#206 An open letter to the future-self who enters the new year
As this year comes to a close, there is a lovely nip in the air.
Like everyone I too am feeling upbeat, hopeful and optimistic. Hence, I speak to you from a place and position of strength of experience, learning and respect.
I wish that you are completely fulfilled in this new year.
A happy you in the new year makes a happy new year.
You and I have an awareness of our strengths and the areas of struggle. I am here to support you and flow into you.
My attempt is not to convince you of anything that you don’t know but to just remind you of a few things. A reminder can be accumulated wisdom, an affirmation or even a discovery of what has always been there.
These are –
1.You are an achievement. Despite illnesses, accidents, a broken heart many times, you have made it this far in life. Manushyatvam, the status of being a human being is a blessing.
2.Do not take it for granted. The sip of tea in the morning, the broken toothed smile of a loved one, the light of the sun, a simple home cooked meal, a phone call with a friend, making your to-do list, walking on the street, sipping water on a hot day – the stuff that everyday life is made up of. Do not take it for granted.
The way we live our life is the way we live our days. These ordinary days lived fully and completely make up an extraordinary life.
3. Be present. Sip every moment, savour it – it may well be your last time. There was a time, the nephew would say, ‘by mistakely’ and I would chuckle thinking ‘so cute’..and then he started to include ‘by mistake’ correctly in the sentence. But that time of innocent muttering – by mistakely will not come back.
When you listen to a loved one, don’t be in a rush to speak.
When you are working on a project don’t be distracted by your upcoming vacation.
On vacation don’t think of the project you are working on.
So easy to be anxious about the future or live in the nostalgia about the past. Be present.
4. Manage your life priorities and attention. We live in a noisy world – notifications, pings, recommendation.
Just as we don’t complain about the stones on the path but find a carpet for our feet by wearing footwear, we can live in a noisy world by ruthlessly managing our attention.
Be clear about what matters to you in all areas of life – physical, social, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, financial. Schedule your time, attention and energy accordingly allowing for some buffer time.
If you don’t live by your life priorities, others will impose their priorities on you. There will be days that you lose sight of what really matters in your life. We will remember Mr Han from the movie, Karate kid who famously said – Your focus needs more focus.
5. Be a friend to yourself. A few days and even weeks into the year, you will be happy with the progress on some of your goals.
Some days you will slip off the exercise routine, give into the temptation of junk food, blabber things that were hurtful, lose money due to oversight. You will feel like a loser who does not have much control.
And that is when you will speak words of encouragement just like a friend would so that you continue your journey of self-mastery. उद्धरेदात्मनाऽऽत्मानं नात्मानमवसादयेत्। आत्मैव ह्यात्मनो बन्धुरात्मैव रिपुरात्मनः।।6.5।। Atma, oneself can be a friend or an enemy
6. Be centred on Dharma – This past year, some of your people have moved away or moved on while some you have gotten more closer to. Some others will continue to be there in your life this coming year.
There will be moments you will want to react harshly, speak lies, be unfair, hoard all that you have, give into prolonged laziness. And that is when you nudge yourself to align with Dharma – the universal framework of values, kindness, truthfulness, justice, contribution, efficiency, creativity and so on. When we are centred on Dharma it can flow into all areas of our lives. Dharma makes us happy.
What a fantastic reminder to choose our focus. I put this right on FB! Just so helpful.