1. move more. take more yoga classes. seek out new teachers. run more. maybe another half marathon. maybe not. come spring, hike again. nix the phone. leash the dog. go for miles. take long slurps of fresh air. stop at a high point & look out at the beauty that surrounds you. we live on a breathtaking planet. acknowledge it. be with it, see it, breathe it in.
2. do more of nothing. when you have a chance to rest your heavy head, do it. drop any layers of guilt that surround you. unplug. crawl under a blanket. cuddle your puppy, your baby, your lover. savor the raw scent of their skin, the breath on their lips. feel your heart rate descend & your breaths get slow & deep. soak in it.
3. nurture your art. cultivate your genius. burn your creative oils. if your thoughts are poetry, lend form to them. if books inject you with new ways to speak, devour them. if you paint, do it more. if people love your words, dole ’em out. if you cook in color, keep it up. put something on the stove & let the flavors steep in the air of your home. set your table. if you build it, they will come.
4. be a better student. you’re a pupil of this planet, a seed in this earth. let it water you & help you flourish. anchor your curiosity in whatever subjects inspire you. read books about the stuff that fascinates you. take shade in the knowledge of those more experienced. interpret all these pearls with your own life experience. add something new to the discourse.
5. eat real food. fuel your body in a way that serves you. taste the fruits of your own earth. give up the refined, the processed, the chemicals. take comfort in the simplicity of good food & health.
6. treat your work as a tapestry. weave in vibrant shades & see the patterns that emerge. be more enthusiastic, more organized. give it mouth to mouth. breathe yourself into it. transform it from something you do to something you are. bring yourself to the table. improve your industry. you can.
7. develop a home yoga practice. buy a mat you love to land on. turn the lights down low. the firelight of your candles or fireplace should do. load your ipod up with the red wine chocolate cake equivalent of a playlist – let it be decadent, rich. but then see if you can bookend it in silence & stillness. work on something you think you’ll never do. plant it, like a tulip bulb. just when you think your winter won’t end, it’ll bloom. transiently. but still.
8. save money. shiny new things have a certain power over you, but you won’t find happiness in them. turn inward for uplifting. take advantage of free things. they really are the best. one day you may need to build a better foundation, start fresh. you’ll be glad you can.
9. find “me” in your mornings. rise earlier. make yourself breakfast. linger over your coffee. don’t go on the internet while you do these things. don’t rush your dog along on her morning walk. let her smell everything that protrudes from the ground. carry this calm & patience with you throughout your day. infuse your relationships with these sentiments. watch the ways they’ll grow.
10. see yourself in things that are not you. see yourself in the unkind, the unfortunate. realize we’re all products of our unequal upbringings & we’re all powered by the same, sometimes unbecoming, earthly motives. know that the person across from you has the same human vulnerability & insecurities that you have, even if they’re not conscious of this fact. let these truths fill you with compassion in your dealings with others. watch it change the way others deal with you.