By: Alex Halenda
You get through your days, good things happen, bad things happen. Sometimes stuff in the middle happens that you can't quite explain. There are times when these events touch us deeply, and other times when we let them fly by over our heads. What makes some events special and others not so much is another conversation with many answers.
So today, let's focus on the aspect of virtue, and the role it plays in everyday life.
Beyond that, let's even look at the way the events in our lives, combined with virtue, create meaning!
Before we go too deep, I'll share with you one of my favorite jump-starts for creative thinking. Definitions. So here's our spring board: Webster's defines Virtue as a "behavior showing high moral standards." Now, in our day and age, with so much technology, new social platforms, new language, new ideology - it's only natural that we develop and refine new virtues! Only when it comes to new concepts of virtue, with so many different people and their varying life experiences, virtues will develop in unique ways too.
So, here are a few totally relevant to 2017 living virtues for doin' life right:
1. Authenticity/Humanness Recognition in Social Media
Have you ever caught yourself scrolling through the feed, seeing smiles, incredible landscapes, designer clothes, and gourmet dinners, and celebration after celebration? Only to find yourself feeling envious and inadequate? First, know that you're not alone! Social media is typically representative of only pieces of a person they feel like sharing, and for most we only show the happy stuff. Or the stuff we think will get "likes." Thinking more mindfully about this growing issue and the affect it has on our psyche, we can choose to do something about it. One way I've been playing with is Authenticity in my posts. If the day is no good, and I still want to post, I'll make a post about what challenging me. Sometimes in the process I start to see things with more optimism, through the separation that comes with thinking about my day how others will see it, I get a little relief! The other part of this Authenticity in social media virtue, is my own meter for the authentic representation I see in others. This doesn't mean to run around judging other people's feeds and their realness! It means seeing that person for more than the event they share! Making a little effort to appreciate their happiness, because after all, they are a human being! Just like me! Who craves happiness and novelty and growth, and also experiences challenges, sorrow, and confusion.
2. Old-School Honesty, in Slow Mindful Motion
It's scary sometimes! You never know how others will react to what you have to say! But the there is a finesse that one must develop to their honesty, and that only comes with practice, and confidence in your truth. To have confidence in your truth, you have to take your time to be with it, question it, and really understand why it is true to you. This requires you to take some for internal dialogue. When I take this time to think, I find that most often, the things I want to hide are the things that I feel ashamed about - even when I know there is no real need to be ashamed! Honesty, while nerve-wracking at first, offers many rewards. When you are honest, you gain true friends who respect you for who you really are, and people who can roll with your changes. You save time, you end up avoiding less compatible situations and relationships, and you build confidence in who you are and what you believe. So take your time with your truths, get to know them intricately, so you can express them to others in a safe, confident, and graceful way. This is how we respect each other and ourselves in the process.
Face it. The cold hard truth. Follow through is hard to come by. With work, relationships, creative endeavors, your own goals. Why is this the case? Don't we want to do the things we say? While we do, the problem just might lie in the way we look at it. I recently listened to some wisdom by the well-known Tony Robbins, he said something that really stuck with me about our goals in life. Most often, he explained, we see our goals as something out of reach. The revolutionary switch comes from turning our goals, into standards. This is a method we can apply to anything we set out to do! To follow through, with friends, work, and dreams - start looking at those things as non-negotiable standards. This little shift in consciousness will give you the energy necessary to make it happen, instead of giving into your doubts and laziness. But here's a pro-tip: always remember that your standards, are yours, and yours alone. Other people are still figuring their standards out, if they are even aware of them. Respect that and yourself, and you'll stay on track. The more you do, I promise, the more opportunity will come your way. You'll deserve it, and you'll prove that through your actions, from minor to major.
4. Valuing Diversity
We live in a world of beautiful people - every color, sexual preference, gender, shape, size, age, background, language, ability, spiritual belief, skill-level, and more! It's stunning, ain't it?! Now more than ever, we have the opportunity to blur the lines of separation, in social media, school, and community settings of all kinds. If you ask me, the more we blur it the better. But this can be tricky unless we consciously choose to drop assumptions, embrace curiosity, and value diversity. Of course, like anything else, playing with these edges IRL takes practice, and will be different with each person and situation you involve yourself in. My invitation is to dive right in! Is there a coworker you haven't taken the time to get to know? A person at the coffee shop you could exchange a few words with, or maybe more than a few. Sometimes that half English, half Spanish conversation teaches you more than you expected. If you give it a try. Look for your lines, and blur the sh*t out of them, the world will be a better place for it!
5. Ecological Consciousness
It's a way of being that respects the natural world as more than a bank of resources to be spent. It means being sensitive to our impact on plants, animals, and the environments they inhabit. It means recognizing our place in the natural world, it's an intelligence that guides our choices and actions from an interconnected place with nature. As Christopher Url describes it in his book Developing Ecological Consciousness, Ecological Consciousness is a way of living in harmony with the world, not by fixing it, but by fixing ourselves and our perception of separateness. It means recognizing that Earth is a part of our body, in fact it is our "larger body", therefore it requires our collective effort to maintain its health and vitality. So where do we begin? Try recycling, picking up garbage off the sidewalk, consider bigger solutions to the human waste epidemic, support local organic foods, start your own garden, commit to only reusable goods, invest in solar power, and read up on ecological issues like global warming! Read a lot! There is so much information out there if you are looking to develop better life practices and transition to ecological harmony. You can do it, and the more of us who do, the easier it will be for the next person to dive right into this sweet sexy pool of ecological consciousness. You know it's sexy to be aware and respectful of all life!
There ya go, five bangin' virtues to be an excellent human in 2017. Which ones stood out to you (I know you wanna say "all of them!") the most? Which ones made you feel a little uncomfortable? Which ones made you think of other people you wished were living that virtue?
Whatever came up for you, most likely the hidden truth it that you need that virtue in your own life. Now is the time, embrace the opportunity to go deeper! This blog is your spring-board, to get into virtuous life and the meaning that comes along with living it. If you need a hand figuring out where to start, reach out to me directly! Real good living, and leading others to their own embodiment of that, is my passion, and my most exciting wish for YOU.
Lots of love Buddha-Fam! Get to livin' these virtues, and let the good times roll!