Dr. Deborah’s Five Commitments For Living Consciously in 2013

“It is not that we have so little time but that we lose so much. Life is long enough and our allotted portion generous enough for our most ambitious projects if we invest it all carefully. But when it is squandered through luxury and indifference, and spent for no good end, we realize it has gone, under the pressure of the ultimate necessity, before we were aware it was going.” Lucius Annaeus Seneca

I was vacationing in Rome, Italy over the Christmas season of 2004. My husband and I strolled into an Italian bookstore after having a wonderful lunch in the Plaza of Flowers. I went straight away to the philosophy section, as I normally do in every bookstore. Among the hard-cover books, whose impressive size reflected the wisdom between their covers, was a small “5 by 7” 100-page booklet that kept drawing my attention. It seemed to shout to me, “Hey you!” “Don’t ignore me; pick me up,” like it was the youngest child in a family making a fuss to get attention. It was the Roman philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca’s book On the Shortness of Life. But, little did I know how crucially relevant his words would be to my life, in just a few hours. When we returned to the hotel that day, a phone call from my family ushered me to come home, as my beloved 52-year old sister Dorothy had died of a chronic illness, which she had been struggling with for some time. In the days after, I thought long and hard about the good end of which Seneca speaks.

As he suggests, don’t get lost in the physical details of living your life. You may acquire a lot of material things and many experiences. But, if you haven’t invested enough time in nurturing your emotional and spiritual life and your connection to people, you will lose much in meaning and end up with regret. Because, at the end of your days, relationship to yourself and people is all that really matters. Life is long enough, if you are a good master and a careful steward of the time that you have on earth. But, it will seem short, no matter how many years you live, if you have squandered each day away in negativity, indifference, or in activities and relationships that create more chaos and unhappiness in your life than wisdom and growth.

Let me share a story with you, to show you what I mean. At the start of my psychological training, I worked in a rehabilitation hospital doing neuropsychological testing and therapy on elderly patients. They were being treated for physical and mental health problems. At first, I wasn’t sure I was going to like this training site. I thought, “How could I do psychotherapy with people who are so physically ill? But, life often gives us what we need, rather than what we want, and thank goodness for that, as I learned much about regrets and how short life can seem, from these patients. People shared their lives with me; their struggles and tragedies and joy. In particular, one eighty-seven-year old, African-American man comes to my mind. He was hospitalized for severe pulmonary disease due to years of smoking cigarettes and the environmental conditions of his employment. He was also depressed, which I was about to learn stemmed more from the way he lived his life rather than his health condition. Even though he could barely breathe, he shared every detail of his forty-year employment as a railroad worker. His eyes sparkled as he recalled the movie stars he met and the many romantic dalliances he had. By his account, he was quite the ladies’ man in his younger days, carousing, drinking and gambling whilst working on the railway. But, like all good stories, there was a moral to his story, and his was a bitter pill that he was having a hard time swallowing, as he got nearer to the end of his life. You see, he was a husband and father to eight children in name, but had little involvement with them. He wept, like a baby, when he told me that none of them wished to visit him. He was alone, with little more than disconnected stories from his past, medical equipment, and me, a psychologist intern, who was compassionate, but with whom he had no history.

Dr. Deborah’s Five Commitments for Living Consciously

Learn to be a careful master of your daily life. For year 2013, my message to you is to live consciously. You must be a careful steward of the activities and people that you bring into your life, if you wish to end life with little regret and deep satisfaction. The Five Commitments that follow exemplify the thoughts and actions of people who are good masters of their lives. They make sure that who and what they fill up their time with enriches them emotionally and spiritually, so that no matter what comes along the way, they know that they used their lives well.

