Sunday, 16 October 2011

Love Mantras

This is the original list of commandments (now known as mantras, fyi). Remember, from the barf bag. No? It's ok, you can check them out here. Read on to see how the list transforms into something even better.

Upon seeing my commandments displayed boldly in the center of the page I realize that a few of them are quite similar in their intent. Also, (after typing the word "commandment" so many times) I decided that I did not want to use it as the name for my list. I thought about it. "Mantra" floated across my brain (as they do). It stuck. Mantras it is. But whatever their name, they still need some work.
Let's disect, shall we?
#1: Appreciate each day.
I would appreciate each day by enjoying life’s simple pleasure. Therefore, "appreciate each day" is my mantra but "enjoying life’s simple pleasures" is simply one of my means of fulfilling my mantra.
One down.

#2: Work with what you've got.
I am struggling to determine whether "work with what you’ve got" and "fake it until you make it" are too much alike. Mantra #2 is more of a style (or rather body) mantra I’ve come up with meaning you have to (embrace what is) and accept yourself and your body for what they are now. By embracing what is and working with what I’ve got, I end up looking better which therefore makes me feel better. And who doesn’t want that?
Mantra #6 refers more to state of mind and self-confidence. I have come a long way since high school and even the first few years of university in the confidence department. I owe a lot of that to the girls. They are each so strong, confident and independent and they have always seemed that way to me. I know (of course) that they, themselves, have not always felt this way. But, to me, they have always been and will always be souces of inspiration. They have taught me a lot about life, friendship, love and myself over the past several years. They taught me enough to know that a small part of it comes from simply growing older and having more experiences but the biggest part of it is knowing yourself and not being afraid to be yourself. I have always been pretty good at staying true to myself and I have “gotten to know myself” in many different ways over the last several years and especially the last several months. I am still on the path to full discovery because I know that I am definitely not finished getting to know myself yet. And like (I hope) everyone, I have (many) moments of self-doubt and self-consciousness, however in these moments I will let my mantra float across my mind and whisper to me, “fake it until you make it”. And I will listen. Or at the very least, try my hardest to.
I think by writing these two mantras down I have ended my struggle to decide whether they are one in the same. They are not. They are different enough in principle and will therefore stand alone as two separate, equally important, mantras.

#3: Enjoy life's simple pleasures.
Determined to be a means to fulfulling a mantra. See Mantra #1, above.

#4: Just Be.
 P.S. I made this. I want to make one for each part of this mantra. Hang it as a set.
Mantra #4 may be considered by some to be redundant (in Mantras #2 and #7). However, this was the very first mantra I came up with. Ages ago. Long before reading The Happiness Project. "Just Be" is the shortened version of my original mantra. I recite the full version of it in my mind in moments of anxiety, doubt, guilt, sadness, heartache or just anytime I need a little pick-me-up. 
Be who you are.
Be confident.
Be at ease.
Just Be.
Perhaps for sentimental reasons alone. But I am keeping this as one of my mantras. Even further, I am moving #4 to the top of the list.

#5: Don't dwell on the negatives or things you can't change.
As much as I wanted this to be a real mantra, I realized the same situation that happened to Mantras #1 and #3 has happened here. The real mantra is #7. Embrace what is. In order to "embrace what is", you have to let go of the past and stop dwelling on the negatives and things you can’t change. Especially because when you dwell on something negative it is usually something you can't change anyways. Double dwell. The worst. Someone I admire always tells me “it is what it is until it’s more or it’s less” so, until that point, embrace what is. This mantra was too long anyways. What was I thinking?
Another one bites the dust.

#6: Fake it until you make it.
Determined to be a true mantra. See Mantra #2, above.

#7: Embrace what is.
Determined to be a true mantra. See Mantra #5, above.

