Although I don´t believe in Universal Formulas, I´m happy to share my TOP 3 LIFE HACKS, the goodies that work for me, the things that changed my life for better.
If they apply to you, great; if they don´t, I invite you to FIND YOUR OWN LIFE HACKS. Trust me, they exist. What makes a difference in your life may be different from what makes a difference in my life but those goodies – your goodies – are out there. Go and get them. Nobody will improve your life – only YOU can do it, starting with those daily, seemingly ordinary, things.
- Daily meditation.
At first, it felt like an impossible task. How could I – the over-doer always on schedule and on the run – stop, every day, for 15 or 20 minutes to do”nothing”? How could I take time from my overloaded day to sit, focus on my breath, and be – just be?
I believe most of us, particularly Westerners, arrive to Meditation as a way to save ourselves from insanity, a last resource, searching for salvation. We reach a point of mild, or violent, burnout and realize we have to STOP in order to keep moving. I was no exception. My brain felt like it was going to explode; I´d lived more in 35 years of existence than most people I know live during their entire lives. I felt overwhelmed, exhausted, in urgent need of respite. My “cup was running over” but not in a good way.
Once I forced myself to sit still and go through my daily meditation, the agitation gave place to peace. I endured the storms, the “what a hell am I doing, or not doing, here?” tantrums, the shenanigans, the bursts of laughter and crying, the almost irresistible temptation to quit. I stayed put, returned day after day to my seated position; eyes closed, mind – slowly – opening. Now, I can honestly say: meditation takes me to my happy place, my internal home, my personal heaven, the one which resides within. It has shown me HOW to breathe and use my breath to shape my reality; how to distinguish my thoughts from WHO I AM, truth from fantasy, fear from courage. It has made me more rooted, aware, calm, trusting, loving, and – tchan, tchan, tchan! – patient.
It has changed the way I dance, live, treat myself and others.
***There are many MEDITATION APPS, some of them FREE, available on the internet. Search for the one you´d like to try and give it a go. Realize it takes time to form a new habit so DO NOT QUIT. If you miss a day, or more, restart. You´re allowed to fall and rise up.
Make meditation a daily practice for at least 60 days in a row, the time it takes, according to research, to install a new habit.
The daily practice of GRATITUDE has changed my mindset and, consequently, the way I dance and live.
Complaining, criticizing, pointing fingers is so easy! Plus, we find loads of company for those activities. But, let´s be honest, complaining doesn´t get things done; criticizing may, or not, raise awareness on something which is not right but it doesn´t change it for the better; pointing fingers is disempowering.
Once you become aware of GRATITUDE, how it applies to your existence and how it changes it, you never go back to the CRITICS CLUB. You´ll be too busy saying THANK YOU, LIFE; too busy with your own life, the things and people that matter the most to you.
It´s as simple as this: I have a GRATITUDE APP on my mobile phone. As soon as I wrap my daily meditation, a central part of my Morning Routine, I´ll open the app and write the things I´m most grateful for. They can be “food on the table”, or “this sunny day”, or “my love relationship”, or “the success and the joy in my work”, or “the challenges that are making me grow”, or (fill in the blank).
What a daily GRATITUDE PRACTICE does is tuning YOU with LIFE´s ABUNDANCE, a POSITIVE ENERGY of LOVE, CAN-DO, INSPIRATION, OPENNESS. The more you say THANK YOU, the more you´ll receive.
***Create your own GRATITUDE RITUALS.
You can go for a GRATITUDE JAR where you´ll insert hand-written notes with the things you´re most grateful for at the end of each week; you can download a GRATITUDE APP, as I did, and use it daily; you can have your GRATITUDE JOURNAL where you´ll write before sleeping. Use your imagination.The most important thing is to make it a HABIT, not something you do here and there.
3. Filing my LIFE with Beauty.
I know it sounds too easy. Or difficult. You may claim: I don´t have time, money, or energy to focus on Beauty; that´s a luxury for the rich and the lucky. Yes, you may claim it. And I will disagree.
When, after many years of life in Cairo, Egypt, and travels world-wide for work, I decided to move for a while to the deep Portuguese countryside; I found a humble abode hidden between the mountains and the river and I settled in it. I knew I NEEDED to BRING BEAUTY into my life. That, in itself, would do a lot of the cleaning, healing, and rebirthing I so desperately needed.
I didn´t buy new clothes, furniture, or objects for decoration. I went back to the basics: a clean home which I cleansed with daily doses of fresh air, incense, and essential oils; a well tended garden from which I could take flowers to decorate my place (and myself); a silent, peaceful, bulshit-free environment where ONLY LOVE AND BEAUTY could enter. I filtered my thoughts, feelings, interactions with my inner and exterior world; I made sure nothing negative would reign in my space. No, sir, not on my watch.
I´ve moved out, lived in Morocco and Indonesia ever since. I´ve spent time in hotel rooms around the globe. Yet, my CULT OF BEAUTY remains untouched.
Bringing BEAUTY in all its forms into my life has changed the whole game. I no longer participate in negative, trashing, destructive scenarios; I make sure my environments are clean, fresh, beautified with whatever is available. I´ve discovered BEAUTY is healing and realized we eventually become a mirror of the things and people we surround ourselves with. If I catch myself into downwards/destructive mode, I catch myself up and breathe – staring at the trees, the sky, anything beautiful.
Add BEAUTY into your home, work space, internal and external life. Go for simplicity; filter the thoughts, things, and people you wish to bring into your life. DECORATE your LIFE in an uplifting, inspiring, manner. Beauty attracts beauty, the same way joy attracts joy, and gratitude attracts abundance.
YOU are BEAUTIFUL – let your dance, and life, be a reflection of that fact.
Enjoy this bonus video I´ve produced for YOU:
*Share your own LIFE HACKS in the comments to this post – I´d love to hear from you and the things that make your life happier.
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