The most meaningful thing for me is to live my truth. To know that I’m living what I value, I’m doing things I believe in, and I’m doing them now rather than waiting. And to know that if I die today, I would die a content and full woman.
Every night before I go to sleep, I ask myself, Where have I really lived my truth today? What issues still need to be taken to conclusion?
If I find that I’ve stopped living my truth, I ask myself questions: Did I exercise today? Did I take care of myself today? Did I hear music? Did I dance? Did I smile today? Did I show my gratitude to God today? When I was young, my mother told me the best prayer is to smile and to show gratitude to God.
I’m much less judgmental about myself at this point of my life. My biggest learning during the last year was something my teacher, Angeles Arrien, taught me: It’s good enough just to be. This is like practicing yoga: There are going to be days when I can do all the poses perfectly and days when I can’t. And there are going to be other days. Life is like a rollercoaster. Sometimes you’re up and sometimes you’re down. As my mother said, “As long as you enjoy the whole ride, you’re okay.”
Every day, I read a Rumi poem before I look at my Blackberry or anything else. That’s a gift I give myself. Hearing music or going dancing are also gifts I give myself, gifts I need to receive in order to keep going and to last longer. This helps me to set expectations for myself rather than reacting to others and ending up failing myself and failing others. I take care of myself so I can take care of others.
Every day, I say this to myself in the shower: It’s a good day to fly and it’s a good day to die, and I’ll be in my long tall body and my deep, deep roots ’cause I’m strong, soft, and settled. Every day is a good day to fly because the world is beautiful. How do I balance the deep, deep roots of my feminine side and the long, tall body of my masculine side? How do I learn today about where I have become strong and where I have become soft?
I wake up every day. I’ve been doing it for years. And if I die today, I will die a very content woman.
Zainab Salbi is the founder and CEO of Women for Women International, a group dedicated to helping women survivors of war rebuild their lives. This essay originally appeared onLifeByMe.com and was reprinted with permission. LifeByMe.com publishes one original essay by a thought leader each weekday.