LIFESTYLE: Guidelines for Living

What I learned from my mentor about living.

What guidelines or principles should I use to live the next chapter of my life? How do I stay fully engaged in the flow of life?  Who could I speak with about these questions?
I decided to make an appointment with my Mentor. When I posed my questions about principles to live by, he suggested that I design my own guidelines based on my core values, on what is most important for me. He then offered a list of guidelines that I could consider:

  1. Cultivate a calm and peaceful mind
  2. Express gratitude for what you have
  3. Practice compassion
  4. Adopt a healthy lifestyle
  5. Develop your relationships
  6. Serve others
  7. Cultivate optimism
  8. Manage your finances
  9. Be a lifelong learner
  10. Value life and do not take it for granted

I requested that my Mentor elaborate on each guideline. A summary of each one without his anecdotes and stories is provided below.

1. Cultivate a calm and peaceful mind
Nurture a calm and peaceful mind by sitting silently on a daily basis, focusing on your breathing, sensations, sounds, thoughts, prayers, or by walking silently, focusing on your steps or on the beauty of nature.  This will help you attain your center, your balance. At the center, you will develop clarity as more energy is flowing up to you. You will be more present in each moment.

2. Express gratitude for what you have
Learn to appreciate what you have: your health, family, career, home and friends. Recognize the simple pleasures that bring enjoyment: e.g., taking a walk, being with family, looking at the sunset, the stars, or sharing a conversation. Realize that you have something of value to contribute to build a better world.

3. Practice compassion
Practice compassion by treating others as you wish to be treated – with fairness and respect. Put yourself in another’s shoes and feel her or his pain or grief as though it were your own. Practice non-judgment. Accept others as they are. Offer them kindness and encouragement.

4. Adopt a healthy lifestyle
Eat and exercise mindfully. Get enough rest. Participate in enjoyable activities which involve play, humour, time in nature and healthy social networks. Learn self-management skills such as mindfulness, meditation, yoga and tai chi which have both physical and psychological benefits.

Obtain advice and help as you need it for sustaining health, nutrition, leisure and projects.

5. Develop your relationships
Value and care for people.Give others your full presence. Listen attentively, with compassion. Adopt an attitude of openness and inclusiveness. Accept people whole-heartedly and express love, released from all expectations.  Look for the good in everyone and provide help and encouragement when possible.

Share your positive qualities, your talents, skills, your personal experience and kindness. Take time to listen, to converse and to share leisure activities with your spouse, partner, children, grandchildren and friends. Discover new friends through travel and leisure activities.

Choose words that are positive and that convey confidence in people. Share your deepest feelings with people while they are still alive.

Do not speak when you are angry. Accept your anger and calm it through conscious breathing.

Practice forgiveness. Practice saying: “I love you”, “Thank you,” “I forgive you,” and “Will you please forgive me?” Reconcile and resolve all conflicts.

6. Serve others
Help and serve others. Ask: how can I help?  Select actions that show a sense of caring, concern and respect for others. Teach by your actions.

Share your acquired competence as a professional and as a human being with others. Endorse people of all ages. Support charities, write, speak and advocate for community needs.

7. Cultivate optimism
Cultivate optimism by staying engaged in life. Love the challenge of life and be adaptable. Strive to do your best in whatever you undertake. Search for solutions; do not give up.

Become aware of negative thought patterns. Stop creating negative beliefs in order to make room for positive beliefs that help you create the reality you desire. Learn to look at things in a new way. Accept responsibility for your life and your actions.

8. Manage your finances
Analyse your spending, set goals, make sufficient money to meet your needs, create a balanced budget, shop consciously and save for the long-term.

9. Be a lifelong learner
Always try to learn something new.  Read, take classes, learn a new language, solve puzzles, do crosswords and watch educational programs. Visit other countries and learn about different cultures. Challenge yourself, set learning goals and share what you learn with others.

10. Value life and do not take it for granted
Live with intensity as every moment is the only moment you possess. Value the time you spend with your spouse, partner, family and friends as all things change. All things are impermanent. Do not postpone what is really important for you to do now. Live your hopes and expectations every day.

I listened carefully to my Mentor. When he was finished, I thanked him and made the vow to use these ten points as a foundation for creating my own guidelines on how to live the next chapter of my life.

Prepared by Wally Lazaruk, January 2019