It takes more than a mere blog entry to convey the many-level transformations 2016 has brought to my life as I knew it; and not that unexpectedly, now that I think about it.
I know many of you can relate to this, whether you’re Sagittarians who are into astrology and facing the second year of Saturn demolition, or not. Either way, the moment I decided to write down the 12 major lessons I experienced this year, for (hopefully not to be needed again) future reference, I decided to put this into a blog post and share them with you. So, here it goes!
“When you learn, teach, when you get, give.”
- Be authentic
And self-knowledge is your ticket to this; it’s a sun that has many beams: self-esteem, self-confidence… And all end up in how much you love and respect your own self.
There are many ways to tap into your true nature and each of us can go about it differently – e.g. take an MBTI personality test perhaps and see where that takes you. The sure thing is that you cannot keep putting on masks during your daily life or rely on others’ opinions of you to form an idea about who you really are. Don’t be afraid of some sincere and unprejudiced introspection; deep down there the best of friends you will ever have, awaits you: your own self.
And if all this sounds rather “selfish” to you, that’s a proof of how little you value your truth. As I have already written in a previous post, you will understand that only when you deeply know and love yourself are you capable of loving the others as they deserve, too. Love comes from within.
“Magic is believing in yourself; if you can do that, you can make anything happen.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
- Detox I: Exercise and eat healthily
Ancient Greeks considered a healthy body to be the beginning of everything – νοῦς ὑγιής ἐν σώματι ὑγιεῖ (literally: healthy mind in a healthy body). And it is; the beginning of your psychological health, the strength of your mind, your zest for life. Do your research and come up with a diet and exercise plan that suits your needs and goals. You cannot fail when you look after your body and respect it, just like a good old friend.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
- Detox II: Eliminate toxic relationships
Now I could not stress this one enough. As an empath since like forever, I have had more than my fair share of let downs in my life. And yet it is easy for the pattern to keep repeating itself over and over, when you “conveniently” tell yourself that you must be the faulty one and there’s no way out of it. Sometimes it takes one more bad social relationship for us to get hurt again and finally discover the light. During such a period I accidentally came across some articles about the narcissistic personality disorder and the more I read, the more goosebumps I got; quite a lot of people within my social circle (closer or broader) fit the description, even ones that I knew since my early childhood.
Then you realize that yes, you are at fault- for the time you let psychologically abusive, manipulative people prey on your feelings and distort your own sense of self. Once you recognize this, the revelations won’t stop; nor will your determination to cleanse. Toxic relationships out of the window, breath of life in. It’s tragically funny when you realize that the sun is only a decision away.
- Living in the here and now
Regarded as the most grounding way to go, this is for most of us enough to change our entire life approach… Thus, easier said than done. When you’re not used to it at all – and it so happens when you get carried away by stressful thoughts and almost automatic over-thinking- sticking to this literally new way of life almost feels like the strictest diet regime ever; you need a constant snack of total mindfulness, without additives of random thoughts dragging you into worry-binging.
Meditation is the place to start, just pick a “genre” that suits you. The Buddhist way involves sitting with eyes half-open and a relaxed, unfading smile on your face. The chakra meditation helps you keep focus on a particular chakra in your body or might involve repeating a mantra or affirmation – bonus with this, you get to reprogram your subconscious into ridding itself of old, negative beliefs and thus healing in a most profound and awakening way.
There is no telling what this journey has in store for you; the only sure thing is that once you commit to it, you will never be the same.
- Give love – especially when you are hurting
It will heal you. It can’t help but do so, that’s what love is. 2016 may have been a year of heartache for many (perhaps even dreading waking up in the morning, knowing the pain that awaited). Whenever the going gets pretty tough, what I do first is immerse myself in heart chakra meditation. The absolute emptiness, the hole you may feel in the place of your normally blooming heart won’t make it easy of course. But the key is to press on. Through the pain, through the tears and feeling of being lost, you will find that making your heart the temple of your existence will lead you back to the place you thought it’d take you forever to get back to. By believing, by manifesting you can still feel love, you will find yourself giving it again-unconditionally.
Sign up for volunteering or start even smaller: do a selfless act of kindness that puts a smile on the face of a family member, friend or even total stranger.
Being technically a bit more on the introvert side, extended socializing can get quite challenging for me sometimes (especially when the alternative of a cozy movie night-in is on the table). If you can relate to this, that means you need to give it a little more try when it comes to it. Because it is true, being out there in the world, among the people you love, is the cure for all ills.
“Make someone happy.
Make just one someone happy.
And you will be happy too.”
– Jimmy Durante
- Act without expectation
Lao Tze said it and so did Shakespeare. Act and then accept – don’t expect. Save yourself the unnecessary heartache and stop your ego from wanting to control everything. It cannot; and it should not. That’s the beauty of life.
“Oft expectation fails, and most oft there where most it promises.”
- Be what you wish to experience
Some call it Law of Attraction, others plain old “positive thinking”. No matter how you choose to refer to it, the principle remains the same. You cannot sow barley and expect roses to bloom. If roses is what you’re set on, lay the groundwork for it- work really hard for this and keep your goal always in your sight. The garden will soon reveal itself to you.
A fun and inspiring way to do this is through visualization. Create a beautiful goals’ map, decorate it with photos, quotes, etc. and place it where you can see it everyday. That will give you all the boost you need.
“What you seek is seeking you.”
“As you start to walk on the way, the way appears.”
“Be the change you wish to see in the world”
- Cultivate yourself
Read, watch films, create; cultivate yourself, exactly like a tender plant that needs care, sun and water. The fruits it bears are precious and they are all yours for the taking.
And if you need a more academic approach to this, think Economics. According to theory, education is a quasi-public good; meaning that its advantages for the individual benefit the entire community as well. So, by bettering yourself you make the whole world better.
- Do what you like, like what you do
When economies remain unpredictable and making a living according to one’s dreams and wishes is far from given, many people cannot do what they like, they may not have the luxury to turn their hobby into a decent paying job. In that case, seeing the glass as half full (yep, another round of positive thinking, please) and seeing the positive aspects of one’s pay job can literally work miracles. And sometimes in such ways that you may even see it in a whole new light and realize that you’re exactly where you were meant to be all along.
That doesn’t mean abandoning your dreams, of course. On the contrary, be patient and keep working on them – they deserve it.
- Reacquaint yourself with nature
With the form our modern lifestyle has, few of us have easy access to a genuine natural environment. And yet, do try and build chances to get in touch with nature, even if it is e.g. by taking a walk in your local park or going on a quick seaside picnic. Nothing is impossible if you set your mind on it.
Nature has been dubbed the best therapy; and not undeservingly.
- Be grateful
For every single person, thing and situation in your life, good or bad. If you embrace them, both are there to teach you and both mould you into becoming the best version of yourself. Be grateful. It goes a long way.
Remember the Buddhist meditation smile I was talking about? Science also says that when you smile even when you’re at your lowest, your mind gets tricked into believing you’re happy and it adjusts your body responses accordingly.
The times will always be modern; and our smile is for always.