1). Stay open when you want to hide, shut down or retreat. This sounds easier said than done, but staying open and leading from the heart is going to be the major calling of our lives. It’s so easy to let our resentments and judgments (primarily formed from the past) seep into and distort our present moment. At the very least, try to be neutral about things. Remember life isn’t happening to you. It’s just happening. But if you can just stay open, you’ll find that the things that do happen are much better than you imagined.
2). Embarrass yourself. By making an attempt to connect to others, you run the risk of embarrassing yourself – but that simultaneously generates its own reward. It simply means you’re engaging with the world in ways beyond your comfort zone. Being alive is fraught with embarrassment. The only way you’re going to avoid it is by avoiding putting yourself out there. There’s a wonderful contemporary visual artist named Margaux Ogden who has a painting entitled Being Human Is Embarrassing. Indeed. It means to live fully is to be at risk.
3). Take the leap and then the net will appear. I don’t know why the universe is constructed this way – but it is. Anything you want in life requires you to take the leap. It doesn’t ask us to wait first for a safety net to appear before we take the leap. It just asks us to trust and jump and then a net appears. So practice doing it. That is the Physics of Risk-Taking. And remember, just because you jump and the net appears – it still doesn’t mean things are going to work out the way you thought they would. That’s not the point. The point is to leap. Ultimately, things do work out but you have to be willing to stay open (see #1) to let things reveal themselves in ways that are as equally as beneficial than just our limited ways of seeing them.
4). Get mad. It’s preferable than being passive-aggressive. Or shutdown. Or a constant whiner or complainer. And that’s the only way you can break the surface to other feeling – namely gratitude, surrender, acceptance and love. All feeling is connected to all other feeling. So stop judging yourself for having feelings that you don’t seem to think other people have. If people are honest, moments make us angry. That’s okay. Go into it fully and look at why you get triggered. Because you have expectations? Because you’re trying to control things? Ultimately, by feeling authentic feeling, you will learn what it is the moment is trying to show you and you’ll stop shaming yourself for not having it all together. No one does.
5). Express your love in unexpected ways. It’s easy for us to love when it’s easy. It’s not hard to love our parents, for example. (Unless it is!) It’s easy to love our new girlfriend the first 5 months of meeting someone. The kind of love I’m talking about is the expression of self in unplanned, spontaneous, honest ways. Surprise yourself. You might reveal a part of yourself to a friend you’ve never dared to share. You might simply text someone you’ve intended to reach out to for months and just say, “I was thinking of you.” Love isn’t just the big sweeping gestures we’ve learned from watching movies. They’re little things. Saying “Hi” to a stranger. Looking someone in the eye. Paying the $1.00 parking fee for the car behind you in the parking garage at the exit gate. Being nice to a bank teller, rather than yelling at her because you had to wait for 10 minutes.
These are all simple acts. But done mindfully they can change your life in big ways.