EIGHT MINUTES OF ADVICE

I have a half dozen writing projects waiting to be completed. One is especially well formatted for a blog. Each chapter is a stand-alone thought yet part of a greater collective – which is destined to become a book. I have decided to use this blog-space to produce that book. Chapter by chapter I will upload here, as time permits, until one day it will be complete. I welcome any feedback.

It begins like this:

PROLOGUE

Thoughts come into my head.   When I am preoccupied I do not spend the time to consider the magnitude of the words.  Other times I stop and ponder.  I ask myself, “was that just a random thought or was it a message?”  If it were a message, did it originate from within my own brain or did it perhaps float upon gossamer threads from the Universe beyond with the intention to awaken me?

I have heard that we should listen to such hints we receive for they are not only real, but important.  The whispers are signals we may use to achieve our greatest purpose in life.  However, I have many thoughts, hundreds of them.   I find it challenging to decipher the gibberish from the grand plan.   I have considered that it is my responsibility to develop a discriminating filter to help me sift, clarify or perhaps even purify my thoughts.   I suppose that would make sense if they were actually my thoughts.   But, what if they are murmurs from another plane, an alternate dimension?  Would it not be best to retain those impressions in their most original condition?

I suppose I will never know until I know, which brings forth the fascinating principle of belief.   Beliefs are concepts that cannot always be proven using modern day tools.  Beliefs are those things we know even though we don’t.  They are ideas which we hold to be true even though others may not share our commitment to them.   

Belief and fear cannot co-exist – if you believe it you cannot also agonize that it may not be true.  A belief is a formidable, but incredibly fragile phenomenon.  This paragraph is worth reading again.

A while ago, I experienced one of those random thoughts that seemed to just pop into my consciousness.  While I have never had children, the words that I heard were, “if you had a daughter and had just a few minutes to live, what would you want to tell her before you died?”

Because I believe such events to be important,   I sat down and wrote the list.  It took me about eight minutes.  It was fast, but not furious.  I was not labored to think of points to share.  I held back from editing, even though there were a few sentences I ached to alter.  In the end I was impressed with my creation which I was fairly certain was not my creation, at least not exclusively mine.

Because it was an exercise beckoned of me on December 23, I sent the list as a Christmas greeting to a few friends.  The timing of the peculiar event made me wonder.  Is something I penned intended specifically for someone who will find value in reading one of the suggestions I shared?  I will never know, but it would make me happy if I did play a role in assisting someone.  Is that not our true purpose in life, in whatever expression each individual is able to offer her gifts?

I will never be able to verify whether the entire experience was one wholly contained within my singular existence or if it were divinely delivered.   But, I choose to imagine that the words came to me from the continuum – the place where we go when we disrobe from our human forms and reunite with our kindred spirits.  It is the realm where I believe all souls radiate their pure love energy.  Personally, I refer to that collective as God. 

A few years and a thousand journey’s later, I am drawn back to the list.  I feel a need to ponder and discover the intention of my compilation of “final thoughts.”   Will I find clarity or wisdom behind the words I authored so quickly?  I feel the sense of being ushered, now.  I am pushed to dish up my sentiments and share them with more than a handful of Christmas card recipients.  It is time to complete this project and let it drift – let it find its way to all the potential daughters and sons, sisters and brothers who were intended to receive it.  Let it be my gift.


MESSAGE #1

Do not compromise your integrity.  Ever.

“I just want my child to be happy.”  It’s a statement made by many parents.   I remember my mother expressing that sentiment often.   Therefore, I don’t find it odd that the first message I drafted in my hypothetical “last words to a daughter” would represent my best strategy for achieving happiness.  What more could we truly want for any one we love than assured contentment?

I suspect many people don’t put ‘integrity’ and ‘happiness’ in the same bucket.   One sounds so stuffy and challenging and the other sounds like so much fun.  But, follow along with me, please.

Mahatma Gandhi is quoted as having said, “happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”  That makes sense to me.

If I were famous enough to deserve being quoted, I would be known for saying:

“integrity is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”  

Consider that for a moment.  Isn’t it extraordinary?   A splendid side effect of living with integrity is that it constructs an all-embracing sense of serenity.  Living a life of truthfulness, honor and reliability will result in genuine happiness.

If you explore the term integrity, you will find that it covers concepts like adherence to moral and ethical principles as well as upholding honesty.   However, it also includes the idea of being whole, entire and undiminished.  It only makes sense that we should strive to achieve these qualities to live our best lives.  When you feel that your life is fragmented, partial, or devalued, you will also find it difficult to achieve true happiness. 

It’s important to refrain from settling or conceding for anything less that authentic happiness.  We should avoid bargaining for such an important condition.  To barter for happiness is to dishonor a commitment to integrity.  It seems, then, that to be happy one must live with integrity, and to live with integrity results in happiness.  Win-win.

At one time or another we have all been guilty of sabotaging our own happiness. To reduce that unfortunate condition, we should strive to align our thoughts, words and actions.  We can start at the most basic level.  Here’s an example:

Let’s say that you don’t like cilantro. If so, then own that position and stop spitting the chip and dip into your napkin.   Let your spouse know that, while you appreciate all the work he puts into making fresh salsa, you don’t like cilantro.  When you make your new proclamation, realize that your husband has his own path to travel that may not be aligned with your new found intention to live with integrity. He has his own control of or understanding of his ego.  He may get upset. He may throws a tantrum and says, “how can you not like cilantro?  It is the essence of the perfect salsa!” Allow him to present his opinion.   If he tells you that you can do all the cooking from now on, do not mirror his irrational outburst.  His words can only affect you if you allow that to happen. 

Your husband may feel hurt because you don’t like his salsa.  He will get over it.   The point of the exercise if that you learn how to think, behave and speak in alignment.   It’s dishonest to tell your husband that you love his salsa while you turn away to spit it into the napkin.  Depending upon where in his life’s journey he is, you may even ask him to permit you to use your disdain for cilantro to align your thoughts with your words and behavior.  But, that may be stretching it.

In time, you can move onto more important situations where you have failed to align your thoughts, words and actions. 

Each time you overcome another battle to seek validation or attempt to please others instead of holding fast to your own convictions, you will be moving closer to living your best life.  You will shift away from the condition of a diminished existence. 

Clearly, it will be far more challenging to align your thoughts, actions and words when dealing with people in your life who you permit to over-power you.  A parent comes to mind.  Know that your mother and father are just like you.  They struggle with their own demons.  They must be permitted to move through those challenges in the same way that your husband had to learn about your dislike for cilantro.  Sure, the issues you may face with your parents may seem so much more overwhelming, but do not focus on the specific problem.  Focus on aligning yourself.

Ask yourself if you are speaking the truth about your thoughts?  Are your actions in alignment with your thoughts?  If you believe that your mother is negatively affecting your child, then it is out of alignment to say “well, you’re the grandmother, I guess you can do that.”  If you tell your boss that you will arrive at the office an hour early for an important meeting, then your actions must back up your words.   Otherwise, it’s likely that you are going to experience some sort of backlash that won’t feel comfortable. 

To achieve happiness, which is what I wish for you, my advice is that you live with integrity. Then, you will find authentic happiness.  Even Mahatma Gandhi agrees with me!

Message Number One: Do not compromise your integrity.  Ever.

To view the post of Message #2, click here.

To view the post of Message #9, click here.

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