On April 22nd, I turned 29. I think that of all the “holidays”, I love birthdays the most. I feel grateful to have had another year of life, with the promise of one ahead. Aging is a gift. The greatest wealth we have is our time and our health. And we’re not here for very long. Even the longest life, is pretty darn short.
Throughout the year, I write down all the lessons, reflections and realizations I have in various aspects of my life. I have shared these with you over the past few years – 25, 27, 28.
I hope you enjoy reading through these reflections, perhaps with a nice hot cup of coffee or tea, because it’s a long one. My life is always so rich with growth lessons, especially this last year. The lessons I’ve learned this year have been centered around facing my fears, failure, mystical experiences, shame, ambition, and mastery.
This time when I opened up my Evernote note on my laptop where I collect all my lessons and reflections on life throughout the year, so that I can share them with you on my birthday – I thought to myself “Hmmm, I don’t think I learned that much this year.”
….But WordPress is telling me that this blog post is over 2000 words, so perhaps I did learn a few things after all!
Thank you for being so patient with me. I know that I have been neglecting my blog, but it is something I would like to come back to, and I will.
When I think of my friend Arlene, I see her sitting on her couch, surrounding by piles of books.
She makes us a hot pot of tea with a delicious stick of cinnamon because she knows how much I love the hot spicy sweetness of it. There is a plate of delicious treats on the table, that she has made for us. Her cat curls up beside her. It is summer. The light pours through the windows and spills onto us.
And we talk. She listens to my stories, my adventures and my heartaches. She shares passages from her favourite books. And she guides me. She shares her stories, her wisdom, her lessons learned, and the poetry of life.
My friend Arlene is more than my friend, she is my teacher. She has shown me so much of myself. She has given me strength to rise when I had fallen. She has taken my hand and lovingly told me when I was wrong, and what I need to do to make things right. She saw the colours in me, even on my dullest days. She has loved me unconditionally, even when I felt I was unloveable.
Over the years, we have had so many conversations, and each one was a seed planted in my heart, and slowly as the years have passed, these seeds grow into a garden of inner worthiness, the kind that only comes when someone in your life truly cares for your spiritual journey on this planet. For that, I am so grateful for Arlene.
Hi. I’m April. I am Malavika’s puppy. Here’s what I know about life.
1. Never underestimate the power of puppy dog eyes.
2. When life throws you a stick – take it!
3. When you’re in a hole, stop digging.
4. If you walk around with your tongue hanging out, pretty soon, you’re gonna get some dirt on it.
5. Always respect the one who feeds you, bathes you, keeps you safe, trains you and picks up after your shit.
6. If you want to find the shit, follow the flies.
7. Sometimes there is just nothing to do but to take a nap.
8. Always be excited when someone comes to the door. Whether they have been at work for 9 hours, or if they have literally stepped out of the door to pick up the newspaper and stepped back in, always show the same level of extreme excitement.
9. It is completely reasonable to expect cuddles in the morning after you wake up. It is even okay to bug people until you get it.
10. It doesn’t matter if it’s a $5 treat or a 25 cent treat. A treat is a treat and I’m gonna eat it in under 0.5 miliseconds anyway.
11. When it doubt, sometimes the best thing to do is to chase your tail until clarity comes.
12. There is nothing more fun than making friends.
13. If you can’t help someone with housework, sometimes just hanging around and providing friendly company is enough.
14. In life, you must always find your own patch of sunlight, and lie in it.
15. Run with your crowd.
16. If you want to reach your dreams, you have to jump high.
17. There is nothing more peaceful than watching the sunset.
18. When you get to the top of your mountain, it is okay to rest.
Imagine you are in a batting cage, and you have balls being hurtled towards you, and you just keep knocking them out of the park in a frenzy. You don’t know how many balls are coming, or how long this game is going to go on for, and you’re not even sure how long you can last here. It’s exhausting. The balls are coming from all different directions with no real pattern to them. You are using so much energy and attention on just avoiding getting hurt, that you don’t take the time to regroup, to question your gameplay and game tactics, or to even change your stance.
