In the morning, when you wake, let your first thought be Thank You.
Appreciate this day. You might live another hundred days, or you might live only this day. Maybe you will live many more lifetimes, maybe only this one. Either way, know this: Here, right now, THIS DAY will only come once.
Decide to see differently. Don’t miss an opportunity to see beauty. Is the day gray, and cold, and drab? Grab your camera and walk outside, purposely looking for color and texture. One year, when the winter was way too long and all I saw was white and gray, this was the only way I knew to stave off depression. Click here to see some of those photos.
Never leave home without a camera. Don’t have a camera? Use your cell phone. Don’t have a cell phone with a camera? Use your eyes. Use your senses. See as if you were seeing through a camera. It changes your perspective.
Listen. Listen deeply. Listen to the wind, listen to a friend, listen to the meanings between the words. Listen to music, listen to a poem, listen to your self. Listen to the wisdom of a child.
Get outside. Ride the bus, ride a bicycle, take a train. Stop and talk to people, have a conversation, feel the sun, get drenched in a downpour, be in the elements, laugh with a neighbor. Step outside of your daily box at least once a day.
Remember that a Thank You is never wasted. Did you receive an unexpected note in the mail? Get great customer service? Realized someone’s words were exactly what you needed to hear? Say Thank You. Don’t put it off, because you might forget, or it might be too late. Say it now. It not only makes someone else feel good, but you will feel good too. There is wisdom in gratitude.
Try something today that you have never tried before. Try a new food, experiment with a different way to exercise, solve a puzzle, learn everything you can about someplace you’ve only vaguely heard of before. Go someplace you have never been.
Learn a new language. Find someone you can talk to in that new language and make a new friend. Go visit that new friend and use your new language in a new place.
Be willing to be wrong. Be willing to fail. Be willing to be a complete idiot. Fall down and get back up again. Laugh. Get mad, then laugh some more.
Keep an open mind, and don’t believe everything you think. Be a skeptical believer. Entertain possibilities.
Smile at the next person that walks into your presence, and honor that person for simply being who they are. Say to that person, “wow, you are beautiful!” and see what happens.
Read a good book. Or two, or three. Pass the book along to someone you think will love it. Or to someone you think will hate it. Have a discussion about that book, and celebrate your differences. Share a cup of coffee, and celebrate your similarities.
Laugh some more.
Be willing to cry. Be willing to feel deeply. Be angry and passionate and lonely and joyful, and let it all awaken you to a deeper sense of compassion, a deeper sense of living.
Give. Loan $25 to someone through Kiva, and know that you have helped to change a life. Donate to your favorite charity. Give your time to someone who just needs someone to be there. Give a book to someone who is learning to read. Give free hugs. Donate a smile.
Be creative. Write, draw, take a photo, build a boat. Paint. Use your hands. Get dirty, grow a garden, make compost. Be amazed by and celebrate the creativity expressed by children. Encourage them. Tell them it is ok to keep being creative. Even when they get old. Get old, and get more creative.
Be radically amazed. See the quote at the top of this blog. What is the most amazing thing that happened to you today? Really? Wow! Be really, radically amazed that you had this experience. Share your amazement. How cool is that?
That thing you always wanted to do? Do it. Don’t wait. If your answer to “what would you do with a year if your goal was to be wise” is a list of all the things you’ve always wanted to do but don’t think you can…. do them anyway. Don’t wait. Do them now. You have that year. You have it now.
Realize that wisdom comes from moments lived one at a time. It does not come from education alone, nor knowledge alone, nor from a single experience. It is a culmination of every single moment in which you are present and willing to be here, really here, and alive.