I was recently invited to be a mentor at a breakfast for some girls attending Brisbane Girls’ Grammar who are interested in a career in Visual Arts. This was such a privilege and created the opportunity for me to reflect upon my own life and what have been my own guiding principles, and ones which I thought I would share with the girls. They of course will determine their own set of guidelines, but I hoped that my own life experience can somehow assist them to have harmonious, meaningful and enriched lives.
I determined that 5 principles were the ones which, although I have not mastered them yet, are the ones which I feel have been the most important in my life. As my experience grows, these may change, but for the moment the following are what I feel are important, and not necessarily in any specific order.
Underpinning these 5 principles is a recognition that to have a meaningful, enriched life, there must be harmony and balance, and I think that the 5 principles allow me to do this.
1. RESPECT – To have respect for others invites respect to myself. Respecting the right of others to have opinions, invites respect for one’s own. Respect for myself involves not denigrating myself or putting myself down. Respecting myself involves looking after my body through exercise and only eating what supports my body. Respecting myself involves planning work, play, family, responsibilities, and giving to others etc; so there is balance in my life and I don’t become stressed. Respect my own life by living it to the fullest each and every day. Have a vision, but respect the value of life by living fully each moment.
2. BE HONEST – My aim is to -Always speak truthfully. Always act truthfully. Don’t have facades or follow trends blindly so one’s own personality is suppressed. Just be myself. I endeavour to not be afraid to express who I am through my own words and actions. Live my own life, not the life others wish for me.
3. ALWAYS DO THINGS WHICH INSPIRE me – Always have something in my life which excites me and I am interested in. Even if along the way to attaining my dreams I find myself in a job which doesn’t really thrill me, I have interests or hobbies or activities which really inspires me and that for while I am doing it, I am totally engrossed. Learn to be open and flexible to explore different new activities, hobbies or skills. Aim to do things which I am passionate about and love, and if I find myself doing things which I don’t really love doing, do them wholeheartedly anyway, and aim to work toward doing things I do love.
4. GIVE GRATITUDE AND BE GENEROUS – Give thanks to all those who have cared for me and have taught me. Take time to observe and reflect on what I have, rather than what I haven’t. Make time to be in the natural environment and connect consciously with your surroundings. Give to others of my time and energy. It helps me not be so arrogant and egocentric and helps to put balance into my life.
5. BE HUMBLE AND DON’T TAKE YOURSELF SO SERIOUSLY – Whilst looking at the night sky with binoculars in the Kimberley, I realised we all are just a speck in such a vast expanse. Keep perspective of the big picture and realise that decisions I make are really small in the grand scheme of things. This is not to say that decisions should be made flippantly, but rather with respect, conscious awareness and with a realisation that whatever choices I make, life still goes on regardless of them. Understanding this is so liberating and takes huge pressure off, allowing me to be able to live more in alignment with who I really am – in every moment.