Rules for living

Near the end of this morning’s yoga class, my glance fell on the Tibetan singing bowl at the front of the room.

For a long moment I thought it was a bowl of food with a wooden spoon in it, and somehow that sent me into a rapid-fire epiphanic train of thought that addressed my recent woes of feeling blah, overwhelmed, and time-stressed. I have to leave for work now so I can’t go into this all, but here’s what I came up with.

Rules for simple living
1. Constantly seek to remove what is not essential from: your living space, your mental to-do list, your unreasonable expectations for yourself.
2. Do one thing at a time. But commit to it 100%.
3. Accept your lack of control, and allow things to be as they are. Surrender any expectations of how things will happen, when they will happen, and how long they will take. Just be present to receive life as it comes.
4. Care for yourself, your loved ones, and your possessions.
5. Refer to these rules whenever you feel your peace slipping! (Which it will: see below.)

And here’s the corollary list:
Why the rules are necessary
1. Nothing ever goes exactly as planned.
2. Other people never do things the way you would do them.
3. Everything takes longer, or takes more energy, than you think it will.
4. There is never enough time in the day.
5. You are always tired; it is always “a bad time” to do the things you don’t like to do.
6. You will always have more than enough stuff.
7. You cannot be perfect. No one else can, either.
8. You can never be fully in control.
9. You cannot do it all. It is impossible.
10. Life is complicated, and if it seems simple in this moment, that’s only temporary.

[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at]