L=Listen: How many times to you sit quietly and just listen to your body? Do you know what it really needs? Does it need sleep? Exercise? A vacation? A check up? And, do you take the time to really listen to those in your life--their views, concerns, who they really are, and what they really want from you and their lives? Or, do you concentrate more on what they can do for you? We can learn so much from having the patience to listen instead of jumping in to counter someone else's view or cutting off someone to show that we "are more superior" than they are. Finally, do you listen to your surroundings? Are you aware that the birds are singing outside? Do you stop to notice kids squealing with laughter as they play in the park near your apartment building? Listen, learn, and love yourself, others and the world around you.
I=Inspire: To inspire is to make someone want to do something or feel something. Inspire to be inspiring! What a wonderful gift it is to hear that you are an inspiration to someone. But, you may wonder how to go about being inspiring. A good way to start is to live your life naturally. Be real. Live your true life every day; one in which you are authentic, kind, giving, forgiving, strong, and motivating toward yourself and others. You may face a chronic illness with humor and determination. Or, you may write songs, books, or short stories that cut right to the heart of what others are going through, helping them cope. You may also be the person in the neighborhood who is always ready with a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold, an ear to listen, or a funny story to cheer others up. Inspiration is different for all of us. Be the difference--make a difference.
F=Forgive: It can be very easy to hold onto grudges, past hurts, and misunderstandings. But by doing this, we risk emotional and physical pain. Refusing to let go of these feelings is not good for our health, no matter how much we try to justify it. It festers and gets blown way out of proportion. It serves no real purpose. Forgiveness, on the other hand, frees us from the burden of keeping all the anger, resentment, fear, and pain inside. It allows us to heal the wounds caused by the dispute and move on. Make an effort to personally forgive those who have hurt you. If traveling to meet with them is not possible, write them a heart-felt, honest letter. If they have passed on or you don't know how to reach them, still write the letter and keep it in your journal or somewhere else that is private. There is no need to share it with anyone. This is between you and those who have hurt you alone.
E=Explore: If there is one thing that I wish I'd done through the years it's to have explored more often. I spent my childhood pretty much afraid of getting hurt and trying new things. I didn't like going places on my own, or joining in activities with other kids. I thought I wouldn't be able to handle it; that I wouldn't fit in. Well, then Jim came along. He loves to explore! We have traveled all over the country and the world, experiencing things I never thought I'd ever see or be a part of. We made that move across the country that I have talked about before, gotten involved in community, and made many good friends. Although I still like my alone time and I've become quite the homebody, I have learned, changed, and grown a lot over the past 20 or so years. Never give up a chance to explore your world. It could be your neighborhood, your city, your county, your country, or the world at large. Whatever feels right, whatever you're curious about, set out to discover more about it. You're apt to learn a little something new about yourself in the process.
Do you listen, inspire, forgive, and explore? If so, how has it enriched your life? What other qualities of life can you substitute in this L.I.F.E. acronym that apply to you? Let me know. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below. Thanks!