Published in the Huffington Post, July 14, 2015
Plutarch said, The whole life of a man is but a point in time; let us enjoy it.
Plutarch’s quote reminds me of a 4-year-old black Labrador dog called NoLa, named for the city of New Orleans. After years of not being able to be dog trained, my son, daughter-in-law and grandparents gave up trying to correct her obstreperous behavior. Her spirit would not be tamed. She is a totally loving, too exuberant family dog who never meant harm when jumping on or barking at people entering the house.
Then one day NoLa went blind. She developed a virus that quickly took her vision. We all cried and worried and wondered what would happen to her. At the moment when NoLa lost her vision, the whole of her life was but a point in time and she then continued to go forward enjoying every other point in time.
NoLa has never stopped chasing balls, swimming, rolling on her back to be petted, gulping her food, sleeping at the foot of my son’s bed or playing with her older sister and daily companion, a chocolate Labrador named Macy. From time to time, we watch NoLa lose her sense of direction, run into walls and gates and fail to find a thrown tennis ball. But NoLa’s indomitable spirit trumps her handicap. Her GPS is still directional, albeit with limitations.
Just as NoLa lives with a GPS limitation (or Global Positioning System) so, too, do we humans. It might not be our eyesight; yet, from time to time, we can be sure there is something amiss in our GPS that gets us off track and prevents us from living an amazing and fulfilling life.
When NoLa lost her sight, my son said, “Mom, you should write a blog about NoLa and how amazing she is even without being able to see. She still has her GPS pretty much in tact.” Of course, I said, “She still has her doggy determination.”
Not only do we rely on our GPS in the car, but we also rely on the GPS of the mind. When reason or direction fails, we still have our moral, spiritual, emotional and physical compass. One chink in our human armor does not mean we cannot live with joy, inspiration and love.
The following are 5 ways we can keep our GSP accurately directional:
1. Put the brain in positive and celebrate life.
Have you ever counted the number of times your mind goes to the negative during the day? I did that once — and only once because I was so surprised at the outcome. For every positive thought, I had at least 3 negative thoughts. I decided to train my brain to become more positive and change the formula for happiness with more gratitude and celebratory joy. My GPS is now firmly in a positive setting.
2. Change your reality lens.
Sometimes your internal GPS does not perfectly reflect your reality lens. That’s when we say, “Something’s wrong with this picture.” The duality of this internal/external reality is disconcerting. When you don’t make a GPS correction, you find yourself in quicksand unable to move. Awareness coupled with mindful assessment can change the way we affect our reality.
3.Reduce stress by reducing resistance.
Which comes first: the stress or the resistance? Or do they go together like a horse and carriage? If NoLa failed to cope with her blindness, would she have exceeded herself? Of course, this was not the case. NoLa knows no stress, and, therefore, her GPS is not affected by resistance. She leaps over obstacles and mental traps and confronts every point in time with energy and joy.
4. Buy experiences instead of things.
The external world is not the predictor of happiness. It’s the inner world, the GPS of the mind, that let’s you experience everything you do with an open heart and mind. Things are merely material and transient. What stays constant and abiding is how your GPS experiences the wonder and joys of life with clarity and passion.
5. Practice self-reflection every time you thing about it.
It is rare that you have time to reflect on your life. Self-reflection is considered a luxury these days instead of a necessity. Stress runs your life and you have no time to click on the GPS of the mind because instead of focusing and staying present, you mind is full of chatter, which produces static and chaos. Meditate 10 minutes a day, and after clearing the mind, set your GPS to enjoy every “point in time.”
Your GPS is you. And you are the only one who can measure your life, guide your life and ultimately fulfill your life in all its awesomeness just as NoLa does every day of her life.
Joan Moran is a Creative Thought Leader and keynote speaker, commanding the stage with her delightful humor, raw energy, and wealth of life experiences. She is an expert on wellness and is passionate about addressing the problems of mental inertia. A yoga instructor and an Argentine tango dancer, Joan is the author is “Sixty, Sex, & Tango, Confessions of a Beatnik Boomer.” Visit her at www.joanfrancesmoran.com.
Follow Twitter Author
Follow Joan Moran on Twitter: www.twitter.com/joanfmoran