In meditation class once, I remarked that I was perceived as too intense at work. People had told me that I made them nervous by running too fast, asking too many questions and being too demanding.
“I guess I should drink a little less coffee,” I joked.
“Yes,” my instructor replied, “and there are other things you can do to tone that down.”
Funny, but before he said that, I’d always thought it was just a personality thing and that was that. After that insight, I realized that when people perceive me as too intense, I can take that as constructive criticism and act to moderate that.
To live lightly is to be able to turn down our own intensity level so we can enjoy life and each other. “Live lightly” is a motto we can benefit from in all areas of our life. We can live lightly by:
- Staying positive and trusting in a relationship, even if there is no communication for extended periods
- Letting go of possessions that no longer serve you
- Giving up beliefs that don’t feel true anymore
- Being content whether you have a lot of money or a little
- Letting go of a “this has to happen for me to be happy” belief
- Judging less
- Trying something new
- Being able to laugh at yourself when you fail or fall
- Giving up the need to know
- Resisting the urge to ask every question that pops in your head
- Resisting the urge to complain or boast
- Worrying less about others
- Being more patient and content waiting for others or for circumstances to change
- Playing with kids on the floor or in the playground
- Being able to enjoy a picnic in the park as much as a fancy dinner out
- Walking instead of driving
- Using less electricity, gas or water
- Painting without a prior plan of what you’ll paint
- Singing and dancing
- Asking for help
- Being amazed instead of outraged
- Savoring a walk in the neighborhood or a hike in the woods
- Not worrying about what other people will think of you
- Seeing the funny side of any situation
- Losing weight
- Eating simple, delicious foods like a slice of watermelon
- Wearing a completely different style of clothing
- Improving your balance and flexibility
- Doing a fitness activity that is fun (not merely functional): Capoeira, NIA, or skateboarding
- Laughing more
By keeping it light, we don’t get distracted by the details of the current situation. Instead, we can stay deeply in love with other, with ourselves, and with life!
- Peruse the list above. Check off which you have done in the past month. How did you feel doing these activities? Does living lightly allow you a freedom to experience life more deeply?
- Select three more living lightly activitie to try in the coming month.
- If “Live Lightly” rings true for you, make a notecard or write it on a sticky note for your wallet, purse or mirror.
To live lightly is to stay deeply in love with each other, with ourselves and with life!