace as often as you can.
8. Soften and Simplify
When things get difficult, don’t shut down or shy away. Lean into life — breathe into it. Choose to deliberately simplify and soften when you feel challenged.
I hope that you take some of these ideas to heart. In which ways do you appreciate life? Share with us below!