lists

I really, really, really dislike the kinds of lists that tell us: 50 ways to be a better lover; 3 airtight arguments against eating meat; 5 most liberating yoga poses….

It’s too easy to write an article or post in this reductionist fashion, and maybe it contributes to black-or-white, right-or-wrong thinking. Such lists often represent just one person’s opinions anyway.

Nevertheless (you knew that was coming), I like the list below so much that I’ve decided to throw my prejudices to the wind. I discovered these suggestions when I did a weekend training with Off the Mat – Into the World, an organisation that is committed to creating a world that works for everyone.

One of the reasons that lists seem daunting is that they can be overly long. If ten things seem like nine too many, pick just one of the suggestions below and work with it for a week. See if the idea helps create more harmony in your world, and, if it does, choose another from the list for the next week. What’s most important is your attention and intention.

10 Useful Things You Can Do to Contribute to Peace in the World*

  1. Spend some time each day quietly reflecting on how you would like to relate to yourself and others. First thing in the morning or before sleep are good times.
  2. Remember that all human being have the same needs. The saying goes, “Be kind; everyone’s fighting some kind of battle.”
  3. Check your intentions to see if you are as interested in others getting their needs met as your own.
  4. When asking someone to do something, check first to see whether you are making a request or a demand. This is especially revealing when it comes to asking your significant other or your kids.
  5. Instead of saying what you don’t want someone to do, say what you do want the person to do. Saying what you don’t want can sound like a make-wrong.
  6. Instead of saying what you want someone to be, say what action you’d like the person to take. For instance, I wanted my husband to be more attentive to me, so I asked him to create an activity where once a week he asked me out on a date.
  7. Before agreeing or disagreeing with anyone’s opinions, try to tune in to what the person is feeling and needing. This is the secret to being non-reactive and an important yoga practice.
  8. Instead of automatically saying “no”, say what need of yours prevents you from saying “yes.” This has the potential to create a connection with the other person instead of a rejection.
  9. If you are feeling upset, think about what need of yours is not being met, and what you could do to meet it, instead of thinking about what’s wrong with others or yourself.
  10. Instead of praising someone who did something you liked, tell the person what need of yours that action met, i.e., “when you visited me in hospital, you lifted my spirits when I was feeling low.”

* rendered from the “Off the Mat – Into the World Workbook”