10 Rules For Living
01. Everyone is doing the best they can. It’s easy to criticize, condemn & complain, it’s easy to imagine that someone has it easier or better than you. The truth is, life is a series of ups and downs and everyone is doing the very best they can from where they are. Be kind and gentle when possible with others. But most importantly, be kind and gentle with yourself.
02. We’re All In It Together. Whether we’re driving down the highway or waiting in line at the grocery store it’s easy to become frustrated, impatient and judgmental. At my first Sesshin (silent meditation retreat) at Hazy Moon I remember being frustrated because the small dog next door wouldn’t stop barking…but then during a talk Roshi said: “Sometimes when we’re meditating we hear the dog bark and it disturbs our practice. But the dog barks because he’s so small and so alone – and he hears so many noises and gets scared. He barks because he’s a dog – and barking is what dogs do.” The barking never bothered me again.
There is something profound that happens when we can connect not only with our own suffering – but with the suffering of others. Only then can we offer compassion – only then can we extend true compassion to ourselves.
03. Everything in MODERATION. In Buddhism we call it “The Middle Way”, that place somewhere between hedonistic excess and rigid conformity. Too much of anything can be a bad thing. This includes vegetables, exercise, work and even love. Our goal should be to avoid extremes and to practice equanimity and balance in all things.
04. Every Ending is a New Beginning. I once heard it said that life is merely a series of goodbyes (I might have been the one who said it). There is something bittersweet and tender about this notion. It’s none the less true. Everything ends. Nothing lasts forever. We must be resilient. We must celebrate each ending as a new beginning – and look toward the future with hope and optimism.
05. Be Bold. Be Daring. Be Fearless. Live Courageously. Don’t just sit pretty for pictures. Live life in Free Fall if necessary. But Live. Live the good and the bad and the somewhere in between. Live every moment. Be authentic (and not just because it’s the latest buzz word). Make bold choices. Take daring risks. Transcend your fears. Find your courage. Wake up to your life.
06. We can only cover the ground where we stand. This is something Maezumi Roshi would often repeat. It comes from a Zen story about a man who looks out on the world and seeing it covered with hot sand, broken glass and jagged rocks decides to cover the entire world in leather. But this is an impossible task. He would have been much better off just covering his own feet. We can only cover the ground where we stand.
07. Life is a practice. I’ve spent my whole life struggling with perfection. There was a perfect life out there somewhere – and if I tried just a little bit harder I’d find it. But as it turns out – life is not perfect – and we can never be perfect no matter how much harder we try. Life is a practice. And what is a practice? It’s the repetition of a skill, exercise, or experience in the pursuit of proficiency. The essence of practice lies in the attempt – not the mastery. And so, life isn’t about greatness as much as it’s about the pursuit of greatness. Life happens as we’re learning how to climb the mountain – and when we reach the top – and on the way back down. It all counts. So keep practicing.
08. I Believe That Everyday Is A Good Day When You (Paint, Write, Create). In the wise words of Bob Ross “This is your world, you’re the creator. There are no limits here.” So create the world of your dreams on the page, the canvas, the screen – or any place that moves you!
09. Continue Under All Circumstances. These words rightfully belong to Katagiri Roshi – and yet not a day goes by that I don’t say this phrase to myself. So maybe now it belongs to me too. Say it to yourself in those moments when you aren’t sure what to do next – and soon it will also belong to you.
10. Be Who You Are. Fall in love with yourself and your life as it is – not how you wish it could be. You are Wabi Sabi – imperfectly perfect just the way you are. Embrace what you believe to be your flaws and you’ll discover that nature doesn’t make mistakes. Your only task is to Simply Become Who You Are.
BONUS: Solvitur Ambulando. When in doubt, take your problems for a walk. Solvitur Ambulando is Latin for “It is solved by walking”.
BONUS: NEVER LET ANYONE OR ANYTHING DULL YOUR SPARKLE. Sometimes we forget that we were put on this earth to shine. It’s easy to fall off our path or jump onto someone else’s path – and the result is always the same: we lose some of that daring and magic that makes us so attractive and captivating in the first place. They say we become like the 5 people who we spend the most time with. So spend your time with people who make you more of who you are – and not less. Spend time on activities that bring you closer to your joy. SPARKLE POWER!
This is an invitation to the
NEXT CHAPTER of your life.
108 Daily Emails (also available as MP3’s
so you can listen on the go).
15 Weekly Worksheets with powerful activities to help guide you in letting go of that which no longer serves you.
And MUCH MORE!