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Issue 10 October 2006

Sanity Saver #12: Use Your Life As Your Teacher

We all know that our children are our greatest teachers; they mirror our opportunities for growth, whether we want them to or not. But if we chose, any relationship--any situation or circumstance--can also serve as our teacher. Too many of us think that learning is limited to the classroom, but why not consider your life to be a 24/7 seminar?

Using your life as your teacher is about paying attention to everything that occurs during your day. It’s a matter of being mindful of your interactions, your reactions and what they tell you about yourself and your life. The Buddha said to his disciples, “Be a light unto yourself.”

The definition of consciousness is “that with which we know.” To live more consciously is to be aware moment to moment, to be present in everything that you do. There is an old saying, “it’s a rare fish that knows it swims in water.” Becoming consciously aware of your life is a demanding activity, but one that will add depth and richness.

For example how many times have you felt enraged at your ex-husband or boss? Come on now, we all have from time to time. May I suggest that the next time you have these feelings rather than simply turning into Cruella de Ville or wishing they would disappear from your life why not see your interactions as a catalyst? Ask yourself does this person challenge your authority by questioning your decisions? Do they demand more of you than you are willing to give? Why not use these relationships to grow stronger in your convictions, to practice standing up for yourself, to set clearer boundaries?

You have a choice about how you want to view every situation. You can see the irritation of dealing with an uncooperative ex-husband or an unreasonable employer as an undeserved aggravation or as an opportunity. While these interactions may feel more like sandpaper than growth, you can choose to use them to polish your rough edges and strengthen yourself. The choice lies in your attitude.

Yes, I realize it means making a major shift in your thinking, but I think that you’ll find the results of this shift are well worth the effort. This is just one example of how you can allow your life to become your teacher.

For more information on 30 Days to Sanity please visit www.30daystosanity.com.