Instead of taking this approach to life, we could stop for a second, and figure out which direction these balls (life challenges) are coming from (and realize that there is actually some kind of organization amongst the madness), and how many balls are coming and at what speed. With this in mind, you can approach this game much better. You will actually have a chance to play to win instead of playing to avoid losing.
This is a photograph of Mareike, that I took in the fall of 2008.
♥ Do things once. Do things right.
♥ No matter what you want, in the end you will always get what you deserve. You will always get what you are in vibrational harmony with.
♥ When you make the other person your goal (to share a life experience with them and love them for whom they are), all relationships become possible and all levels of relationships become possible.
♥ When someone insults you – they may think that they are defining you and what kind of person you are, but in truth, all they are doing is defining themselves, what kind of person they are, and how low they are capable of going.
♥ In every situation, you always have a choice.
♥ Love and time is the only thing that can dissipate anger.
♥ Spend your time, energy and money on things that make your life better, not just make you feel good.
♥ The two motivating emotions are fear and love.
♥ To have a rich life, only bring things, people, and circumstances into your life that adds value.
♥ Don’t sweat the small stuff, and it’s all small stuff.
♥ A bad mood is not an excuse to be rude.
♥ The person who raises their voice or throws a fist in an argument, is the first to admit that he or she is losing the argument.
♥ Every time you put something off, you instantly make it scarier.
♥ Swearing brings more attention on your words rather than what you are actually trying to say.
♥ It is worth re-trying foods that you may not have liked at first.
♥ Breaking promises to yourself is the non-stop ticket to self hatred.
♥ Yelling will always make things worse.
♥ When you lie to somebody else, you lie to yourself. And when you lie to yourself, no matter how small that lie is – it will hurt you in some way.
♥ Those who complain the most, do the least.
♥ Self-inquiry, self-reflection and self-examination are vital tools for your sense of happiness.
♥ What is more important than a happy mind is a quiet mind.
♥ If you are not happy when you are single, you will not be happy in a relationship.
♥ Everybody needs a friend. If you need more good friends in your life, focus more on being a good friend to other people, and it will come.
♥ When you decide to “punish” your partner in a relationship, you are more interested in venting your anger and resentment, rather than correcting any behaviour.
♥ Words are powerful tools that can destroy a person completely.
♥ To reach a new level in any area of your life will require a little bit more effort and awareness than what you have been producing. Just a little – but it is significant.
♥ Everyone likes it when someone gets to the point.
♥ Circumstances tend to reveal a person’s character, rather than determining them.
♥ Always save some of the money you make.
♥ Nothing very good or very bad ever lasts very long.
♥ The news does not necessarily show you what is going on in the world – it simply shows you what’s on the news. The world is far too big to be captured like that. We are only shown what someone else decides is important.
♥ When somebody aggravates or irritates you, they are likely to be reflecting a certain quality you have not yet accepted within yourself.
♥ Don’t make conclusions when you’re sad, promises when you’re happy, or truths when you are angry.
♥ One of the most important relationships to cultivate is your connection with your intuition. You have all the answers you need. But sometimes if you’re asking a question and simply not getting an answer or a right answer, perhaps you are not asking the right questions. Try asking a different question.
♥ Spend time with people who share similar values as you.
♥ There is a difference between people who demand power, and those that command power.
♥ The sexiest thing is to being natural and real. The easiest way to attract somebody, is to be natural.
♥ “The moment you think you are inferior to someone or superior to someone – it is just your ego.” Eckhart Tolle
♥ Life is perfect. Everything that has ever happened, good or bad, has lead you to where you are today. And this is exactly where you need to be.
♥ The only way to have a successful business is to be good at what you do. If you are good at what you do, people will look for you.
These are just some of my life lessons learned in my 21 years, and I am sure there are many more to come. When I was younger, I used to be sad. And then I used to focus so much on “being happy” – that sometimes I was, and sometimes I wasn’t. And now I realize that my life is reflecting a different set of values. My life now, is not necessarily about being happy. Life is about growing up. And happiness is the byproduct.