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Have you ever come across Holstee’s Life Manifesto? I came across it on a magazine while killing time in a dentist’s office. I love it since then and re-read it whenever I need some inspiration or when life throws a curve ball.
Life can be so unpredictable. You could be happily going through life thinking that everything is fabulous. You have a good paying job, a spouse and kids you adore, and a nice house. Out of nowhere tragedy can strike you in the face: losing your job, dealing with health problems, losing someone you love or getting hit by natural disaster. The life that you have built for years could be gone in a moment.
Your dreams and plans for the future are shattered into a thousand pieces on the floor. After you have grieved and processed your loss, it’s time to get back up and join the fight again. Listen to some Christian fight songs to inspire and encourage you as you’re fighting the battle. They’ll help remind you that there is purpose for the trials you are experiencing.
When I had to move to the other side of the world, I lost the life that I had built for 16 years. I lost my job, most of my material possession and my community. It took me a year to get through the depression stage. It hurt deeply. At a time when my friends are getting married, having babies and thriving in their career, I had to start over from scratch in the middle of nowhere. But, I have learned to let it go and trust that there is a reason for this trial. I learn how to make lemons out of lemonade out of this situation.
Inspired by Holstee’s Life Manifesto that I came across a while ago, this is my own life manifesto as I am putting the pieces back together in my life. I hope it will inspire you if you are in this season of life too.
Life is short.
We never know when our time is up. We may get 40 more years on this earth or we may not be blessed to see tomorrow. Our tomorrow is never guaranteed. (Sorry, if this is a bit morbid. I am a Scorpio with Pluto, the God of the underworld, as one of the ruling planets. So, go figure…)
I want to live my life fully, love deeply and laugh out loud on this journey we call life.
Let go of the past.
All the hurts and disappointments I have felt and hold on to the past couple years, I want to let it all go. They have been like a broken record playing in my mind over and over. I don’t want to be held bondage by them anymore.
The Thai people have this beautiful ceremony every year of releasing lighted lantern into the sky in November. I think it will be a nice symbolic act for me to go to the festival this year and release all the negative burdens as I let go of the lantern. I decide I don’t even want to wait a couple more months to do it. Another day spend in regrets is another day wasted.
What emotional burdens are you carrying around that are weighing you down? (Read here to learn more about releasing emotional burdens.)
Harness your power of transformation
I love what I did as a pastry gal. I found a creative outlet in creating wedding cakes and sugar showpiece. However, the skills that I had developed for years do not serve me well here. It was devastating to feel like all the hard works I had done seem to be for nothing.
If this happen to you, believe that you have the innate ability to transform yourself. Like the caterpillar that goes into a cocoon before transforming into a beautiful butterfly, this is your period of transformation.
Skip the social media for a while. Focus on yourself to heal and to connect to the higher power (God, the universe, or whatever you believe in). Write down the thoughts that run in your mind on a journal. Take up meditation and/or yoga. (Read here for more self-care tips.)
Figure out what is really important in your life and how you want your life to shape up from this point on. The beauty of losing everything is that you get a blank canvas to paint your new life. What beauty do you want to paint with the ashes of your old life?
A new career to replace the soul-sucking 9-5 job you had been working? A work-at-home career so you can take care of the children while still bringing in income for the family? A simpler, healthier and balanced lifestyle to replace the fast-paced rat race you’ve been on for years?
In the course of your life, you probably have to go through this personal transformations several times. Trust in yourself. You are more than capable of going through this process. It might hurt. It might take a long period of isolation. But, you will emerge as a new, better version of yourself.
Embrace the unknown.
If you feel lost and scared of the future, learn to embrace the unknown. Trust that God has a purpose for you. Everything is happening as they are supposed to be. You might not know the final destination, but take the first step in faith and keep walking forward.
Build a vision of what you want to happen in your future. Then, focus on what you can do today to make it happen. Things may go awry (as they most certainly will happen in life), adjust your vision and act accordingly. If we do this every day, no matter what life throws at us, I am sure we will be able to create the life we desire.
