10 small things you could do today that just might change your life (or at least your state of mind)
1. Forgive someone. Create a little ritual around it (the symbolic life is very important to the subconscious mind, which thinks in images and metaphors). Write a letter to this person, pouring out your soul to them. Then burn it. Chant, “I forgive you,” 5 times. And go have a beer to celebrate.
2. Go for a walk in a cemetery. Sounds morbid, maybe, but thinking about death can connect us more deeply to life. Imagine your funeral: what would people say? What would you want them to say? Then go home and write down a list of things you want to have, be and do before you die.
3. When you disagree with someone, develop a habit of detaching and looking for the truth in the other person’s statements. Just assume that it’s there. (You might have to look hard. Really really hard.) Reflect that truth back to the other person and let the conversation go from there.
4. Write down 5 things you liked to do as a kid, for fun, when you didn’t have to do anything. Then go do at least one of those things. (If you feel a need to justify the time, think about this: Play relaxes the mind. A relaxed mind comes up with better, more inspired ideas. Jung dreamed up much of the best of his work when he was building sandcastles and little villages on the beach.)
5. Whatever big issue you are struggling with right now, make a vow to yourself that you’re going to learn from it, grow from it and find some way to resolve it – so you can help other people who are also going through it. Then go take one action, no matter how small, that moves you one (baby) step closer to improvement or resolution.
6. Throughout the day, look carefully at your environment and find ten details – a sign, a flower, a shadow falling across a cobblestone road, a vintage car parked outside your office building – that you find interesting or beautiful or amusing. Use your camera phone to document. Challenge someone else to the same exercise. Compare the details you notice and the details they notice — do they tell you anything new about this other person? Or yourself?
7. Assemble a list of famous (or infamous) quotes off the Web that provoke or inspire you or make you laugh (or some combination thereof). Post it on your social networks.
8. Give somebody a gift for no reason other than that you think they are (fill in the blank) and make the world better for being in it. Expect nothing in return.
9. You wear about twenty percent of your clothes. Go through your closet and get rid of some or most or all of the remaining eighty percent. Tell yourself you value clarity, space and calm over clutter and hoarding. Then think about other areas of your life, and find something in each area that you can subtract or eliminate. Go do that. Then see what those fresh empty spaces start to invite into your life.
10. Do this exercise with a friend, possibly over a bottle of wine. Tell your friend the story of your past. Then have your friend retell that story as if your life was a novel chosen for Oprah’s Book Club and you’re the plucky protagonist, overcoming adversity and acquiring wisdom along the way. Discuss the best possible ways for this story to end – how will the heroine triumph? What does she need to learn or do in order to triumph? How can you set her up for an amazing sequel? Then reverse positions.
11. Rock out in your car. It’s good for you.