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On 2021 Being Less Bad With Mindfulness

There’s something poetic about allowing December to be as bad as it can be. First, there’s eating too much and drinking too much. That gets parlayed into not exercising, not doing my mindfulness. And finally there’s doomscrolling and continuing to argue with family members over the election in the USA. I think I could be pretty good at all of that.

All of that involves choices, and sometimes the only choice we have is how we handle a choice that was made for us.

Like many people, I’ve called 2020 a dumpster fire and a sh*tshow. Realistically, this year has been the most uniquely bad in recent history for the most people due to the pandemic, and on top of that it has been fairly harrowing for people in the USA on both sides of election. Toss in climate change, job losses, schools closing, and a disruption on a massive scale of the way we socialize, and, yeah, 2020 hasn’t been kind to many. Add in whatever else has happened in your life in 2020, and getting out of bed each day might be a miracle. Let’s switch gears for a moment.

Practice Mudita

Meanwhile, in the midst of a less-than stellar year, two women I adore just gave birth to healthy baby boys! And a friend I met on Facebook (it’s good for something!) started an orphanage and a dog rescue in Nepal and is thrilled! I’m full of joy for these three women and I had exactly no part in any of it.

In other words, 2020 hasn’t been all bad–not 100%. I promise you can find someone who is experiencing joy and you can be joyful for them. Mudita is a Pali word for just that–being happy for the happiness of others. Whose joy are you joyful for? It doesn’t have to have anything to do with you and no one has to know about it–you’re just feeling happy because they’re happy. We do this all the time in mindfulness and it feels sublime. Try it!

One Thing We All Excel At

We all are superstars at one thing each day: being who we were yesterday. Each day, consciously or not, we tell the world who we are through our actions. And each day, with every decision we make, we are choosing to be a certain type of person. We are ultimately expressing our values through our actions.

Today, you are the sum total of the decisions you’ve made and the actions you’ve taken up until today. Therefore, if you take stock of who you are telling the world you are today (through your actions–nobody cares more about your words than your actions), and you aren’t pleased with what/whom you have found, you can do something about that, starting today.

2021’s Story Hasn’t Been Written Yet

Who do you want to be in December? How do you want to end this year? Who do you want to be going into 2021? You might need all of the inner resources you can muster, #justsaying.

I am by no means saying you need to live your best life, lose your pandemic weight, learn a few languages, and write a book. I’m simply asking what kind of person you want to be. You’re going to be a certain kind of person at the end of 2021 no matter what. The question is: Are you going to intentionally craft that person? Do you want to live your life . . . on purpose?

What are your priorities? What are your intentions? Life is always going to throw you curve balls, from the inconvenient and disappointing to the destructive and heartbreaking. Through it all, you will be showing the world you are the kind of person who . . .

How would you fill in that blank for 2020? How do you want to fill it in for 2021?

Mindfulness Can Help

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is an 8-week course created in 1979 by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn and has been researched for years, yielding some impressive results. “Stress reduction” is kind of misleading as the point is more like we might have ways of dealing with our stress response that don’t really work for us. You don’t want to get rid of your stress response, as it can save your life. It’s your friend! However, you do want to examine the ways you deal with stress, and if you don’t like what you find, you might want to shift a thing or two in your thoughts and behavior. MBSR is awesome for that, as well as for helping you craft your intentions and priorities, and creating a life that effortlessly shows the world what you value.

Join me beginning January 19, to explore the full range of your human experience, including your purpose and values. You can sign up at our education division, the Financial Transitionist Institute, here.