Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Free Your Mind (And The Rest Will Follow)

I am indebted to O, The Oprah Magazine. I first found Martha Beck when I picked up O mag a few years back. I came across Beck's column in the glossy's section "May We Help You?" and I became an instant devotee. I went on to read two of Beck's books, which I dogeared to the umpteenth degree and which I keep stacked on my desk. I also receive Beck's daily inspiration emails and I write about her teachings often.

So I couldn't resist sharing Beck's "Don't Ask" article from the February 2015 issue of O Magazine. In this piece Beck lists 13 common questions that plague many of us, and she explains how we can stop harping on these queries that are just not worth our time. Beck explains:

"We're always running across lists of questions we should be asking our doctors, financial advisers, parole officers, and so on. And I like those lists. This is not one of those lists. Not every question in the world is useful, and in fact many of them can actually make our lives harder and more painful."

See below for my favorites:

When will my ship come in?
Happy expectation helps draw good things into your life. Compulsively asking when they'll arrive drives them away. Has anyone ever pestered you about getting something done? Remember how this made you want to slow down solely to annoy them? Don't choke good fortune by clutching at it. Identify what you want, do what you can to create it, and then distract yourself. I guarantee that your ship will speed up. 
Do I look fat in this?
Some clothes make you look slightly large, some slightly smaller, but here's the truth: Whatever you're wearing, you look approximately as fat as you are. Accepting that fact frees up a ton of energy, lightening you considerably.
What will people think?
This is an excellent question to ask continuously if you want to live in the emotional equivalent of a Turkish prison. What other people think is none of your business. Ask yourself what you'll think on your deathbed if you spend your whole life worrying about others' opinions.
How can I get more?
If you're hungry and you eat a square meal, you'll feel better. But you won't feel ten times better if you eat ten square meals. Our culture instills in us an unfettered lust for more, more, more. Like a cancer, that lust doesn't know when to stop. Consider asking, How can I make do with less? You'll find yourself headed for the even-keeled moderation that leads to real happiness.*

*Check out the full feature in the February 2015 O, The Oprah Magazine for more words of wisdom from Beck.
Photo via juliarobbs.com

[Don't Ask, O, The Oprah Magazine, February 2015]

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