“Once, while Mahatma Gandhi’s train was pulling slowly out of the station, a European reporter ran up to his compartment window. ‘Do you have a message I can take back to my people?’ he asked. It was Gandhi’s day of silence, a vital respite from his demanding speaking schedule, so he didn’t reply. Instead, he scrawled a few words on a scrap of paper and passed it to the reporter: ‘My life is my message.’”
This quote from Eknath Easwaran’s book ‘Your Life Is Your Message’ says so much.
Often we talk about how we want to be in life, we promise things to people and do not follow through, we run late to appointments with an apology but not always really meaning it, and cross our integrity because of an instant gratification.
It is so easy to have good intentions, but when the pressure is on we often will give up on what is truly authentic for ourselves.
Excuses can come easy. Living with intentionality, with integrity and authenticity is not an easy task for the majority of us even though we have good intentions to do so. I teach a seminar called Life Through Intention and still find myself crossing my own boundaries at times.
None are of us are perfect, yet we can all strive for a better self. How do we do that? By living consciously, and paying attention to our choices on a moment to moment basis. When making a decision I reflect through some simple statements I have.
‘Live simply, love generously, care deeply and speak kindly.’
It’s my choice to stay focused on these words or allow myself to be distracted. I read these words daily to remind myself of how I want to choose to live.
Once we repeat these words daily for a month, the brain easily seeks this way of living with less effort. The brain is going to focus on what is affirmed the most. However it naturally tends to lean towards the negative due to the biological need of self-preservation. Therefore we need to re-wire it to focus more on the positive. When the brain is rewired, it naturally will look at reinforcing that belief. It takes an effort but one that can change how you see your world.
I walk every day on the beach, and take time to appreciate how fortunate that we get to live in this amazing area. I love looking out for whales and dolphins and watching the magnificent pelicans swoop over the waves and diving into the ocean.
I was stating to a friend how I had not seen as many birds, whales or dolphins this year, but quickly realized that I had changed my focus this past year unconsciously and therefore it had changed my experience.
We often do not realize these shifts we make. The importance of paying attention to how we live our life is essential.
So the question is, how are you living your life? Is it authentic, is it genuine, is it meaningful?
I really like the analogy of living life like we drive. Around 80 percent of your energy needs to be in the now, or what is happening in this moment right in front of you; 10 percent needs to be planning for the future, looking ahead; and 10 percent is learning from the past, not being stuck in what is behind you.
Just like driving, if you spend too much time looking behind you or ahead of you, you are likely to crash.
So I embrace the moments in my life with intention, I open my heart to possibility, with flexibility and reverence and embrace, the good, the sad, and surrender into each moment with who I truly am.
I am not perfect, but I am on a continued path of living what I teach, that my words match my actions for the good of not just myself, but also with others.
Contact Dr. Zavala at [email protected] or DrZavala.com.