The world is crazy. It has probably always been this way and I have been living in Matrix-like world where “reality” really didn’t seep in. The problem with actively working to understand the world and its problems is that inevitably it will start to drag you down. How can learning about the White Helmets in Turkey and Syria not make you weep? How many videos can you watch where People of Color that are unarmed and not a threat get shot without it burdening your heart? When I read about 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen being raped and murdered in a “road rage” attack after leaving her mosque is it a wonder that I start to become despondent?
One of the ways that I try to refocus on things under my locus of control is by referring to the Holstee Manifesto. I will start off by saying that some parts of this are overly simplistic; however, most of it really helps me refocus on what I can control.
It starts off with the great advice to find out what you love and do it often. Again such a simplistic statement but it forces me to reflect on what I love to do. I love reading, learning, and spending time with my family. Reading ends up getting pushed to the side often due to my millions of other things on my plate. I have been doing a decent job of reading this summer.
My favorite part of the manifesto is the statement, “If you don’t have enough time stop watching TV.” How many times have we said we don’t have time yet have watched every episode of Game of Thrones, Black Mirror, Queen Sugar, or House of Cards? We make time for what’s important.
Another part of the manifesto that I love is when you eat appreciate every last bite. This is right on par with mindful eating.
Mindful eating is based on mindfulness, a Buddhist concept. Mindfulness is a form of meditation that helps you recognize and cope with your emotions and physical sensations. It has helped treat many conditions, including eating disorders, depression, anxiety and various food-related behaviors. Mindful eating is about using mindfulness to reach a state of full attention to your experiences, cravings and physical cues when eating. (link)
We often find ourselves eating while watching tv, a movie, searching the web, or doing various other attention grabbing activities. Not only do we not appreciate our food we end up taking in more calories because our brain doesn’t fully comprehend how many calories we are taking in. We live in the golden age of food. When else can you get almost any food you want with little to no effort? I realize that certain areas are food deserts but overall we have access to food that would make our ancestor’s eyes pop out of their head. It is imperative that we appreciate our food. One way to accomplish this is to close your eyes and really try to taste and identify the textures of the food in your mouth.
The last part that really helps me refocus is the reminder that life is short. As corny as it sounds I learned this message early on in life by reading the Chicken Soup series. I sometimes find myself wishing time would pass so I can go do something more enjoyable. The problem of this is that this wastes time that I will never get back. In order to combat this, I force myself to smile every time I look at the clock. This reminds me that I need to enjoy the moment. It doesn’t matter if it’s me waiting in line at the grocery store or sitting in a meeting that is boring me to death. I do not want to let my life pass me by.
The other part of realizing how short life is that it forces me to stay active. I have to keep learning, attending conferences, getting off the couch and being active with my children, watching webinars or doing anything else to further my goal of actually living. It is not enough to be a watcher of life. I need to participate and the time to be an active participant in my life is shorter than I would like to think about.
Read the manifesto and comment on what part of it resonates with you.