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What I learned / 2017

I haven't been writing much lately. I tend to go through periods of expansion, followed by contraction, and have started feeling the inclination towards privacy, introspection, and withdrawal.

2017 was ultimately, an experimental year for me. Instead of getting into a lot of complicated digressions and detailed explanations, I will instead list some of what I have learned, in summary points. Nobody has to agree with me. I would love to read other people's lists!

1) Human beings are similar to sharks, in that if we stop moving, we die (figuratively and literally)

2) The longer you put off dealing with your issues / traumatic history / bad habits (psychologically your shadow), the more power it will have over you, until you are forced through life events, to face the music

3) If you are courageous and open with your heart, life becomes increasingly richer, profound and joyous, as you age. But the trade off is your heart still keeps getting broken!

4) I am no longer impressed by social status or material wealth, although I am impressed with the determination, efforts and focus it takes to achieve earned wealth. I am greatly impressed by humanity, compassion, courage, decency, kindness, patience.

5) Beauty does not need to be justified, be it natural, artificial, the physical beauty of human beings, whatever it may be. You can't control what other people find beautiful, just like you can't control what you yourself find beautiful.

6) You absolutely cannot control how other people think or feel. Trying to do this is futile and only damaging to yourself. You also can't teach someone something if they aren't open to it. People are operating on their own clocks and life paths.

7) The more you let others be free, the greater capacity for love one can experience.

8) In your own life history, where there is smoke, there is fire. Take the time to investigate yourself, your past, your beliefs, your habits, then learn what no longer serves you, get help making other choices- and let it go.

9) We are not fixed in any way- this is the idea of Buddhist emptiness - change is the only constant in this world. We are meant to evolve and grow- and not everyone will be on board with this. You may outgrow life situations, relationships, and you will even outgrow yourself. Make peace with this and extricate yourself compassionately and not irresponsibly.

10) While we all have responsibilities, if we are not true to ourselves, we will hurt others more, than honoring ourselves in the first place. This can take time and painful experiences to realize, however.

11) Very painful periods, times we are thrown off course, times we are stuck in a vice, can provide opportunities to reorient ourselves or shift, in ways and for benefits we may not understand for years, or even decades. Life in the grand scheme of things, is not about the short term, and sometimes requires incredible patience and tolerance.

12) We must fail, and fail, and fail. Especially when we are young, we have to do this, or we will be filled with regrets of what we never tried! Sometimes for a short time we might experience a small sense of success, but soon we can be sure we will follow with more failure, if we are growing. This is normal.

13) Sometimes our failures will hurt others. We must experience the pain of hurting others to learn how not to hurt people, again.

14} I am grateful and privileged to be here, and to know so many extraordinary human beings, who I learn from and appreciate, every single day.

I wish everyone the best of fortune, and growth, as we enter 2018. Thank you for being there.

What I learned / 2017