I wrote this because it is much needed during these interesting times.
We are dealing with a virus that’s affecting the entire globe. We see media outlets’ constant onslaught of fear-mongering tactics that have been giving rise to conspiracy theories and have overwhelmingly created separation and distrust in many arenas.
We are a nation that is divided and each side is absolutely sure they are right.
While the world feels smaller because almost everything is real-time, it also does seem a bit more chaotic.
Peace and joy are within everyone’s reach, but the onus is on us to do the work and the path is a solo journey.
Below are a few tactics that have helped me turn down the noise of negativity and division:
1. See the bigger picture
It’s easy to get caught in our little fragmented life. Our lives can sometimes skew our vision and inhibit us from seeing the broader world we live in. Our problems are important and we must deal with them, but what has given me a little peace while dealing with personal issues is that we are temporary time travelers, spinning on a giant rock, and floating in the vast universe.
I might come across as a bit grandiose with a touch of tie-dye hippiedom, but seeing the bigger picture can bring a sense of peace.
In our world, there are loved ones dying, new babies taking their first steps, people making positive change, and others committing crimes that they’ll probably regret once their consciousness catches up to them.
Sometimes it helps to take a step back and find gratitude in the fact that you are one of the 7.5 billion people on this planet trying to find a little piece of joy and comfort.
Many people probably have similar problems and I’ll go as far as saying the same problems, and even worse problems. Understanding that everyone has to deal with some shit sometimes, can make our shit a bit more bearable.
Advice — Take each day as it comes. Welcome it. The good, bad, and the ugly. They are all important in the sculpting of our soul.
2. Unfollow Facebook “friends”
I started the exercise of unfollowing friends and family this week. I don’t necessarily have the desire to unfriend anyone, but at the same time I only really care to keep in contact with a small group of people. That circle is getting smaller as I get older.
I just wanted to cut the noise if you feel me.
I was finding it tedious to scroll through my feed and see the lives of people that I will probably never see again.
Of the 1000+ “friends,” I only consider a handful to be meaningful relationships. This digital cleanup helps me remove the clutter. If you are my friend, you may find that I am part of your clutter, and you may want to unfollow me.
Not that it matters, but no offense taken.
Advice — Life is about learning as much as it is about unlearning
3. Live with more urgency
Life is shorter than we think.
Let’s break out a typical 24-hour day.
- 8 hours of sleeping
- 8 hours of working
- 8 hours of free time
The average person dies at about 73 years of age, but for the sake of this section, let’s assume that we are all at our optimum health and will live until 90.
If we break out our life in thirds or 30-year increments, then our lives are broken down into the following segments
- 30 years of sleeping
- 30 years of work
- 30 years of free time
When you divide the 30 years of free time into even smaller increments, you realize it’s not really free. Our 30 years are dedicated to our spouses, family, friends, and hobbies. It can look something like this:
- 10 years with extended family/friends
- 10 years to be the best version of you (hobbies, creative pursuits)
- 10 years with spouse/children
What I am trying to convey is that we don’t have that much time to pursue our dreams, to forgive others, to try to be better, and to love more. We must give our lives urgency. Seize the day.
Advice — We die a little every day. Go after what you love, and love those you cherish with conviction.
4. Make peace with broken relationships
Unfortunately, time is the only allowed prerequisite to usher in wisdom. Even wisdom is something rarely attained and probably even less so in our fast-paced world where instant gratification is paramount.
I had strong ties with members of my immediate family, but things changed.
The reasons are not nearly as important as the underlying deeper meaning and that is that all relationships are temporary.
Sometimes what hurts and is usually responsible for our pain is the wanting of the memory of yesterday to be today.
We have to enjoy the good times when we are in them and find solace that yesterday could never be tomorrow.
Everyone that you will meet, will go away.
Some stay for a little longer, others a little shorter, but all will teach you something deep and beautiful about yourself that you never knew existed.
Find gratitude and love in the fact that you would not be who you are today without all the people that have graced your life.
Advice — Everyone stops at our train station of life. Some stay for a while. But eventually, everyone has to go on. It’s the most beautiful tragic mystery of life. Forgive as much as you can because tomorrow never comes.
5. You are not as important as you think you are
Most people don’t care about your life. I hope this isn’t a shock. If it is, I hope the reality check hits you hard.
You mean a lot to those in your close circles, but other than that, most of the world will continue drinking lattes and tik-toking their lives away if anything tragic were to happen to you.
I might sound like I am crossing the line of nihilism, but it’s quite the opposite.
Knowing that I am not that important has helped me embrace fear and uncertainty.
It’s helped cultivate love because what I think about myself is way more important than what others think of me.
My character is more authentic. I give less fucks about what others think because I have a limited amount of fucks to give.
The people that value me love me because of who I am.
It’s brought out the childlike innocence that renders, “it doesn’t matter, so go for it,” (as long as I don’t hurt anyone in the process).
Advice — When we are in our youth we have an innocence that sees the world as new and with possibility. We care less about what others think. Try to be in that space more and do you.
6. Spend 5 minutes meditating on gratitude
There are lots of schools of thought on how to meditate, and while many of these different techniques are valid, a simple 5-minute meditation of gratitude is pretty powerful for the novice or seasoned meditator.
When was the last time you were grateful for what you have?
I’ve made it a point to start my mornings and end my evenings with gratitude.
However, you want to start your gratitude meditation is up to you.
For me, it’s a silent meditation where I list out everything I am thankful for in my mind.
Towards the end of the meditation, I start sending good thoughts and love to all those near and dear to my heart, and then the good thoughts and love spread to those that I haven’t talked to in some time, and eventually, my good thoughts and love cover the world.
This small but powerful exercise has the ability to change your frame of mind into a powerfully positive and peaceful one, and with the current times, we can all use more good.
Advice — Gratitude is one of the most important prayers anyone can perform. It’s simply thanking life for what’s in front of you.
7. Listen without judgment
I used to think it was my responsibility as a friend, brother, son, husband, and trusted advisor to give advice and console those that come to me for guidance, but I was wrong.
Sometimes people just need to be heard.
If you have the patience and mental capacity, listening to another is healing them from their mental wounds.
Giving others a trusted space where you can listen without judgment is one of the best ways to contribute to the healing of a loved one.
Advice — With the current times, we all need each other. If you are reading this, and you need a friend, I got you.