Life is a constant stream of giving and receiving, ebbing and flowing, holding on to and letting go of. We live in this energy exchange on a daily basis, but rarely take the time to really appreciate its significance or be thankful for the balance that is naturally occurring all around us.
We always seem to think that “finding balance” is this far off treasure trove that we have to strive and struggle to even get to, let alone maintain. What If I told you there was an easier way to feel more aligned? Better yet, what if I told you that the journey to internal balance didn’t really have anything to do with food?
As a wellness junkie, I am all about nourishing your body with organic foods, movement, vitamins and minerals. But, there are three things that can drastically change you from the inside out. Sure, diet and exercise can be a supportive partner in your journey to balanced health, but there is something that provides a deeper sustenance and it’s how we are living our lives day in and day out.
Here are the three L’s for living your life with more joy, empowerment, and peace:
1.)Listen- Learning how to truly listen to people does not come easily. We live in a modern world of too much stimulus, unnecessary stress, and a lack of connectivity to each other. Most of the time when we talk to each other we feel as though we are waiting for the other person to stop talking so we can give our opinion or comments. The older I get and the more I spend time with people, the more I realize that everybody just wants to be heard.
Real listening occurs only when we are practicing mindfulness and being present in the conversations we have with each other. Not only does this make us feel like we are really being heard, it sharpens all of our senses and compassion because we are actually hearing what the other person has to say.
In order to become a great listener, you have to get out of your own head. It’s kind of like meditation; when you sense that your thoughts are beginning to take over, you just bring yourself back with a mantra or counting. You can apply the same practice when listening.
We have become poor listeners because we are used to being overly simulated and always entertained. This puts everything in overdrive and leaves us always wanting more or something that we think is “better.”
When you feel yourself drifting from a conversation bring yourself back with a mental mantra of “listen” or “here.” This becomes like a bell that snaps you out of the maze of your mind and back to the here and now where everything is really happening.
When we begin to become better listeners, we find that people listen to us more, we become more empathetic, more attune to the people and happenings around us, and even more intelligent. Really listening to someone is one of the greatest gifts you can give. Remember, we have one mouth and two ears because we are supposed to do one twice as much as the other!
2.)Love- Ahh love, it’s an overused word that isn’t given enough reverence to what it truly means. No, I am not suggesting that you surround yourself with even more romantic “love” that our society seems to throw at us left and right in movies, magazines, dating sites and Apps, and holidays like Valentine’s Day.
The love I am talking about is the love of life all around us. The love I refer to is an expression of what and who we truly are….connected. Love is part of really living because it is a part of us. Even in times and with people we think we can’t extend love to, we must find that place inside us and stretch love out to the ones that might need it the most. Love is a part of us, a flow of energy inside of us that is palpable. We must remember that love is not just for the ones closest to us, the ones we hold every day, and the ones who agree with us.
Love is for the masses, the people and things you might think of as lacking love, that’s where you need to blast your love every day.
Whether it’s in prayer or meditation, sending love to those around you should become one of your daily habits. It might not seem like much at first, but once you begin to throw love out into the atmosphere, it has a way of touching so many hearts and also has a way of coming back into your heart with twice the intensity!
As the Dahlia Lama said “love and compassion are necessity, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.” Love is our life force and if we live in the illusion of scarcity and that we can only save our love for those that we think “deserve” it we are selling ourselves short. Love is in abundance because it is in all of us; we just have to be more generous with it.
3.)Learn- In our ever changing world that has now been called the “post-fact” time, it can seem challenging to trust the information we receive. This induced fear and calculated divisiveness seems to be a trap where we all want to stay where we are comfortable. We watch the news programs that lean towards our own opinions and we surround ourselves with people that are exactly like us and call them affectionately “our tribe.”
There is something profound in finding people that we can really relate to, but when you really dive deep into the muck of it all, is it really serving us completely? Diversity, like in the plant world, is the catalyst for real growth in our humanity. Surrounding ourselves with people who look different from us, think different from us, have different numbers in their bank account, and come from different parts of town or different parts of the world is a way to stretch ourselves in a way that makes us thrive.
To learn is to grow and to grow is to expand. You really can’t broaden your horizons when you are only looking at one type of landscape.
We have to begin to learn about the things that might make us uncomfortable. When we begin to look at things as they are, not as we think they are, our compassion and empathy grows. This is expansion. It is the widening of our hearts and minds to the point where they are touching each other in a harmonious dance.
I challenge you to move outside your comfort zone, have conversations with people who are different from you or who don’t share your opinions. And while you are engaged with them, really listen to them because this is the other cornerstone to really learning. We have to leave our pride and ego at the door and always see ourselves in one another.
Stay curious, stay engaged, and know that real learning never stops. The world is our classroom, relationships are assignments. But we aren’t being graded, we are being illuminated!