So since the middle of January, my Bigger, Smaller Life project has taken on so much more meaning. It isn’t a simple task, but I am realizing it is worth the effort.
One thing that just popped up out of nowhere this year for me was Lent. It just happened in the midst of all the craziness and I didn’t even have the time to sit back and think about what Lent would mean for me this year... Until now. I am not going the traditional Lenten resolution route - for one reason, I am a bit late for that (we are almost 2 weeks in). Instead, I am going to put some effort into Kelli’s CAOK 2008. So many people have been there for me lately that I think a bit of CAOK is called for...
And then today, while reading posts from the Happiness Project blog, I came across a list of ten tips for living a better life, one day at a time... from Pope John XXIII who was Pope from 1958-63. When I started reading them, I really expected to read a set of more traditional, ritualistic tips. And I was surprised to read ten tips so grounded in goodness and simplicity. So, I thought I would share them with you:
1) Only for today, I will seek to live the livelong day positively without wishing to solve the problems of my life all at once.
2) Only for today, I will take the greatest care of my appearance: I will dress modestly; I will not raise my voice; I will be courteous in my behaviour; I will not criticize anyone; I will not claim to improve or to discipline anyone except myself.
3) Only for today, I will be happy in the certainty that I was created to be happy, not only in the other world but also in this one.
4) Only for today, I will adapt to circumstances, without requiring all circumstances to be adapted to my own wishes.
5) Only for today, I will devote 10 minutes of my time to some good reading, remembering that just as food is necessary to the life of the body, so good reading is necessary to the life of the soul.
6) Only for today, I will do one good deed and not tell anyone about it.
7) Only for today, I will do at least one thing I do not like doing; and if my feelings are hurt, I will make sure that no one notices.
8) Only for today, I will make a plan for myself: I may not follow it to the letter, but I will make it. And I will be on guard against two evils: hastiness and indecision.
9) Only for today, I will firmly believe, despite appearances, that the good Providence of God cares for me as no one else who exists in this world.
10) Only for today, I will have no fears. In particular, I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful and to believe in goodness. Indeed, for 12 hours I can certainly do what might cause me consternation were I to believe I had to do it all my life.
To conclude: here is an all-embracing resolution: "I want to be kind, today and always, to everyone".
In my opinion, these ten tips transcend any specific religion... They are just ten great tips for anyone that is spiritual, even if just a little. I know there are ways I can work these tips into my life. Maybe not all at once. I am going to just take it one step at a time.