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Habits for a luminous life, part 1

Hiya dear one, my friend,

I’m not sure whether to call these habits. Maybe signposts — those waymarkings that let you know which direction to point yourself to get where you want to go and experience what would be most precious along the way.

Maybe they are guardrails, that hug you to your unique path, help you from free-falling over the precipice as you risk and try and reach and stretch.

Maybe they are reminders, tickling you back to what you know is most true and helping you gather the most wisdom in your berry basket of life.

As I started writing this for you, Support, I realized it’s better to split it up. There are about 11 of these habits/milemarkers, and I’m still not done. And 11 of anything, no matter how delicious, is a lot at one sitting.

So this is Part 1. Stay tuned for Part 2.

  1. Make love not war with yourself.

This might be the one gift I’d wish for every human, if I was limited to just one.

This habit offers you an entirely new, radical, alternative way to relate with the parts of you that you have wanted to cut into pieces and feed to the dogs.

The only way out of warring against yourself is to quit being a warrior, to stop using warrior tactics and tools, to relinquish the warrior’s mindset. Aim instead to give yourself over — tremblingly, willingly, bravely, wholeheartedly — to being a lover. A lover of, even of, especially of, first and foremost of, yourself. Unsavory bits and all.

Instead of restricting and punishing and bullying yourself (ala the warrior), you become curious and welcoming and truthful (ala the lover).

All of which, I think, takes more strength and ferocity than being a warrior anyway.

  1. Your timing is divine.

This habit reminds you that — just like life impeccably handles the timing of the four seasons or the rhythm of day and night or the springtime leafing out of deciduous trees — your learning, growth, budding, and blooming are happening at precisely the pace that’s precisely right for you.

Yes, you might have to wait longer than is comfortable. Yes, you will have to move quicker than is comfortable. Yes, your resolve will be tested.

Regardless, your unique timing is good and wise. It knows what it is doing. It is right on time.

(Read a whole blog post on this).

  1. It is good to feel good.

We have been taught that if we feel too good, we’ll get lazy, be unmotivated, prove selfish. Almost every one of my clients, when we start working on shifting their inner critic or inner bully or inner perfectionist or inner people-pleaser, gets nervous. But how will I motivate myself to DO anything? Will I still have resolve, drive, will I still get anything done?

Here’s what I know: Plants lean toward the light. Our bodies orient toward health and homeostatis.

Similarly, our deepest instincts urge us toward contributing goodness to the world, creating something beautiful, expressing what is ours to express.

And we’re most in touch with those instincts not when we feel like shit, but when we feel good.

(Read a whole blog post on this, too).

  1. What you appreciate, appreciates.

Especially as girls, women, and females, we have (and are still) most valued for our appearance. We have internalized the (false but insidious) idea that our very worth hinges on others finding us acceptable.

And so we get very good at appraising our appearance (in hopes of securing our value).

When we self-appraise, our eyes (and other sensing organs) have a filter over them, so to speak. We filter for what’s bad, worthless, flawed, broken, displeasing, and wrong about us. So we know what to fix and get on with proving our value.

However, when you use a different filter, like appreciation, you filter for what’s good, valuable, delicious, delightful, and just right about you, right now, as you are.

Same you, different filter.

What you get is what you see.

So, then, deciding to make the mindset-shift to exchange the filter of appraisal for the filter of appreciation, is a power move indeed.

It doesn’t erase the families/cultures/religions/world we live in, in which we are relentlessly appraised and generally found lacking.

But it does allow us to be rebellious and radical — to bask in our intrinsic, irrefutable beauty and worth.

(Yes, I wrote a blog post on this too. It’s here for you.)

  1. Life is conspiring to shower you with blessings.

For the first half of my life, I felt disconnected from people and honestly a little afraid of them. It seemed to me that the world was full of people who could potentially attack me, reject me, hurt me, or were otherwise out to get me.

There’s a word for that: paranoia.

Around this time, I saw Amelie, a French film about a young woman learning to let herself love and be loved. Amelie is a reverse trickster — meaning, instead of playing pranks on people, she finds secret ways to bring magic, surprise, and meaning into their lives. I was enthralled with this woman who was a self-appointed blessing bestower.

Pronoia, a term coined by Rob Brezny of Freewill Astrology, is defined as a belief that the world and the people in it are conspiring to shower you with blessings.

Pronoia is the counterpart to paranoia.

So mightn’t we, you and I together, Support, decide that Life Itself is a lot like Amelie, a blessing bestower?

Let’s not lose our discernment that some folks aren’t to be trusted with our tender bits. But let’s also err on the side of assuming we live in the kind of world that wants to bring magic, surprise, and meaning into our lives and that wants to let us know we are loved.

(Read a blog post on this and how to see & take in life’s blessings, since it sometimes takes a little work).

May these habits (or signposts or guardrails) help make your life more beautiful, meaningful, artful, full of fire — luminous — as they have done for me and those whose lives I get to touch.

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