When I first started writing a regular column for the Kanata-Kourier Standard, the then editor, Sally Gunther, had this advice for me: “You are used to bureaucratic writing Bill where you first assemble all the facts and then draw a conclusion; in journalism we do the opposite because we start with the punch-line, as it were, and then follow it with the supporting data.

 And that is what I have now done ~ and this is the first thing I would like to share with you ~ because at the heart of things, life is very simple: It just is, it is a gift that does not take sides and does not make any of what we call mistakes. So we must constantly look for the lessons when we encounter challenging situations. . Said differently, we have to learn how to live life fearlessly and authentically ~ no hidden agendas ~ with no attachment to outcomes, and without taking anything personally.

Second, I have no reason to believe that the creative energy in the universe, that has been given names like God, Allah, Love, Light, and the Tao, has any kind of long term plan. And that is because life, which is so tenacious, has, over the millennia, experimented with many forms, not all of which, as the fossil record clearly reveals, have survived. So creation is constantly evolving, as have we humans with our (still?) developing brains.

Third, there is only the Present Moment, regardless of whether you believe it lasts for only a microsecond or for an eternity. So that is the place where you have to hang out because you can’t  do anything  about the Past ~ other than letting it go ~  and because it will never come back. And the unknowable Future has yet to come. So we simply have to “Show Up” and be totally present to what is.

Fourth, the only thing that is constant in this world is change. Everything is, as the Buddha taught, impermanent. So, as Alan Watts would say, we need to learn “The Wisdom of Insecurity”.

Fifth, Awareness is the master key to living well

Sixth, until you can love yourself unconditionally, just the way you are, you cannot possibly love anyone else. So, until you have healed yourself, don’t waste time avoiding that responsibility by trying to heal others. And remember, too, it’s not about becoming perfect but about becoming whole. Said differently, the task is to become the best you and not a second best someone else.

Seventh, I believe that in humans, the life force takes the form of a soul that chooses to experience a particular destiny in each lifetime as it shares its gifts with others. So I shall accept full personal responsibility for whatever happens to me and not project blame onto to anyone or anything, for whatever happens to me; nor shall I proclaim myself to be the victim of whatever has happened to me

In that latter connection, before now taking any action involving a potential conflict with another human, I ask myself this question “How would love behave in this situation”? And then do my best to act accordingly.

And that reminds me that  I, like all other human beings, am, at any given moment, doing the best I can with what I have got, in that moment. So I will express Gratitude to others for their best efforts and also show understanding, forgiveness and  compassion if the “bests” those people are sharing with me, do not meet my hopes or expectations. i.e. No judgements.

Eighth, remember to start and end every day with a gratitude prayer. Remember, too that love is all there is.

Merry meet and merry part and merry meet again