Thursday, November 29, 2007

Excavating Some Rules

This post is in response to Shawn's list of "rules you live by" writing project. I had a few of them sorted out (see previous post), but the rest didn't come easy. Mostly because I don’t feel like I’ve learned enough about life yet to have established any hard and fast rules that I’m living by. I'm always still looking to others, still searching--other people, other belief systems--trying to figure out what’s working for who without really trusting anyone. But, as I thought about what core rules I live by right now I was surprised by the things propping up my life. Here they are in no particular order:

1) Pay attention to the reoccurring themes in your life. These are quiet lessons being whispered to us every day in the form of an overheard conversation, a book flipped open to the right page, a photo on a passing bus. Tiny messages that accumulate like snow flakes until they are big enough to get our attention.

2) Accept change. It is part of the natural cycle, the ebb and flow of life. Sorrow will follow joy, but joy will also follow sorrow. The only thing we can control is our reaction to change.

3) Don’t lose your inner child. Allow yourself to be silly, ride roller coasters, make snow angels, chase fireflies and invisible dragons, build sandcastles, play dress-up, spin until you fall to the ground and watch the clouds whirl above you. Of course, it helps if you have an actual child doing these things with you. Do everything you can to not take life or yourself quite so seriously.

4)Widen your view of the world. It is much more expansive, far- reaching and deeper than the space we occupy. There are so many cultures, philosophies and places to explore, experience and love and--so little time.

5)Remember how to breathe. As children we breathe deeply into our bellies. As adults we breath shallow into our chest. Be conscious of your breath, use it to fill your belly, calm your emotions, quiet your mind.

6) Live well. This is not as easy as it sounds. Letting yourself rest when needed, saying no when you are overwhelmed, exercising, fueling your body's furnace with healthy foods, creating, meditating, worshiping, laughing, learning, connecting. There is so much to taking care of your mind, body and spirit but it's worth the investment. Give yourself a chance to reach your full potential in life.

7) If you’re going to bother doing something don’t do it half way. Delve into it, immerse yourself in the whole experience. Don't just taste the wine-- learn how to swirl, close your eyes and separate the fruit from the oak from the earth. Life will be richer and full of color.

8) Friendships are vital. It's the space in between people where things happen. Pay attention to this space, this is love.

9) Hold on to hope. Hope is our greatest weapon against cause and effect, against knowing what the future can and will bring, and against ourselves when we feel like giving up and giving in.

10) Live free. Not free of responsibility or relationships, but free of fear, guilt, judgment and boundaries. Let yourself off the hook and off the leash.


bella said...

The first one grabbed me.
Being aware, noticing, the recurring themes in our life is a creative act, yes? And it is how we tell our own story.

And accepting change is so hard for me and so needed.

Gary said...

Well done. You have seriously been about the business of writing this week: this makes TWO deadlines you are in under well before the date. Kudos.

There are several on this one I like, including numbers one, three, seven and nine. You did forget one, and a very big one at that: allow a Gary to harass you every chance you get. :-D Letting a Gary harass you is godliness, I think is how the saying goes. Ehem...

Gary said...

Forgive me, but I want to take a minute to wax sentimental over you, by professing publicly how much I think of you and value your friendship.

Without my ever having asked you to, you read everything I post, and even humor me by trying to help me answer the questions I ask to try and strengthen my poetic voice. There is no way you could like everything I write. Hell, I don't like everything I write, but you selflessly give of yourself, anyway.

As you know, I write comparatively short stuff compared to everyone else on the blogs--for instance, a seven line poem--but you'd never know how many people won't take 10 seconds to return a favor that takes me 10 minutes, in reading 10 paragraphs of theirs. Heck, you've even done the novel and short stories, and that novel isn't for many.

Thank you, Mrs. Shannon E. In the event I get hit by a bus tomorrow, I don't want to leave this world without telling you how much I really, really, really appreciate your friendship and being one of your literary partners in crime. Not only are you talented in your own right, I cannot see how you would fail to touch lives for the better wherever you go, giving as selflessly as you do. Thank you.

You are seriously my most favorite human being in the world these days, bar none. Not to condemn anyone else, mind you, as this may seem to, but you are extraordinary and so very awesome.

Thanks for being you.

Mama Zen said...

I, too, was grabbed by your first rule. I believe in this deeply, and regard it as one of life's little miracles.

Shannon said...

Bella & Gary, this was very intimidating after you guys set the bar so high with the first two responses! Thanks :-P

Mama Zen, that's my favorite one, too. Such magic is life. (that sounded like Yoda, didn't it?)Ah well...if this whole writing thing doesn't work out...

Shannon said...

G-I expect a lot from friends I guess, but I'll gladly give everything I expect. I really appreciate you believing in my writing, also. Okay, this almost made me tear up until I remembered that you'll be the first one aggravating me about something tomorrow. :-)
ps. I'm not sure how public this is, lol. Maybe you could rent one of those giant TV's in Times Square? It is my birthday soon, ya know.

Gary said...

Ah, good head's up! As I did not yet realize it. I'll wrap up a very, very extra special hard time for you, then! :-D

And what in the world do you mean by "tomorrow?!?" The day is still young, my friend, the day is still young... ;-p

And, I thought it was just Shawn, but it must be all of Google: it will not let me link here anymore, i.e., when you click on my name.

Shelli said...

Wonderful list. You are wiser than you know.

Moanna said...

I appreciate the way you described living well. It's not the usual way of thinking about it.

Shawn said...

You ... i almost teared up, too. It's too early for me.

Yesterday afternoon was UGLY at my house. Terrible. So I am just now getting to read your list.

It's perfect. That's about all I can say about it. I, too, like Number 1, but I also really liked your wine reference about separating the flavors of the oak and the earth in Number 7. Plus, that rule is pretty important to me as well.

breathe. yes ... breathe.

Thank you so much for such a wonderful contribution to this little writing project.

musemother said...

let yourself off the leash: that's a good one!
if I was a dog, would I walk myself at a run every day?
thanks for this writerly list,
happy to have read your blog,

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

Great list. I love the way you've described living well. You've reminded me that I need to stop worrying about the to do list and get more sleep to live well! :)

village mama said...