All in all 2011 has been a great year. I started off the year with little and a bunch of mistakes to fix (no place to stay, no idea what to do next, 25 grand debt (don’t ask) and slightly pissed off  and disappointed parents) and I’m ending the year on a much more positive and blessed note. (all debts paid, business good, relationships okay, blah blah blah) Along the way I’ve picked up a few things and lessons. Here are eleven of them

  1. Trust me: I’ve learnt to trust myself. I think I can see the future; I have some sort of vision. It started last year and I’ve slowly gotten used to the way it works. I generally know what I must do next, the path to take, etcetera. Intuition…a very powerful tool, discernment of things beyond the physical, knowing when to do things, and when to wait. We all have the ability; I’ve just learned to trust it recently. It comes by listening to the still small voice within.
  2. Self-awareness: The most important knowledge anyone can have is self-knowledge. To know the truth and reality of who you are is to have a real grasp on life, free you from destructive illusions and unleash true power
  3. Goals: it’s good to write things down, to know what the bare minimum is for you to be satisfied with your accomplishment. Draw a line in the sand so to speak, be definite as to what you must do, have or be and then work towards them systematically. You may not achieve everything but you will get quite a lot done.
  4. Work: Work hard, work your ass off, it’s the way to get things done, it’s the way to get to those goals we just talked about. It helps greatly if you are passionate about the work and you do it excellently.
  5. Rest: For the first 3-4 months of the year I worked like a mad man. Almost all my waking hours were consumed with activity from Sunday to Sunday, no days off. It’s not sustainable. Eventually you must respect the pulse of life and conform to a rhythm of work and rest. I’ve learned to take breaks, to not work on weekends, to spend time with myself, friends, loved ones and nurture relationships.
  6. Engagement/Life: I think about dying a lot, I have grown more and more aware of the fact that one day, I’ll be dead. I won’t be here. So as long as I am here, I seek to truly be alive, to be happy, to do good work, to savor the moments, the small things, good food, a good view, laughter, pleasure, even pain. It’s a work in progress; I’m learning how to be alive. I don’t think you necessarily have to run around piling on experiences and traveling in the name of being alive. I think it really starts from being aware, being present, being immersed in the now.
  7. Detachment: part of Buddhist philosophy is the concept of suffering/dissatisfaction, ‘dukkha’ as they call it. It’s the pain that arises from grasping and pushing away. We grasp at things we deem good and pleasant and we push away things we find bad and unpleasant. We try to hold on to good experiences or things we have, relationships, etc. We run away from qualities in ourselves, from discomfort from pain.  We are tossed emotionally and in our souls back and forth because of these labels and attachment, because we resist change. I’m learning to simultaneously enjoy/relish my experience (pleasure or pain) as well as hold it loosely and stay detached from it.
  8. Cruise/Control: There are some things in life you have to control and make happen by sheer will power, determination and grit. There are other times it’s best to let things unfold and present themselves to you. Sometimes you cruise along the stream of life, other times you grab the steering wheel. Most times you do both. It takes awareness, wisdom and courage to balance this.
  9. Getting over an ex: I spent most of the year getting over my ex. In fact, it was a goal, albeit one I did not write down. It wasn’t so much getting over as it was dealing with the emotions from the relationship and the breakup. It’s okay to still love someone even if you are not with them. Go right on loving…in the truest, purest sense of the world, not in that grasping, ‘I need you to be this for me’ way. It helped greatly that she cut off all contact with me (I wouldn’t have done it), and that I had people I could talk to honestly about where I was. Over time, things fade, dust settles and wounds heal. I read somewhere that as long as someone has hope for a broken relationship, you will never truly move on. That was very important for me.
  10. Love: There is loving someone and then there is falling in love with someone. The loving part is long and enduring, the falling is very thrilling but can be fickle. I don’t know much about love, but I try anyway, I give a little bit more of myself to it every passing day. In human relationships, it gets a bit complex, with human nature being the way it is. Entangled in our illusions and complexes, love becomes easily corrupted. I strive for pure love, love that loves without condition, love that covers all, love that doesn’t protect itself or hide, love that frees.
  11. The most important things: The most important thing is being true to yourself. You only live once right? It means knowing who you are, why you are here, who you must be and what you must do. It is awareness. The next important thing is family and after that is true friends and soul mates.  Know what you must do, know the single most important thing to accomplish and take care of the ones dear to you. Know what remains after all has been swept away. I didn’t speak to a friend of mine for about a year, we would literally be in the same room and not even acknowledge each other’s presence. We sorted it out in May or so. Life is too short for grudges and negative energy. Listen, forgive and release.
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