Most of us, when asked, would freely admit that we want to improve ourselves in some way. Perhaps it’s to listen more, to eat better, to exercise more regularly, to be kinder, to learn a new skill, or to embrace the modern adage to do one thing a day that scares you. Whatever it is, positive change calls for dedication and looking inward.
As Friedrich Nietzsche said, and as is quoted in the mindfulness journal Do One Thing Every Day That Centers You, “A thought, even a possibility, can shatter us and transform us.” When we are trying to transform ourselves, sometimes it’s the simple things that can be the most helpful. The artist David Hockney said, “The thing with high-tech is that you always end up using scissors.” In the case of instituting a daily practice to “get centered,” it can be something as low-tech as a book filled with quotes and prompts to help you look inward. After all,
“The mind once expanded to the dimensions of larger ideas never returns to its original size.” —Oliver Wendell Holmes
To change, we must keep challenging ourselves, so we can, as Emily Dickinson said, “turn not older with years, but newer every day.”
And we need help to do this because it’s not always about doing what we want and enjoy but often about dealing with what we’d rather not face:
“Whatever you are is never enough; you must find a way to accept something however small from the other to make you whole.” —Chinua Achebe
But we have to make a decision and stick with it. Queen Latifah tells the story: “When I was around eighteen, I looked in the mirror and said, ‘You’re either going to love yourself or hate yourself.’ And I decided to love myself.” We need to have this conviction to self-love and our personal growth. We have to be brave enough to expand our awareness of ourselves as well as others, because, as Anaïs Nin said, “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
If we hope to revamp ourselves and lead a centered life, we must act, we must work for it. Grace Paley explained it this way: “The only recognizable feature of hope is action.” Anything worth having is worth struggling for, and Ruby Dee put it well when she said, “The kind of beauty I want most is the hard-to-get kind that comes from within—strength, courage, dignity.” It’s the “hard-to-get kind” that’s always the most rewarding.
And once we start the work and we see the strides we’re making, we’ll just want to keep on going. Nas puts it like this: “The further I get, the further I want to go.”
Having a daily journal that offers insights and inspires introspection can be a wonderful first step, and Do One Thing Every Day That Centers You does just that.
Note: All quotes in this article can be found in the journal with prompts to help you lead a centered life.
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