45 Things to Live Well (16-20)

We continue with our 45 things we can do to live well and this installment is good ol' fashioned horse sense.  Ever wonder how cliches came to be?  I think cliche' are great "suitcase" sayings that are a simple way of expressing a bit of wisdom that has been found to be helpful through the passing of time. These cliches can be very rich but sometimes not all that welcome in the heat of a tough situation.  I think this has more to do with the suitcase than the wisdom it contains.

(Oh... when I talk about a "suitcase" sayings I am referring to a word or short phrase that when unpacked carries a lot of content - so instead of unloading the contents of our suitcase we simply hand over the suitcase - the phrase - with all it implies.  A classic example is Authority of Scripture.)

To thine own self be true - Polonius's words to Laertes in Shakespeare's Hamlet.   "This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man." A classic way to say always be honest with yourself and others.  Be true to who you are and who you are becoming, part and parcel to this authenticity is honesty with others.

Say “I love you” to your loved ones as often as possible.   I am amazed at how important these three little words can be.  I have seen these words bring a profound sense of healing or reconciliation and provide the inspiration for overcoming some profound obstacles.  I have seen how saying I love you along with actions of love breath new life into one who is withering from loneliness, depression, and estrangement. Let those you love know they are loved with words and action.

Be yourself.  You are created uniquely and wonderfully! While what the world wants is to hammer you into conformity, into its own image; what the world really needs is for you to be authentically and uniquely you!  To this end I am reminded of a quote by St. Therese of Lisieux:

“The splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily
do not rob the little violet of it’s scent nor the daisy of its simple charm.
If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness.”

When traveling, pack light.  As anyone who does a fair bit of traveling will tell you - pack light!  Only bring something if it is absolutely necessary!  Walking through airports, train stations and navigating taxi's, sidewalks and escalators is much easier with less baggage.  Funny how this is true for our inner life - pack light!  Leave all the baggage behind and get on with living.  Shame, guilt, and unforgiveness - deal with them and leave them behind as these are alway too awkward to carry through life for long!

Clean up after yourself as you go.  I love to cook and the kitchen is my friend and often, when cooking, you can't help but make a mess.  I used to leave the clean up until I was done but the problem was I was more interested in enjoying my culinary creation.  When I was done enjoying it, I was often too full and too tired to clean up.   The mess would sometimes sit over night and greet me the next morning!  Who wants to wake up to that?!

I have discovered a rhythm of clean as you go that incorporates the cleaning as a part of the preparation - not rocket science but simply being deliberate to do some cleanup in between the various stages of prep.  Put the spices back in the cupboard as soon as you're done with them, prep dishes and utensils rinsed and in the dishwasher as soon as I done with them and quick wipes of counters and working surfaces.  The net result is there is way less to clean up at the end!  This works in a number of settings, the workshop to the office.   It also works with relational situations.  If there is a conflict and perhaps you have offended someone or they have offended you, it is often a good idea to address these issues quickly.   Failing to do so almost always results in a bigger, messy tangles - relational mess often spreads!

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