I am a student of life, faith, and the universe; every day is a new lesson.

We don’t need a new year to make a new start; we can start again at any time.  It’s not about the number of days and years that have passed, it’s about taking ownership of where we are right now and believing that this moment is not our final destination but merely a rest stop on our journey.  It’s okay to not be okay for a little while. Remember though that not being okay doesn’t define us or our dreams and ambitions.  Our only job to to make ourselves proud.

Embrace silence.  It is pure, it draws people together.  For when we are comfortable with each other, we can sit without speaking and that can be more powerful than expected. 

There will always be moments that change our entire worlds in one minute.  They may be life-altering, life-shattering moments, but we always have a choice: we can let them make us bitter, sad, angry, withdrawn…or we can let them make us stronger, smarter and more kind. Choose wisely.

I was reminded of this several times this year:  we cannot save people from themselves. The lesson will not be received if we try to rescue them.  Our only job is provide space on our path and provide unconditional love and a gentle guiding hand.  Remember, however, that not everyone will be receptive.  We can only plant the seeds for their revelations, and continue on our own path of love, mercy and grace.

We have an opportunity to impact everyone we meet; to be an inspiration, a friend, a supporter, a love.  Or, we can ignore, dismiss, disrespect….once again, choose wisely.

Be a student of humanity.  We don’t always know what battles people are facing so learn at least enough to treat them with dignity and kindness in regard to their needs.

Always return the smile that children give you.  It’s their moment of vulnerability—our reactions have an impact.

Possessions are simply stuff; make more memories instead.

Be brave and have the courage to be honest.

Allow yourself to be weird as that’s where our fun and creativity reside.

Be present in conversations, even if we aren’t that interested.

Become a better leader by being a better student.

Live inside out instead of outside in.

No one cares what we’re doing as much as we think they do, so stop worrying.

Don’t expect things from anyone; we won’t be let down as much.

Always live in good curiosity; create, create, create!

Forgiveness is powerful and is a practice, not an on-off switch.

Love as hard as we can.  Love whom we wish to love.

Try to understand before trying to be understood.

Eliminate “you should” from our vocabulary or our close friends may disappear.

Make a conscious choice to no longer be negative or hang out with negative people. It will be one of the best choices we will ever make.

Live through you, not by you. We will only do big things in the world if we squash our egos and allow our stories to be bigger than ourselves.

Throw away all of our blueprints (I don’t mean manners, kindness, compassion), especially ones kept from friends and family. This is our life—begin new ways of doing things, begin new traditions.  The old is not necessarily best.  And most of, do not feel guilty.

We are better because of our hardships—dive head first into 2018 with hope and confidence.

Hang out with the right circle of people.  No matter how big or small, this circle contains people who introduce us to new music, art, culture, ideas, books, etc. Choose people who will expand our minds and help us grow.

Know that happiness lies within ourselves.  Do not waste time searching for it outside in things or people.  Peace, love, joy and happiness reside inside.  Happiness is in giving, reaching out, sharing smiles, hugs and love.

Feel deeply.  Be free in soul and spirit.

Learn how to not let things or people destroy our inner peace.  Let’s fill our souls so full of love, that when people who have used us as a temporary shelter pack up and leave, we are protected because love is the most powerful force on the planet.

And finally, as David Cuschieri says, “The mind is a powerful force.  It can enslave us or empower us.  It can plunge us into the depths of misery or take us to the heights of ecstacy.  Learn to use the power wisely.”

Here is to a blessed, healthy, love-filled, happy 2018!