As one of my teachers once said at a New Year’s meditation retreat, “So another year has gone by. Some good movies, some bad movies….” We have to joke about movies because otherwise it would be impossible to tolerate this period of almost relentlessly bad news. I spare myself the low-level fear-mongering TV news. Instead, I rely on The New Yorker for high-quality depressing news about war, misery, and injustice all over the world, including the US. Fortunately, The New Yorker also comes with high-quality reporting on medicine, science, culture, and new media, not to mention great cartoons.
For inspiration, I’ve been reading Brené Brown, who became widely known for her TED talk on the subject of vulnerability and whose book Daring Greatly made a big impression on me this year. I especially like it that in addition to her astute analysis of the shame mechanisms that keep us small, she offers a road map to a different way of looking at things. I want to share with you her “10 Guideposts for Wholehearted Living”:
- Cultivate Authenticity – Let go of what people think about you
- Cultivate Self-Compassion – Let go of perfectionism
- Cultivate a Resilient Spirit – Let go of numbing and powerlessness
- Cultivate Gratitude and Joy – Let go of scarcity
- Cultivate Intuition and Trusting Faith – Let go of the need for certainty
- Cultivate Creativity – Let go of comparison
- Cultivate Play and Rest – Let go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth
- Cultivate Calm and Stillness – Let go of anxiety as a lifestyle
- Cultivate Meaningful Work – Let go of self-doubt and “supposed to”
- Cultivate Laughter, Song, and Dance – Let go of being cool and “always in control”
These suggestions are easier to offer than to accomplish but something to aspire to, anyway. What do you think?