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“Let yourself be open and life will be easier. A spoon of salt in a glass of water makes the water undrinkable. A spoon of salt in a lake is almost unnoticed.”

“My brain has been moving slowly all day.” As I told my friend this, I felt each word roll out of my mouth with all the speed of a hill-climbing turtle. Like everything else I’ve done today, I’ve been speaking at a glacial pace.

I’ve retraced my footsteps over these last few days, double-checking how much I’ve eaten and how well I’ve slept. But despite playing low-energy detective, I’ve found no clear explanation for my overall sense of weariness. Accept it or not, I’m just having one of those days when I need to take it easy. I don’t always do well with these.

When I’m slow on the uptake and I struggle to complete my to-do list, I’m tempted to get frustrated and impatient with myself–to push myself to be more effective and productive instead of cutting myself some slack. But this doesn’t actually make me more productive or effective. It only serves to create a nagging sense of guilt and stress.

Maybe you’ve been there before: You have things to do and expectations to meet, but your body has a different agenda. You can either indulge a sense of urgent panic about the things you’re not doing, or not doing well. Or you can accept yourself as you are in this moment and do what you need to do for your well-being.

We all have responsibilities and goals, and we instinctively want to create and maintain a sense of momentum with them. But in the grand scheme of things, our happiness has less to do with how quickly we progress and more to do with how kind we are to ourselves at each step of the way.

Let yourself be as you are today. Accept what you feel in your body and mind, without feeling the need to fight it, deny it, ignore it, hide it, or push through to the other side. And then take good care of yourself. Sometimes the best way to help yourself is to stop fighting yourself.

The art of life is constant readjusting to your surroundings.

Oftentimes, when we don’t adapt to our surroundings it’s because we refuse to see ourselves in new ways.

Maybe you think that you’re a shy person, so you let that justify sitting alone when an intimate gathering suddenly turns into a party.

Or you believe that you’re unmotivated, so you don’t make the effort to promote yourself when a potential new partner walks into your life.

Or you feel certain that you’re not tech-savvy, so you refuse to learn a new software that could make you far more valuable to your company.

The world is going to change around us, and opportunities will present themselves every day, every hour, and every moment.

Whether or not we seize those possibilities depends entirely on our willingness to adjust how we understand who we are and what we can do.

Today if you feel limited by a constricting, self-imposed label, ask yourself: Would it be worth considering that I am more than the narrow sense of identity I’ve formed? If I let that go, what might I try today?

It’s not the load that breaks you down; it’s the way you carry it.

We often think that admitting struggle is a sign of weakness, but we all struggle sometimes. We all get overwhelmed sometimes. We all need help sometimes. Acknowledging this is not a sign of weakness, but struggling alone is a choice to grow weak.

We all need each other. No one is an island. The good news is that people really do care. Think about it. If someone you know was hurting, would you offer your support? If someone you know got into a tough situation, would you help them find a solution? You’d probably want them to come to you–to know that you care and they can trust and depend on you.

Why not give them the opportunity to do the same for you? Why push yourself to your breaking point when there are people who’d be honored to help lighten your load?

If you’re carrying more than you can handle today, choose to let some of it go by letting someone else in. You may feel vulnerable asking for help, but wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all learned to depend on each other?

What we see is mainly what we look for.

Whatever you believe about people and the world, you will likely find proof to support it.

If you look for selfishness, you’ll find it. If you look for animosity you’ll find it. If you look for injustice, you’ll find it. If you’re invested in seeing the world this way, you can probably explain a lot of what you see with negative interpretations.

Conversely, if you look for good intentions, you’ll find them. If you look for loving gestures, you’ll find them. If you look for possibilities, you’ll find them.

Much of what we see is based on how we want to interpret things–whether we judge people or give them the benefit of the doubt; whether we play the victim or find opportunities in struggles.

So the real question on any given day isn’t why you’re seeing what you’re seeing; it’s why you’re invested in that interpretation.

Today if you find yourself clinging to a negative story about a person or situation, ask yourself: What’s the payoff in holding onto this interpretation? Does it make you feel right? Or justified? Or safe? And more importantly: How might you be able to improve your state of mind or situation if you chose to see things differently?

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

Someone wronged you. Maybe they treated you thoughtlessly without your feelings or best interests in mind. Or maybe they hurt you with full awareness in a moment of anger orfrustration.

Your pride’s bruised, and your expectations destroyed. Why should you extend compassion to them when they didn’t offer you the same? Why should you reach out to them when you’re not the one who was wrong?

You could easily come up with a laundry list of excuses to stay righteous and unyielding. Unfortunately, no one benefits when you fester in anger, bitterness, or negativity–least of all, yourself.

It takes tremendous fortitude to acknowledge we all make mistakes and let go of your pain. The alternative is to hold it close to your heart, where you can feel right and hurt over and over again.