#8: Don't resist change.
I am happy with this as an individual mantra. It is fairly self-explanatory. It is something I have to consciously try to achieve. I love routine. I don’t usually respond well to change. Especially sudden change. However, change can be good. Change is often necessary to push you to reach further. To break out of your comfort zone. Without change, there would be no growth.
A week ago, I learned a Chinese idiom. "Your plan will never catch up with change". Think about it. Your plan will never catch up with change because it is always changing. Genius. And the words "plan" and "change" in Chinese differ by only one letter (or is it character?). Anyways, the two words sound almost the same. So it sounds even better than it already does. Genius. One of the perks of working in a boarding school (thanks Ranger). I considered making this its own mantra. But it is very similar to #8. I considered renaming #8 to "plans change". I decided that #8 really is the true mantra. Because it is something I have to work for. Strive for. I will try not to resist change knowing that plans always change.

#9: Stop thinking, start doing.

I will admit that I am a wee bit of a procrastinator. I have many ideas and would love to do all of them. But I don’t. And usually for inadequate reasons (excuses). I will also talk endlessly about my ideas and how I would put them into action. Friends will encourage me to “do it” and I will say “I will” or “I really should”  or sometimes when I’m feeling really crazy I’ll say “I am going to do it”. And yet I still don’t! I am trying to change this about myself. I read an entry in a journal of mine (you know…one of the journals I started, wrote in for a few days and never looked at again) from about 5 years ago. It said: “I need to be a “doer” – somebody who does”. This has apparently been a problem of mine for quite some time. Something that I was conscious enough about to want to change.
As I type this mantra out I realize that it and Mantra #8 are far more intertwined than I ever thought. In order to do things, I have to stop thinking about doing them and start doing them. More than that I have to open myself up to change first. If I resist change, I will never actually do things, because inevitably, doing the things I think about doing will lead to changes in the life that I lead. Clear as mud? Thought so.

#10: Live in the moment.
I decided that #10 overlaps with Mantra #7. In order to "embrace what is", you are forced to "live in the moment". Again, it is a means to fulfilling a mantra.

After all that we are left with only seven mantras. I have since thought of two additional ones. This leaves my list of Love Mantras at nine. For now.

#11: Stay calm and be polite.
This was the first mantra I added upon being left with only seven. Gretchin Rubin had twelve. I started with ten. Some thoughts have been swirling around in my head lately like a kite on a perfectly breezy autumn afternoon. I was walking downtown in the summer and came across this little gem:

I have a growing obsession for graffiti quotes. This was the first one that I found. I find myself having a certain infinity for the words. However, I am not a particularly rude or angry person. So I find myself in another internal struggle. Do these words warrant a spot in my list of mantras? Let's take a step back. Just look at the words. Separately. Both parts of this statement are good, solid pieces of advice. "Stay calm" in moments of anger, frustration, embarrassment, stress, and panic – all moments I have been in before and am bound to be in again. "Be polite" when you want to be rude, when you’re in a rush, to the sales associate, taxi driver, and slow person walking in front of you. Being rude will get you nowhere. I think there is wisdom to be gained from these words. Decision made. “Stay calm and be polite” has earned its way onto the list of Love Mantras.

#12: Be Bold.
Added just yesterday. Courtesy of Sasha Rae. She was giving me advice. Specifically for my blogging and photographing style. But it can transcend into various other aspects of my life. I can be a bit of a chicken (fine, a HUGE chicken) when it comes to "putting myself out there". This blog was a big first step. I will turn to these words when I'm writing and photographing. I will let them tango with my inner critic while I'm shopping and honing my personal style. I will listen to these two simple words in life. Each day. Everyday. I will try to be bold. At least once.
I promise I am almost done. I apologize for the length of this post. I would like to take one last moment to introduce you all to the official, finessed yet still-evolving list of Love Mantras:

I still have room for one more mantra. I will wait until it finds me.
Do any of you have mantras?


  1. You are a skilled writer my friend! I really enjoyed reading this. Now, I cannot procrastinate any longer... I need to go do some laundry. <3

  2. i luv number eight. so great. some of this should be on the dwight news to inspire the kids :D


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