1. Embrace the uncertainty of the future
It’s far too easy for me to become bogged down in the uncertainty of the future. Just yesterday I was having a conversation with my friend Sarah about this. She admitted to feeling anxious about not knowing what her life would look like in ten years, while I said I would be anxious if I did know exactly what my life would look like in ten years.
Those feelings of apprehension swing both ways. When we don’t know what’s going to happen, we’re consumed with anxiety that the future won’t hold what we want. But if we do know what’s ahead, we’re still concerned that we may come to feel differently about what we’ve planned.
Deepak Chopra says, “there is wisdom in uncertainty—it opens a door to the unknown and only from the unknown can life be renewed constantly.”
The idea that the unknown produces new creation, fresh possibility, and the chance to renew our relationships, dreams, and spirits is a beautiful one. If we can learn to let go of our trepidation and realize the inherent wisdom in not knowing or controlling the future, then we create space for growth and unprecedented wonder in the present.
Imagine what beauty we could manifest for ourselves if—when we glance ahead at our lives—instead of envisioning everything that could go wrong, we envision everything that could go right.
Today I’m choosing to embrace the uncertainty that will always lie ahead, to have faith that life will unfold in accordance with my highest good if I let it.
2. Choose joy
If you’ve ever been faced with a difficult decision, you’re familiar with the heaviness that descends upon you as you navigate between two choices, both of which will have permanent consequences for your life or the lives of others.
The problem always seems complicated and nuanced—because it usually is. But the solution, though not always easy, is much simpler:
Choose joy. Choose the path that offers the highest amount of joy for the greatest amount of people.
What if everyone paused to consider the volume of love his or her decisions would produce in the world, and then acted in alignment with this love? I want to find out what would happen. And the best way to do that is by starting with myself, making sure I take the road toward joy and love as often as I can and encourage others to do the same.
3. Extend compassion
The world is full of busy strangers who shove past one another on the street, stare stubbornly forward in the elevator, and scroll forever upward on a lighted screen instead of saying hello. We are immersed in ourselves.
I am guilty of this every day. I am guilty of responding to the whizzing car that cuts in front of me on the freeway with a steady stream of swear words. I’m guilty of mimicking the dismissive tone the smoothie guy took with me when I collect my receipt. I’m guilty of thinking about myself and my to-do list when my mom is talking to me and exposing her vulnerability.
But I’m trying to alter these patterns, to work on extending compassion wherever and to whomever I can. It might be a smile, a gesture of kindness, a caring question, or just the willingness to listen that makes a positive difference in someone’s day. There’s a reason I use the word ‘extend’ and not ‘offer’ or ‘give.’ It’s because this task is sometimes difficult—it’s an extension of your kindness, a reach past what is most convenient to what is most loving.
I’m going to do my best to set aside circumstances, excuses, and bad moods in order to extend compassion toward the people around me whenever I can.
What do you think of these ideas? How do you like the concept of 'Monday Mantras' as a weekly or bi-monthly post?