Learn to bend.
Bamboo is such an amazing plant. You plan the seed and you will see nothing from the ground for about 5 years as it is busy building the intricate root system underground. Then, in a few weeks, it shoots up 90 feet tall into the sky. When strong wind hits the bamboo plant, it bends instead of resisting it.
The oak, on the other hand, has a rigid trunk. It looks mighty and all. But, when strong wind hits the oak, it can break the oak as if it’s just a tiny, puny twig.
If you have a strong foundation on your life and learn to bend in the face of adversity, you will survive anything that life throws at you.
For example, my season of singleness is lasting much longer than I would have thought or desired. But, my foundation is my belief in God. He is the source of my life. When I doubt if I ever get married, I need to remind myself that He is my true soul mate. He is the one that I need to have an intimate relationship with. My future husband is the one I will have a romantic relationship with. But, he is human with all of his shortcomings, just like I have my own shortcomings. If I never get to marry and have children of my own, then I need to be okay with that too. I still need to live my life fully.
Lead a healthy life
We only have one life. We’ve got to take care of our body, mind and soul to thrive in life.
To take care of the body: Eat healthy and exercise
Eat wholesome food. Reduce the amount of processed food consumed. Nature gives us bounty full of nutrients. Packaged, processed foods are loaded with artificial sweeteners and preservatives that cause the myriad of health problems our society currently faces.
Incorporate some form of exercise into your daily routines. Walk, run, yoga, weight training, whatever you fancy. If you happen to have a desk job that require you to be sitting and being in front of computer all day long, see if you can work while standing up. (This is what I am doing while I’m typing up this article. I even incorporate some yoga poses with my legs. Good thing I am working at home.)
Read my Epic Guide to take care of the body for more tips.
To take care of the mind: Read voraciously
Learning new things keep your mind sharp. Read anything and everything. The more you read, the more you realize how little you know. At the end of the day, all subject matters are interconnected somehow.
To take care of the soul: Connect to the higher power and to your community
What do you believe as the source of your life? God, Buddha, Allah, self, nature or the universe. No matter what you believe in, I think all these teachings come down to a simple, universal message – LOVE. At the end of the day, love is all that matters.
Practice unconditional love to yourself, your family, your friends, the people around you and the world. We are all fighting for survival somehow in this life and we are all searching for happiness. If we remember this simple truth, perhaps we will be more understanding when the cashier at the check-out line seems grumpy when she is ringing up the order or when the co-worker seem to blow up on you without any reason. Maybe he/she is concerned about the sick kids at home or the spouse’s deteriorating health. We don’t know what the person next to us is struggling with.
At the end of our life, what matters is not how much money we have made or how much material possession we have accumulated. We all leave with nothing. But, the love you have shared with the people around you will live on. I believe that’s how you leave a long-lasting legacy.
Do something creative to express yourself.
If you are lucky enough to be already working in a field you love, you are ahead of the game. If not, start thinking of what really sets your soul on fire. Do small changes at a time and work toward doing what you really want to do. We spend at least 8 hours on our job. Wouldn’t it be better if we are working on something that we really love? Figure out your creative genius. How do you want to express yourself to the world?
I like the concept that life is the expression of the highest, grandest vision you hold about yourself. So, what is your highest vision of yourself?
The world is huge. Why do we choose to stay in the same place all our life?
I want to travel. I want to explore and see amazing sights that leave me breathless and remind me how small we are in the grand scheme of things.
Dream of new places to go and build your travel bucket list. At least once a year cross one item off the list. I usually do it for my birthday shenanigans. No matter how hard the year I have experienced, I take a week off and celebrate the fact that I get to experience another birthday.
This is my version of my life manifesto.
I think this will be a good start for my life manifesto – my daily remainder on how to live my life well. I hope these will inspire you to create your own.
It’s your turn. What would you add to your own life manifesto?
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