By Michelle Cromer
In an interview, with reference to his fame, Bob Marley was once asked, “Are you a rich man, do you have a lot of possessions?” He replied, “I don’t have that kind of richness, my richness is life.”
So simple yet so profoundly meaningful. Being “rich” isn’t always about money. Studies show that mindfulness and having an attitude of gratitude in all aspects will bring a sense of meaning and fulfillment to other dimensions of your life, including your finances. Below are some strategies that can lead to a deeper sense of richness and inner peace.
1. Lead with love: See each person you encounter as an extension of yourself. Remember we are all one. Strive to practice curiosity over judgment and compassion over criticism. Show some love to yourself as well.
2. Have a service mindset: We feel larger, stronger, fuller, more engaged and more effective by the simple act of serving others. Handing your pocket change to the homeless person; offering someone the right of way in traffic when you don’t have to; saying something nice to that waiter or store clerk who seems a bit weary and not enjoying life; doing small favors without being asked; greeting your sullen neighbor, even if he doesn’t greet you back; showing others you care about them; saying please and thank you.
3. Gratitude: Express gratitude every day, not just with a written list but also with heartfelt emotion. Every day is a gift; every breath is a gift. We can take nothing for granted in this life. The experience of feeling grateful—generally, generically and specifically—seems to clear away much of the petty, day-to-day crankiness so many of us experience—the feelings of annoyance, impatience, resentment, anger and indignation. There’s something very uplifting about filling yourself with a sense of gratitude when you first open your eyes every day, as you go to sleep, and often in between. Gratitude for all you’ve received, and gratitude for all that has not befallen you.
4. Humility: This may be one of the most misunderstood and underappreciated aspects of human experience. It doesn’t mean putting yourself below others, letting people “walk all over you,” or acting like you’re inferior or unworthy in any way. It just means being neutral—letting go of the need to place yourself above others. Far too much human energy gets squandered in the mindless striving for importance, getting one-up, trying to prove we’re richer, better, smarter, wiser, more clever, more capable or more worthy than others.
5. Live a bold life: Don’t retire. Die exhausted from creativity, loving, adventure, service and curiosity. Living a bold life does not take money, it takes choice, courage and your willingness to show up to your life. Pray for others. Send grace to the places in the world that are on fire with pain and suffering. Take risks.
6. Forgiveness: It’s not a logical command. Forgiveness is mystical. It makes no sense to the reasoning mind, because the reasoning mind is incapable of forgiveness. Genuine forgiveness is a self initiated mystical act that requires the assistance of grace to release from the chatter of your ego. Forgiving is not about approving or condoning what someone has done—it’s about letting go of it. When we get caught up in vengeance, we attach ourselves to the source of our misery. We allow the tormentor to victimize us again. When we divert our precious life energy into anger, revenge, resentment and retaliation, we give away parts of ourselves.
7. There is only now: Practice mindfulness; strive to return to the present moment. Take walks and leave your phone behind. Play with your children. Wrestle with your dogs. Look up at the sky, savor a cup of coffee or relish a glass of wine. Be here now as often as possible.