A survey from the Values in Action Institute showed up on my desk yesterday. It asked me to take a moment to review the 24 Signature Strengths they listed and to circle the five that best described what I’m like. It was difficult to choose only five so I chose ten.
The 40th anniversary of Saturday Night Live’s celebration also showed up. I remember when it first appeared in 1975 and how much the show fired my humorous imagination. Because it poked fun of everything in a way I could relate to, I became a fan. I learned to laugh again after a decade of war and chaos. I was thankful for the gift of laughter.
Today I’m still learning how to face life as it comes in a way I choose rather than in a reactive knee jerk way that comes from old conditioning. Three of the ten choices I circled are love, learning, and laughter. When I choose love, learning, and laughter with strength, courage, and capacity I feel awesome. What helps you feel awesome?
Imagine the strength it takes to love what you don’t love and overcome the desire to self righteously flip it off. Imagine the courage it takes to learn something new, especially something you have resisted. Imagine the capacity of character it takes to laugh at yourself when you see your own foolishness and arrogance.
Now imagine taking the posture of holding onto all this lightly, with a sense that all of what’s showing up in your life can be used to “enlighten up.” What’s your capacity for love, learning, and laughter? How much courage do you have to face those parts of you and others that you don’t want to love, learn from, and can’t laugh with. Where might the strength come from to let go of these blocks and let come something new?
As I sit writing this post, I have a smile on my face. I’m seeing all those places and spaces I’ve had to engage; to love, learn, and laugh with. I used to be such an angry young man. I used to think I could ‘fight’ for peace, that courage was about railing against the storm, and that my capacity for change was unlimited. I was uninformed.
Love, learning, and laughter requires slowing way down so we can enjoy the life that shows up with and for us. In so being, the doing comes that allows us to turn manure into fertilizer, loss into gain, difficulty into strength, scarcity into abundance. When we face life as it comes with an open heart, open mind, and open hands; love, learning, and laughter automatically follow. Are you smiling yet? When do you slow down?
This week practice “enlightening up.” Feel love in every breath. Learn to change your views. See awesomeness everywhere, even in the mirror. Smile, sing, dance, laugh at yourself. Get the joke.Choose Life with strength, courage and capacity. Have some fun.