Posted on : 08-02-2011 | By : Lynn | In : Mind Fodder
Tags: rules for living
Have you come across “rules for living” in your lifetime? Unless you’ve been living in a cave somewhere, more than likely, you have and even if you have been living in a cave there were probably some rules for living recorded somewhere in that cave–if not by humans than by the tell tale signs that animals, reptiles and/or insects had left behind. So what are “rules for living”? There are many degrees of the rules for living from the basic Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs to emotional rules for living and spiritual rules for living. Additionally, each of us have come up with our own definition of “rules for living” that we’ve accrued through our own experience of being human through the years of our life.
The following are ten rules for living that I’ve tucked away in my quiver of tools from my experience of living life thus far:
1. The Golden Rule: treat others as you would have them treat you. This is not my own rule, but it is one that was passed down to me at a very early age which has stood the test of time. In most cases, treating someone with respect, kindness and caring has proven to be happily accepted and well-received. After all, I sure do appreciate it when others treat me this way—it feels good!
2. People are animals too. And I mean that in the very good sense of being an animal. As far as we know, we may be superior as a species when it comes to communicating with each other but then again there are so many ways that we, humans, communicate on various levels of the subconscious and unconscious with each other that we can miss the subtleties of what is being communicated because of sheer ignorance. When I’m communicating with others, no matter how high there pedigree socially and/or professionally, it’s helpful for me to remember that we’re animals too and that just like wolves, dolphins and some of the higher intelligent species that we share our planet with, we are always communicating on several levels simultaneously.
3. Look for joy. Remember when you were a child and sometimes the most simple thing could light up your joy with ecstasy? I remember when I was in elementary school in San Antonio, Texas there was a specific route that we would take right past the Wonder Bread Bakery that would just fill me with delight not just because of the wonderful smell of baking bread but because they had this huge billboard nearby that had a loaf of Wonder Bread with slices falling out of the bag and on to a plate. I know, I’m a cheap date for happiness here but I looked forward to seeing that billboard and the falling slices of bread every time we took that route. Look for the joy in life, it may be easier than you think.
4. Find ways to be kind to others. And this is one of those “rules” that doesn’t have any strings attached. It means getting to a place in yourself where you want to find opportunities to be kind to others just for the sake of being kind. It always makes me feel smoother inside. Being bitchy really does make me feel gritty inside. Being kind can happen in the simplest of forms from catching another person’s eyes and smiling at them to helping a neighbor through a crisis. It can be acknowledging your dogs when the run up to the door to greet you after a long day’s work to scooping up a spider and porting them outside. Be ingenious. Discover new ways to exemplify kindness.
5. Treat your body like a temple. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this rule in my life and finally, in my fifth decade of life I am honoring this rule as fully as I am able. This rule could seem really complex but really I’m talking about the kind of self-respect where you make sure you get the hours of sleep you need each night to be fully on your game the next day. Eat nutritious and well-balanced meals. I have three meals a day, no flour, no sugar and nothing in-between with lots of vegetables, protein, grain and fruit. I’ve been doing this for almost eight years and I’ve never felt better. Get plenty of exercise — again, the kind of exercise that works for you, your life style and your body type. I’m a runner (though not fast) which I’ve been doing since I was 15. I make sure to stretch before and after my runs and to get the right amount of vitamins and minerals. I practice yoga, and I meditate. When I think of the ways that I have treated my body in my lifetime and it has still pulled through, I figure that I’ll spend the rest of my life making amends to it by treating it like a temple and living healthy.
6. Find humor. Sometimes we take ourselves sooooooo seriously. Recognizing when we’re taking ourselves seriously can be humorous in itself, especially if you can find others who have taken themselves seriously the way you have and can laugh with you. And humans aren’t the only species with a sense of humor, I’ve had many a dog or cat who have been hilarious in my life. Just like a child’s humor is different than an adult (although have you watched The Electric Company lately? It’s hilarious!), animal humor is different too. For instance, I can almost hear my Australian Shepherd giggling when we face each other stock still and then I squat and hop unexpectedly–which of course causes him to run pell mell through out the house!
7. Discover your own unique creativity. We all have creativity, it’s just in some people creativity is more obvious than in others. My creativity comes out in the way that I think about things and the ideas I come up with to finding new solutions to old problems. This kind of creativity is no less creative than some of my artist friends or musician friends it’s just that I have a different way of expressing it rather than with paints or instruments. Become your own private investigator into finding your creativity and revel in it once you’ve found it!
8. No one is thinking about you half as much as you are thinking about yourself (if at all). We are all hyper vigilant about ourselves and so quite often we worry about “what people are thinking of us” when the truth of the matter is that they’re focused on their own lives. A friend once said, “what other people think of me is none of my business” and I tend to agree with him.
9. Be curious about those people around you. Paying attention to Rule #8, imagine what a delight it is to another person when you pay attention to them and ask them about themselves. I’ve become so naturally curious about what other people are up to that I created a web show so that I could interview all kinds of people up to great things (Hope42Day). I also realized that the reason I seem to finish my meals way before the other people I’m with is because I’m asking them just the right question to delight me with their answers (and entertain me while I eat). It’s amazing some of the things you can learn about others and life by just being curious.
10. Have a thirst for knowledge. I’m talking knowledge in the very broad sense of the word from the traditional school and continuing education classes to zeroing in on a skill, hobby, cause, etc. that you can learn about and expand your wealth of knowledge. I returned to school in ’08 and I’m thoroughly enjoying myself. Today we reviewed “logic and fallacies’ for a test in our Philosophy and Critical Thinking class. Many of the logic rules and argument fallacies are basic common sense—you “know it” when you hear it—but there are still these subtle distinctions that are being cleared up in my mind to help me to really understand “why” I feel someone’s speech is wrong and gives me the words to fill in the blanks rather than only being able to say “because I feel it”.
These are just a few of my favorite “rules for living”, what are some of yours?