What kindness can you extend today to someone who awaits your forgiveness? If you feel resistant, why? What keeps you from forgiving?

Turn your face toward the sun and the shadows will fall behind you.

We all deal with pain, heartache, disappointment, frustration, fear, anxiety, and loss. We don’t deal with it at the same times, in the same ways, or for the same reasons, but we all experience the same emotions–over and over again.

Just when we think everything is perfect, something changes and we realize nothing is permanent. Just when we think we have everything figured out, we realize how much we don’t understand, and maybe never will.

But we also have something else in common: No matter how dark things can seem in our lives, we always have at least a little light–and sometimes far more than we realize. Very rarely is all lost.

If things aren’t going great with work, you may still have amazing friends who remind you that you are so much more than what you do for a living. If you don’t have the relationship you dream about, you might have family members there to remind you that you are never alone.

We always have good things in our lives. It’s just that sometimes we get too distracted by what’s lacking to recognize what’s going right.

Yesterday I asked on Facebook, “What advice would you give to yourself, 10 years ago?” I would tell myself to stop worrying that I was missing out on the good life, because I was actually missing out on life because of all the worrying.

Though none of us can go back and do things differently, we can remember what we’ve learned and use it.

Today I commit to enjoying the light, wherever it may be. What light is there in your life?

Never regret. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience.

When you look at the past with an eye on the mistakes you made, you focus solely on what you lost because of your choices. What you don’t always realize when dwelling on what could have been is what you gained. You always gain something from life experiences, whether it’s knowledge, wisdom, or a greater understanding of what will bring you joy.

Focus on that. Everything you did in the past brought you to where you are now–to this point when you realize what you want. And you can do something about that right now; no matter how old you are, it’s never too late to start.

What can you start today?

The best place to find a helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

When you do the things you need to do to take care of yourself, even though you don’t feel like it, that’s helping yourself.

When you tell people what you need, even though you’re afraid to acknowledge it, that’s helping yourself.

When you forgive yourself for your mistakes, even though you feel like dwelling, that’s helping yourself.

When you take responsibility for your problems, even though someone else may have played a large part in them, that’s helping yourself.

When you break a problem into tiny, manageable pieces, even though you feel overwhelmed, that’s helping yourself.

When you live in accordance with your values, even when they stand in the way of something you think you want, that’s helping yourself.

When you allow yourself to dream, and then focusing on creating instead of arriving, that’s helping yourself.

And when you make the effort to help yourself, you can better help other people–and the world.

What do you need to do to help yourself today, and can you start right now?

To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did.

There’s a reason we often take the path most traveled: Seeing all the footprints on the well-trodden road creates the illusion of certainty, especially when many are your own.

When it’s familiar,  it feels safe. You know what’s at the end; you’ve been there before. You know how to get there, so you don’t need to pay too much attention to your steps or the details along the way. You can just kind of put yourself on auto-pilot and go.

But there’s something kind of ironic about living on auto-pilot.

We generally do the things we’ve always done because they require less mental effort; you know what’s around you, so you don’t need to worry as much. But instinctively, we still find things to stress about. Even if we follow the path that feels comfortable, we generally end up thinking about the possibility of things we can’t control. There are always things we can’t control. Nothing is ever certain.

If you inevitably need to embrace the discomfort of knowing the future is uncertain, why not choose the discomfort that might push you one inch closer to the possibilities you dream about?

Why not reach out to someone you admire, or go to that event you’re scared to attend, or pitch that idea you’re afraid isn’t great? Life is bound to be messy and occasionally scary. Why not actively choose your changes, instead of waiting for them to choose you?

Today as you go about your day, if you find yourself doing what you’ve always done, ask yourself: What would make me feel excited about today? Then do it. That tingling sense of fear and possibility–it’s the feeling of being alive.

He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the world.

Yesterday I read an article that described how several hundred people got together to kick off the summer season by practicing yoga in the middle of Times Square. I felt a bit nostalgic in reading this because I did the very same thing exactly five years ago.

We were all crammed together, mat to mat, raised 10 feet off the ground. It’s a surreal feeling to ease into downward dog within such a chaotic, electric, commercial environment. It’s the ultimate challenge in centering yourself–with thousands of people maintaining a frantic pace around you, buying things, rushing toward things, and staring peripherally at the spectacle of your stillness.

But isn’t that kind of the challenge we face every day? On most days, we all bob and weave our way through all kinds of chaotic situations. There are problems to solve. And confrontations to avoid. And confusions to clear up. And relationships to mend.

Just when you think you’ve found your center, you find one more fire that needs to be put out. It’s implicit in the definition of balance that you could potentially fall–which means there is never a better opportunity to practice peace than when your external environment could compromise it.

Today if things get overwhelming, take a deep breath and remind yourself: Your circumstances are temporary, but your peace can endure if you focus on what’s going on within you, instead of stressing about what’s going on around you.

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