Most of us are continually exploring the correct path to happiness, purpose, and health. We can search on Google, in a book store, use YouTube, and the library. We search out experts. We can talk to a nutritionist, psychotherapist, naturopath, Buddhist, Taoist, or priest. All the expert advice is out there. There are lists of things we should and should not do in order to obtain our goals. Instead of using the lists as defined rules I think it is better to use them as an outline. Every quest and new thing is just an experiment. I encourage myself and others to have flexibility on their search.
There was a year of my life when I never took a sip of alcohol, only ate the healthiest organic food, went to bed at a decent hour, didn’t buy any new clothing, and meditated. I followed strict guidelines made by the experts on how to become my healthiest and most “enlightened.” At the time I thought I was doing all the right things and that all these things would eventually lead to something good. However, the only thing that rigid path was leading me down was a path of isolation and I like people way too much for that to ever work out for me. Quite simply, living that way wasn’t any fun and it didn’t get me anywhere.
Health and happiness have mostly been about doing the things for my body and mind that feel good. Some of the things that make me feel good include toasting with real champagne to a friends marriage at their wedding. Or dancing all night even if the rules say to fall asleep before 11. I love new clothes and feeling pretty for an evening out and don’t get me started on the crispy french fries they serve with pecorino cheese and rosemary at one of my favorite restaurants! I smile much more now than I ever did following anyone else’s rules. Indulgence can feel so amazing!
Alcohol, late nights, materialism and fried foods are not the keys to health. So here’s the thing… We all need to find our own balance while using the rules as helpful guidelines. Extremes on either end don’t work for most. Eat well, sleep, and exercise but live your life to the fullest. The magical moments in my life have been at times when I am free from the constraints of thinking about the way I should be living. It isn’t about the joy of breaking rules, it is about listening to myself, knowing my limits, and knowing myself.
Advice I Give Myself: Don’t take everything so seriously. Make your own rules, if you must, but break them anyway. AND… Who cares if the berries on the birthday cake are organic?
Just enjoy it.