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Be Your Best in 2021

Welcome to this glorious Friday, January 1, 2021! Today is a rare and precious day that will never come again.


Happy New Year my dear friends. I pray that we all may live with a joyous and peaceful heart - feeling safe, accepted, cared for, and loved. I shall do my best to spread love and light, one interaction at a time.


It’s pretty clear to me that 2020 demonstrated quite convincingly the principle of uncertainty. We can make all the plans we want, be prepared as a scout, only to have our objectives pulled like a rug from under our feet. We saw that simple tasks like going to the store or bank are not assured. We discovered that travel restrictions could prevent us from taking that vacation of a lifetime or even visiting our family and friends. Many of us found that our jobs are not nearly as secure as we believed. In essence, 2020 turned our sweet little predictable world upside-down. It’s obvious meow that so much of what’s important to us can be taken away – and we may not even see it coming. in this unpredictable world, I can think of only one thing that can’t be taken away, and that is how we show up as a person.


We have it within ourselves to show up to challenges in ways that won’t increase the suffering from an already difficult situation. Something that prevents this from happening are our well-practiced habits. We tend to react to challenges instead of skillfully responding. The good news is, through Mindfulness, we can train ourselves to be attentive for these reactive tendencies, pause, and think about how best to respond. Essentially, what kind of person do you want to be when life gets hard?


In a society where the emphasis is placed of doing and accomplishing things, we sometimes lose sight of the type of person we want to be. There is nothing inherently wrong with achieving, getting a good job, making lots of money, or being a celebrity. We can be a famous actress, a corporate executive, we can get a PhD or buy a retail store, we can work as a librarian, we can do all this, and we can still be unkind, uncaring, or even cruel. Especially if things aren’t going our way. I know lots of people who, when they were young, wanted to do this and that, but I can’t recall even one who dreamed about acting like a jerk when they grew up, particularly during trying times.


If we put as much energy and effort into becoming the kind of person we want to be as we put into our goals and aspirations for what we want to do, we would be living in an entirely different kind of uncertain world.


Like the training we put into our jobs, working towards the kind of person we want to be takes time and effort. One of the first things we need to do is define what kind of person we want to be. This seems obvious. Nevertheless, how often do you think about this? My experience tells me that we don’t generally think about the qualities we want to develop with ourselves when things are going well, and we aren’t experiencing challenges. It’s easy to be nice when things are going our way. When things get challenging, we don’t tend to think about the kind of person we want to be because we habitually feel justified in our discontent. It’s important to continuously call to mind the qualities we want to share with others.


One of the best ways to cultivate these qualities within yourself is to set an intention each morning and then check in throughout the day to assess your progress. For example, “I want to be more compassionate today.” When I first started doing this practice, I typically forgot my intention by noon. Over time and with practice, this exercise has helped me to respond to situations more compassionately. I’m learning by practice with purposeful awareness to make compassion a habit.


Setting an intention and checking in is like using the GPS in your car. When you get ready to leave, you plug in your destination and your GPS guides you. When you get off track, your GPS alerts you and suggests a correction. The more attention we give to our intentions – the qualities we want to embody – the more our mind alerts us when we head in the wrong direction. In this way, we literally rewire our brains so that we are more consistently the person that we want to be.


When we practice showing up in ways that we feel good about, imbued with the qualities we want to define us, we are more equipped to respond to life’s inevitable uncertainty, challenges, and difficulties with confidence, integrity, and grace. Once the qualities of the type of person we want to be are solid within us, they can’t be taken away. This takes time, practice, and patience. You can do this!


You are loved by me, Unconditionally.


With Kindest Regards,

Dan



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Dan Piquette

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