I don’t know shit about the afterlife, or the beforelife for that matter, but I think about it often. Several traditions and religions believe that we get to somehow pick our parents before we come onto the earth. I don’t know if that is true. Maybe I just won the lottery.
I seriously have the most amazing mom. She has been a constant support, has always given an outpouring of love. She has taught us lessons, never by yelling, but by communication and compassion.
I remember a time in my darkest period where I had stolen quite a bit of money and possessions from my parents and had wreaked all kinds of havoc in their, and my own life. I returned to their house after a short period of sobriety and was crying to my mom about how I was the worst person and was unforgivable, blah blah blah. She held me in her arms, stroked my hair, and said, “It’s all just ‘stuff’ Kyr. Stuff doesn’t matter.” She emphasized to me that what matters is love and our safety. Because of moments like this, and the lessons she has taught me throughout my life, I have been able to grow into a woman who values people, service, and love over material wealth and “getting ahead”.
Here are a few little nuggets of wisdom my mother has taught me.
1. Say “thank you” for everything. Over thank. The world can use more gratitude so find it everywhere.
2. Look for the good in people. Everyone has bad shit about them that is easy to focus on. Actively choose not to focus on it. Instead spend exorbitant amounts of time looking for the positive.
3. Pause. Take a moment before reacting, especially in conflict.
4. When feeling attacked, try to hear the other person’s words rather than identifying with the feelings they bring up. This one is a toughy.
5. Listen. Really really listen. When someone else is talking and thoughts about what they are saying overpower the words they are using, pause and let your mind get quiet. Tune completely into what the other person is saying. Listening is one of the biggest gifts you can give another person.
6. You’re never too old or stuck to completely change your life.
7. Art is in everything if you open your eyes.
8. So is God.
9. It’s ok to follow your passion, even if everyone else thinks it is ridiculous. Your heart and soul can be your guide, not the voices of your doubt.
10. Being kind to all the people you encounter will make you happier, and will almost surely change someone else’s life. Kindness is contagious, and is needed in this world. Individually, you have the power to make a difference in the lives of everyone around you. Be kind.