Why do they have to be rules?

I would like to say it was tempting to frame this list-in-progress as something other than a list of rules, but that isn’t actually true. Anytime I tried to insert a substitute—guides or ideals or prescriptions—it came up flat. With any other word, it felt more like a list of mere suggestions rather than imperative principles. These aren’t ideas that would be nice to embody from time to time, when it happens to be convenient.

These are reflections of the kind of world I want to live in.

I consider them to be firm agreements I make with myself, my family, my community, and the world at large. These are rules I will follow to the best of my ability on a daily basis.

The natural world is governed by rules, starting with the most basic: we are all born, and we will all die. The sun orbits the earth in a precise circular pattern for a precise amount of time every day. Snowflakes, all of which are unique, have sixfold symmetry. A nautilus shell’s growth spiral is logarithmic. Known as the Fibonacci spiral, it can also be seen in sunflowers and ferns. These aren’t suggestions that nature makes, these are rules. They are dependable, reliable, and firm.

Without them, we’d have chaos.

I did not create a list of rules for a mindful life in order to be constricted or confined in my thoughts, actions, or deeds. I hold them at the forefront of my awareness because they give me freedom. If I have no rules, then everyday can be a willy-nilly free-for-all, where my house is a mess, my relationships are volatile, and drama rules my life. Without any parameters on how to spend my time and direct my energy, I open myself up to all kinds of disruptions and instability.

I have more questions than answers. I don’t claim to know anything. Anyone who says they have the winning formula for how to live a perfect life (whatever that is) is, in my opinion, suspect. These rules work for me, which doesn’t mean they’ll work for you.

I have no agenda, political or otherwise, by sharing them on this platform except for this: to offer what I can, freely and with an open heart.