  1. Bring your true self out into the world. Bring people and activities into your life that express the real you rather than make you hide who you really are. This is especially true of intimate relationships. If you have to hide what you believe, think, and feel from family, good friends, and lovers then what are you getting out of the relationship other than a simple connection? Indeed, life will seem short, if you keep putting off bringing the real YOU into your daily life. Examine how many of these people you have in your life. Remember that time spent with people who care about the real you is time well spent.
  2.  Open up to new experiences. Let go of old experiences that you use to keep you stuck in the past and away from new opportunities to meet new people and do new things. Isn’t it time to let go of the old emotional themes that just reinforce the idea that your life is crappy and you were meant to be unhappy in this life? I do not say this facetiously. I know how hard it is to see that it is YOU who are fulfilling the reality of these ideas by your decisions. After all, it is the fish that is last to see the water. But, you must wake up to the water, so to speak, if you wish to reap the full benefit of living.
  3.  Bring awe into your daily life. You don’t have to suffer to reap life’s meaning. If you find what moves you and lose yourself in it, you will find meanings that uplift you emotionally and spiritually. Sing, play music, draw or paint, write poetry, sculpt, train for a marathon, take a class, love pets or nature, or get inspired by religious, spiritual, or philosophical literature. Just get inspired, this year. Stop loving darkness; learn to love the light, through inspirational activities. Dare to awaken a deep feeling of awe within you. To get started, you may wish to revisit my post on bringing more awe into your life (Balance Home and Work Life Through Awe-Inspired Living).
  4.  Become mindful of the meanings you give to experience. Don’t let time go by unobserved. Connect to the moment through meanings that transform, uplift and deepen your understanding of life. See what the moment offers you in understandings that make time useful to your growth. See my post on Taking Charge Of Your Life, By Becoming Mindful To The Moment.
  5. Stop negativity and indifference. Examine how much time you give to being negative or indifferent. This is YOUR time. Own it! Will you squander 365 days of this year through negative self-talk? Although this is your choice, I encourage you to wake up to your life. Stop sleeping in this life and waiting for positivity to hit you. Make it happen through the way that you talk to yourself, this year. You may wish to revisit my post on self-talk called What You Say To Yourself Matters.

Make these five commitments your most ambitious project this year, and  you will end 2013 feeling deeply enriched. You’ll feel the joy and satisfaction that comes from loving yourself, living well, and honoring the gift of time.

If you liked my post today, please let me know by selecting the LIKE icon that immediately follows. And, if you feel it has a wisdom or two you want to share with others, you can TWEET or GOOGLE +1 it. Happy New Year Friends. Thank you for valuing me and Psychology in Everyday Life. I am deepened by your friendship and look forward to helping you to live your lives well. Warmly, Deborah.


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10 Responses to “Dr. Deborah’s Five Commitments For Living Consciously in 2013”

  1. avatar Dr Amardeep singh sehgal says:

    Very well written … very absorbing.Each of us including me shall love to keep these positive inputs consciously in mind.Very useful and simple tips to enrich life effortlessly.

    • avatar Dr. Deborah Khoshaba says:

      Happy New Year Dr. Thank you for much for your kind words. I too will remind myself daily of my Five Commitments. I’m glad you find them useful Amardeep. Warm regards to you and yours. Deborah.

  2. avatar Ali says:

    I raed your this nice post, its realy so practical and factual that it is getting attraction, it has been customery that we leave what we read in books, because most of the books lose practical accounts or events which attract the readers, but any example given from practical life with brief meaningful words keep its readers close to its content and people may live by that. so i can say that this article by U is worthy to read if one want to change his life socially and positively.

    • avatar Dr. Deborah Khoshaba says:

      Happy New Year Ali, I very much like what you say here. It’s important to me that I articulate my ideas in a way that everyone can relate to and understand. So that you saying this, lets me know that I am accomplishing this effort.

      Happy New Year to you friend. And, I look forward to seeing you here again in 2013. Have a blessed year. Warm regards, Deborah.

  3. This is a wonderful message, Debbie. It is so accurate, as to what makes a difference in one’s life. You really understand what living well is all about. Have a great new year!

  4. avatar Zerevan M Xalid says:

    Thank you again. Having read such stuff, my mood has been lightened once again. You have really lightened our burden. Please, accept my compliments willingly.^_^

  5. avatar jahangir says:

    I want to know the factors which effect a person become criminal and terrorist.

    • avatar Dr. Deborah Khoshaba says:

      Hello this is a good topic,indeed. I will write about this in the future. Thank you. Warm regards Deborah

  6. avatar Sana says:

    hey dr…i need ur help….so0o tell me how i contact u??


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