Thursday, July 2, 2015

Ten tips for a happy life from Pope Francis

I ran across these ten tips for a happy life recently, and they resonated with me. Wise words to live by. Interesting that they come from Pope Francis, who cautions against proselytizing (finally a religious person who sees the light) and who recommends not being negative and not hanging around with negative people. Smart man. Trying to convert others to your way of thinking, religious or not, is doomed to failure. I've hated that type of behavior my whole life. People are only driven away when they are constantly hit over the head and told to think like the person who is doing the pounding. I've always been suspicious of 'missionaries', on a mission to convert others to their way of thinking. And hanging around with negative people leads only to one thing, that you yourself become a negative person. Funny how that happens. Negative people are miserable people, and misery loves company. Negative people have an incredible amount of power over others. The problem is that by the time you understand that you are trapped in a spiral of negativity, you're in too deep. Negativity is like a whirlpool; it drags you under as you struggle to surface and not drown. You need a strong helping hand to pull you out of it--be that a positive person (like Pope Francis with his wise words), an inspiring book or film, or a crisis of some sort that makes you appreciate life again. And the idea of respecting and taking care of nature totally resonates with me--animals, birds, trees, rivers, you name it. It brings to mind St. Francis of Assisi, and for that I am grateful, because he loved animals and nature. I am aware, like many others, of just how important a message this is for our generation. Essentially, what runs through all of these tips, the common thread if you will, is a sense of peace, in oneself and in how one relates to the world.

1.       Live and let live
2.       Be giving of yourself to others
3.       Proceed calmly through life
4.       Have a healthy sense of leisure, making time to enjoy art, literature and to play with your children
5.       Sunday is family day and should be a holiday from work
6.       Find innovative ways to create dignified jobs for young people
7.       Respect and take care of nature
8.       Stop being negative and let go of negative things quickly
9.       Don't proselytize; respect others' beliefs
10.   Work for peace and be aware that peace is proactive and dynamic

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