It has not been an easy beginning to the new year. Global, local, and personal events appear to be unsettling, unravelling the predictability -often monotony- of life. The noise is sometimes deafening, often shocking. I find myself retreating within, finding solace in the soothing familiarity of my breath as it gently -and consistently- quiets the anxious wanderings of my mind. It is in that comforting introspection that gifts of inspiration flow. They are always magical. Every so often, they appear so vividly that they knock me off my feet. The latest has kept me floating. For it has come to my attention that what I know for sure is that I don’t know very much. And that has been one of the most liberating realizations lightening my existence.
My friend told me the other day that most people did not have the time, stamina, nor desire to make the choices that have inspired me to follow the path of compassionate living. This came right about the time my other friend told me I was one of only a few she knew who bought books and actually read them. As this nestled its seeds into my thoughts, the Twitter world was lit by “stable genius” declarations.
Until then, I had not considered my advocating for a compassionate living lifestyle carried within it an implied strict dogma or set of rules.
There is no correct dogma or perfect ideology. There is only what your experience has shown you to be right for you —and even then, that experience is probably somewhat wrong too. And because you and I and everybody else all have differing needs and personal histories and life circumstances, we will all inevitably come to differing “correct” answers about what our lives mean and how they should be lived. – from “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*uck”
Five hundred years ago, astronomers believed the sun revolved around the earth. Today, we know that this is not the case. Everyday, we move from wrong to “less wrong” as Mark Manson explains in his book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*uck. If we are lucky, we get to observe others and learn from their “wrong lessening” choices.
The choices I have made have led me to this moment at my keyboard. They have also gently guided me onto my yoga mat. Some have taken me on wild detours. Today, I am slightly less wrong than I was yesterday. But I still don’t know much.
Except for what I know. My overarching principle is to live compassionately. That is my dogma. The set of rules I choose to give a f*&k about helps me tread this terrain. Most -if not all of us- wish to live well, in good health, exuding and surrounding ourselves with love and kindness. It’s very simple. This by no means implies ill health and suffering may not be in the cards for us, perhaps a detour of the most intense trial. Interestingly, it is on these very detours that we see people most committed to their rules. It is the scenic fast-tracks that test our resolve.
The steps we take to put us on the path to wellness depend on personal experience, character, and circumstances. Does this mean foregoing physical activity, devouring an entire cow with a pint of milk is “correct” for you? Five hundred years ago when the sun revolved around the earth, possibly. Today, there is unequivocal scientific evidence that tells us otherwise.
It takes a lot of energy and work to convince yourself that your s*&t doesn’t stink, especially when you’ve actually been living in a toilet. – from “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*uck”
Inspired by our mutual “stable genius” friend, and thankfully not restricted by the 140-280 characters, allow me to make my own little declaration: I do not know very much. And that is why I read the books I buy. And while I do hold on to a set of beliefs and rules, I choose to do so because they make me feel good. In fact, it is when I stray that I feel less good about myself. But my beliefs do not confine me in any way. I try to be open to differing view points and tomorrow’s possibilities. Often times, therein lies the challenge, not on the fast-track in a room that agrees with you. It is in that dangerous space where visions of genius and stability begin to take form.
It’s far more helpful to assume that you’re ignorant and don’t know a whole lot. This keeps you unattached to superstitious or poorly informed beliefs and promotes a constant state of learning and growth.- from “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*uck”
It’s much more accurate, and beneficial, to acknowledge I am “ignorant” – possibly a stable ignorant. My dogma is simple: nourishing choices, physically, mentally, and emotionally. That is all I know today. Perhaps this is what the beginning of the year is helping me see. How is that for #stablegenius?