Thoughts and such like.....
This was the question posed to me by my friend Christine. So, I've calculated if I want to live a healthy happy life and maybe die at 90, then I have approximately 10,950 days left! So the next question is, how am I living each day? Is it filled with joy and laughter, am I doing work I love, or am I allowing stress and upset to bring me down.... Am I willing to allow that to happen, for the next week, year - when will I say enough. We all know people who say they hate their work, who can't wait for 3 years, 5 years down the road when they retire, will they be happier then? What about the time they have wasted hating what they do? What about this habit they have been practicing of being unsatisfied - will it just disappear? Shawn Actor in his book, The Happiness Advantage talks of happiness being a 'state of mind'. He notes right at the beginning that our formula for happiness is broken, we have been brought up to believe 'Success first, happiness second'. We're waiting for something - to lose ten pounds, to get into the school I want, to retire - then we'll be happy, 'it's backwards', if we practice happiness, then good things will happen. How many of us are waiting for something to happen so that we will find happiness.
What if you knew exactly when your life is over, would you still wait for that certain thing to happen, or would you start living life, enjoying each day? It's a funny thing breaking down the rest of our life into days, for me 10,950 days seems so much shorter than 30 years. How am I going to spend those days, especially the last ones, do I want to remain healthy - what will I have to do to ensure good health? We now hear that our genes only impact 20 - 30% of an individuals chance of living to 85 (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/genetic-factors-associated-with-increased-longevity-identified/ ), so part of my plan to live healthily was to change my diet, look at how I exercised and also how I reacted to my environment - that is how much time did/do I dwell on negativity, looking back at what 'went wrong', worrying about the future and what might happen. Science has also told us that our brain and body are interconnected and that our negative thoughts can impact our body and health too. So my advice - don't dwell on what you can't change, nor what might happen in the future, look at what you have and be grateful. A mantra from Reiki is something I have begun to practice each morning, when I meditate or sit in silence for those who don't wish to start a medication practice.
Just for today I will not be angry
Just for today I will not worry
Just for today I will be grateful
Just for today I will work honestly
Just for today I will treat every living being with kindness
Work out how many days you have left, then ask yourself the question, how am I going to live my life from hereon in, what do I want to change?
Let me know if this question resonates with you and what you might do differently below - as always, stay happy.
Yesterday I woke up to a winter wonderland, as I said in my facebook page, "who moved my house?" I had gone to bed with the rain pounding down and woke up to approximately 6 inches of snow, beautiful, however it changed how I spent my day. Life tends to do that to us, and often it isn't as beautiful as the scene before me yesterday morning. However, as you've probably heard before it's not what happens, it's how we react to what happens that matters. We cannot control a lot of stuff like the weather, whether our company is downsizing, whether our peers and others are rude/disrespectful to us, but we can change how we react to each of these actions. Yesterday, I had planned to continue painting my office, but as I watched the sun come out and how it twinkled on the snow, a visual delight, I felt my resentment at this unexpected change, melt away (couldn't resist the pun!). My car, of course being at the bottom of the driveway meant I had to clear the driveway, and it would depend on the roads around me as to whether I could get out to shop. My plans to paint, and then spent some of the day shopping and people watching as I walked, slowly disappeared.
But instead of grumbling I got up cooked myself a yummy breakfast which I ate sitting at the window with this amazing postcard perfect vision in front of me, and then did the filling and painting that I had planned for the day. Then, with the sun still shining, I donned a cap, my hiking boots and tackled the snow. It was easy, well not easy but because I went at it without resentment and took in the beauty, it was a lot easier than if I had gone at it with feelings of being hard done by. I was even able to fill in a little walk afterward, and shopping, except for the cat, who cared, I had enough food in my cupboards, just had to be a bit more creative!
If we look at what is happening around us, and keep asking why is it me that bad things always happen to, we are going to embrace thoughts of being treated unfairly, or mistreated, and we miss the beauty of what is around us, or those individuals who support us , we're so caught up in the 'poor me', syndrome we miss out on other 'brighter' things. The kindness of a co-worker, the smile of a homeless person, the fact someone left cookies in the the kitchen! Sometimes this 'poor me' is because we've set ourselves up, we expect certain things to happen, or people to support us and they don't? Did they know our expectations? Life happens in it's own mysterious way, and although we may not like it, we can start to look at the opportunities that change brings us.
Sometimes the best way to bust resentment is to look inside ourselves, and ask what did I do to set myself up and what can I do to get out of this funk? I don't mean if life hits you unexpectedly that you should grin insanely and pretend everything is right, more take a few minutes, alone, and think about why you're feeling the way you do, what was it that you thought might/would happen, and how can you turn it around - for you, or at least take away the bitterness that you may be feeling...
Unexpected change happens to us all, taking the time to be aware of your feelings, how they appear and why, can make us more adaptable and happier with life.
In my blog and on my website, I've talked about the Third Act and some of you have asked what do I mean by The Third Act? This was an idea introduced to me by my friend Edward Kelly. Ed introduced and has taught the concept for the past few years initially in Ireland and now across Europe. We are living longer, and the idea of retirement, as conceived in our parents and grandparents day has changed.
Image your life as a play. The beginning, Act One, like a play sets the stage for your life: You are born and the influences you have during childhood and adolescence, the family you are born into, where you live, the principals and values that are instilled in you and that you may still live by are formed during this time. This is the nature/nurture period, and sets the stage for your Second Act.
In your Second Act, there may be further development and learning – like the second act of a play there is growth, maybe complications. You are independent, building a career, partnering, bringing up a family, saving for later… Independent, however as you progress through this act there are often others dependent on you. Often in a play the Second Act ends with questions, so too as we transition to the end of this act, we wonder - What happens next? What should I do now? Is this old, I don't feel old? How do I proceed without the structures and supports that I have had throughout my lifetime? Is this it?
Our Third Act is a time for reflection and transformation, longevity has given us the gift of time, today there is a second chance, a chance our grandparents didn’t have. There is time and space to look at new opportunities, maybe a new career – this is about you! This is the time to review who you really are and the tenets you live by. It is a time for new beginnings, and adventures, however without proper preparation it can be a time without focus, a time of regret and of lost opportunity. Preparation should include a holistic audit of not only our financial health, but also our physical, emotional and spiritual health - if we want to sail across the ocean, are we physically and emotionally ready? Even if our goal is to play 10,000 games of golf, would we be physically able to do so?
Finally the end of the Third Act is a time for paring down, increased frailty and loss of sense, health or mind – the curtain comes down and we face the inevitable end of life, without regret.
'Each of us will have a third age, not all of us will have a Third Act'. Edward Kelly
Are you in transition? What do you have in mind for this next stage in your life? Do you need some additional insights, or support to prepare you for this new stage? How is society treating you, is there an assumption that maybe you're just checking out, or are there supports there for you?
Does this column resonate with you? Comment below and let me know how you are preparing for your Third Act
Maeve O'Byrne's Blog