You have to know that as long as you love who you are – your morals, your values, that type of stuff – you’re OK.”- Nicki Minaj

Even though NM is not usually my go to person for inspiration, I like this one.

How do I live a happy, fulfilling life? How can I be a good person?” I am echoing my favorite stoic philosopher, Epictetus whose passion was to answer these two questions.

A group of Stanford University students were asked to write about their most important personal values and then describe how the events of each day connected with those values. Another group of students was simply asked to describe the positive events that happened throughout their day. Researchers discovered that those students who wrote about their personal values were healthier, experienced fewer illnesses, and had better energy and attitude than the students who merely wrote about the positive events in their lives.

Here are some of the most common core values – I have decided to pick 5 as my personal values to focus on.

  • Growth
  • Happiness
  • Humor
  • Inner Harmony
  • Kindness
  • Learning
  • Love
  • Stability

My teacher, Tara Brach writes “We are born with a beautiful open spirit, alive with innocence and resilience. But we bring this goodness into a difficult world.”

How often we wake, dreading the things we should have done or shouldn’t have done. It’s not just us mere mortals who feel this way. Pope John Paul said:

It often happens that I wake up at night and begin to think about a serious problem and decide I must tell the Pope about it. Then I wake up completely and remember that I am the Pope.”

My 14 y/o is reading “Unselfie”, by Michelle Borba, where the reader is invited to imagine her “best possible self” and write that down. It warms my heart to read her aspirations “well-mannered, respectful and hard-working, not giving way to emotions, knowing when to hold my tongue, and being a kind and responsible steward to all the beings on this planet”. Thanks Michelle – if you could evoke this in my child, this is one book I think all children should read.

As Zen Master Suzuki Roshi taught, “The most important thing is remembering the most important thing.”

Quiet the mind even for a few minutes – slow down, unplug and really tune-in. Sit in a quiet place with your hands in a comfortable position on your lap. Become aware of your breath. Begin to mentally count the breaths 1, 2… when you notice thoughts coming in, visualize them floating away like clouds and then return to 1. Don’t worry if you don’t get very far. The point is to continually bring your attention back to the counting.

Is there anything I can do to make myself enlightened? As little as you do to make the sun rise in the morning. Then of what use are the spiritual exercises you prescribe? To make sure you are not asleep when the sun begins to rise.” -Anthony De Mello.

“When you see a worthy person, endeavor to emulate him. When you see an unworthy person, then examine your inner-self.” – Confucius