What’s on your mind?

“Today I escaped anxiety. Or no, I discarded it, because it was within me, in my own perceptions, not outside.”

Marcus Aurelius

How many of your choices today were controlled by anxiety? Would you make those same decisions again, knowing what you now know about the day?

“And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” Matthew‬ ‭6:27‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Are you choosing to live your purpose?

“At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: I have to go to work – as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for – for the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?”

Marcus Aurelius

What is the purpose of your life? It’s a serious question and one that I have found many people never even attempt to answer. It is far easier to get lost in the distractions of a transactional world or focus on what you do instead of why you do it. Of course, it isn’t an easy question to answer and will evolve as you move through life, and your understanding of what is important comes into focus.  

The bottom line is that every second of life is precious. I might argue that every second of a life lived in a manner that is A) misaligned from your purpose or B) unaware of your purpose is suboptimal at best.  Why would we choose a suboptimal life?

What are the metaphorical blankets of comfort that you are lying under in your life? Are you casting off the covers and getting to your purpose-driven work, or are you content being comfortable?  

Do the obstacles in your path stop you or inspire action?

“The cucumber is bitter? Then throw it out.

There are brambles in the path? Then go around.

That’s all you need to know.”

Marcus Aurelius

Action is always required. Period. Full stop.  

When something isn’t right, then the right thing to do is to take action. Perhaps the right next move is to step back and understand the situation, determine a suitable course of action, and then act. But the solution always involves taking action.  

There are 364 days left in 2021, what action are you taking today to make sure your path forward is clear of brambles?

These are the most important minutes of your day…

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”

Marcus Aurelius

If you aren’t careful, the worries of the world, those temporary things which cloud the mind and distract from what is truly important, can occupy all of the space in your mind. As a rule, we humans tend to weigh ourselves down with things that, in the end, won’t matter and ignore the things that do matter.  

The key to keeping the important things in focus is to intentionally carve out the time to reflect on exactly the sentiment expressed in this wisdom from Marcus Aurelius. I believe it means as much, if not more, in today’s age as it did when he wrote it almost 2000 years ago.  

Take 5 minutes when waking up EVERY DAY to pause and reflect on the gifts and blessings that you DO HAVE in life. Perhaps start a gratitude journal to jot down these things. Do whatever you need to add a process of active gratitude into your life. I guarantee you will find your outlook for the day, month, year, changing. More importantly, you will find your outlook on life itself changing. You might find that these five minutes are the most crucial moments of your entire day.

Marcus Aurelius

So… Is this useful?

“Choose not to be harmed – and you won’t feel harmed.  Don’t feel harmed – and you haven’t been.”

Marcus Aurelius

This is such powerful wisdom. How much of our lives do we spend nursing some perceived wrong or holding a grudge about some injustice we suffered? If instead we were able to distance ourselves and choose not to be feel harmed how much better would our lives be?

What kept running through my mind when I read this quote is one of my favorite meditation phrases, “Is this useful?” I have found these three simple words have incredible power and can diffuse almost any situation when my mind is running away and creating all kinds of stories which may, or may not, be true.

When you are in a stressful circumstance try asking yourself this simple question before reacting or responding. You just might find that you have the power to choose more than just your response, your choice can redefine the entire situation…

photography of a woman meditating
Photo by Noelle Otto on Pexels.com

Mind over matter…

“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”

Marcus Aurelius

It is amazing how much power we have over our minds, when we choose to exercise control of our thoughts. If we don’t, then we are giving control over to something, or someone else. That would mean that we are choosing to let someone else be in charge of our lives…

Thrive vs. survive…

“You have power over your mind not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” 

Marcus Aurelius

Where does your mind go when something happens that is outside of your control? Do you feel attacked? Are you likely to frame your response in a negative or positive manner? All of this is within your control.

It brings to mind Viktor Frankl’s quote, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”I wrote about this one last July here.

Recognizing that you have the power to control your mind, and how your mind then directs your response to any situation is incredibly powerful. It is, I believe, what separates and distinguishes those who thrive and those who simply survive in this world. What habits of your mind do you know that you need to take control of?

Sign up here to receive the daily quote that inspires my blog posts. Thanks!

dusty

%d bloggers like this: