I wondered, when I first started this blog, whether anyone would read it. Apparently people do, and I deeply appreciate it. It’s gratifying beyond belief. I often wondered over the course of my life – as most people probably do – whether MY thoughts are really worth much. From my own life I’ve learned that thoughts are immeasurably powerful. The ideas that shape our lives are, in a sense, much more powerful than the individual actions that we attempt to counteract them.
I will throw out 5 ideas – things that can change your life powerfully in one direction or another, for good or ill. Each has changed my life.
1. Broadened experiences. I lived in Russia for a couple of years, and I spent years of my life moving from one country to another for work. I launched myself into each country – the language, the culture, the history. I have read as much as I can. I keep trying to learn. Nothing makes people better than learning “the other.”
2. Marriage. Nothing will teach you more about the human condition than negotiating life as half of a whole. The worst enemy and the best friend you ever had require less effort and involvement than your spouse (or partner) will. I mean this in the best possible way – Bubelah challenges me constantly, and it makes me a better person.
3. Children. I don’t really think you need to have kids to become a complete person. That’s a big myth thrown up by the media, our culture, our religious institutions, etc. But if you do have kids, they will challenge you like nothing else other than having a spouse. I think a spouse is the primary source of challenge and growth – after all, you’re going to be with your spouse long after the kids are off on their own. But kids do force you to examine your priorities, and while they can be trying they can be ennobling, too.
4. Spirituality. I was completely uninterested in religion growing up. I went through a brief period of interest in religion in my early 20s, where I attended our church multiple times per week and read the Bible constantly. My views shifted harshly in the other direction as I traveled overseas and widened my perspective, settling in a harsh atheism for years. Finally I’ve shifted to a more gentle New Thought neutrality. All of that was irrelevant. Having the conversation with yourself and the Universe (or whatever) is the important thing. Whether or not there’s any purpose to our span of days is, in a sense, irrelevant – what’s important is that you FEEL you have a purpose.
5. Wonder. I read about water on Mars. If you can’t learn about things like that, or read the newest bestseller with some enthusiasm, your life is over. Anything new is worth getting excited about. I got excited about Bigfoot (google it if you don’t know about it). Hey, life is made up of unknowns…
OK, that’s it – that’s my series of 6 rapidly-written posts in one day. I have no idea if that was interesting or just annoying, but I was hoping it would shake me out of a routine… hopefully it did!