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“The happiness of your life
depends on the quality of your thoughts…
take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable
to virtue and reasonable nature.”

 Marcus Aurelius

There are countless similar messages as this one from Aurelius (Roman emperor back in 161.)  His teachings, beliefs, words and philosophies have lived on for … well … centuries.   He is old age ‘new age.’   In keeping with the above quote, he is credited to have stated “When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”  This ‘time of year’ seems to have folks thinking and behave in kinder, gentler ways (a possible throwback to that childlike awareness:  making that list – who’s naughty or nice.  And wanting the reward in case someone is watching? I hope not.  I hope it is simply social-permission to allow oneself to express the innate). Therefore, it’s really about how to live the other 11+ months of the year.  It’s helpful for me to remember a couple other Aurelius quotes as well:>

Very little is needed to make a happy life;  it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.

Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.

Beginning a New Year often brings with it great excitement or deep angst.(Funny how that works !)How one is feeling about the stretch of fresh canvas ahead depends oh-so-much on where they are looking at the past and oh-me-oh-my what-I-didn’t-do, or toward the future with oh-me-oh-my what-I-can-do!  You choose. The paints and palette one then chooses to use on this canvas can be bright and cheerful, soothing and peace-filled, dark and sad, jarring and angry – with brush strokes that can be bold and wide, wispy and airy, thick an heavy, jagged and slashing. It alldepends on the quality of your thoughts.’ 

Will your painting/creation be ‘reasonable‘ in nature, in alignment with your ‘virtues‘? This is only a tough question if there is no knowledge of what one’s ‘virtues’ are …. and an honest definition of ‘reasonable.’  One of the tenets in 12-step (paraphrased) is that, in practicing the teachings, one can expect to have ‘reasonable happiness.’  (I remember challenging a mentor, as I viewed the word ‘reasonable’ as limiting. They educated me in the most wonderful way by describing ‘unreasonable’ ~ grandiosity that takes into account no one else, or conversely martyrdom which keeps one limited and small.)  As one defines their reasonable taking into account the divine right of joy and pleasure and satisfaction and connection to others in an uplifting way, then ‘reasonable’ is broad and open and inviting.  Defining one’s personal virtues blossoms from this … from that deep place inside.  These two are Intertwined.

The happiness of your life‘ in 2019 is in your hands. Yes, life events will occur that may … [ha! WILL !!] … wobble or truly shake the foundation, yet …  ‘it is all within yourself,’ …  ‘in your way of thinking…’  about those life events. Address moments of grandiosity and arrogance, as well as martyrdom and stinginess, as they occur. Love ’em ~ release ’em. Move back into the Center of your virtues. Your faith.  Let’s gain clarity about what matters ~ and step into the creation of the same.  Namaste’ to you.

Feel free to share your thoughts.

Lin Church, Mssw

Coach ~ Mentor ~ Writer ~ Presenter:  JourneyWoman