What’s a rule of life? Why would you want one? A forthcoming book from Forward Movement invites you to begin to create your own. The excerpt below is taken from Note to Self: Creating Your Guide to a More Spiritual Life, by Charles LaFond – ed.
For the past 1,300 years, we have moved away from the notion that humans are basically evil and streaked with good to an awareness that humans are basically good and streaked with evil. As our theology heals and grows, we need not let the pendulum swing too far in the other direction so that all things—all paths—are deemed good. Some things that are good for others and that might be enjoyable need to be left on the shelf. When we choose one thing—having done the hard work of discerning that such is the right and best thing to do— we must then acknowledge that we will need to let go of the many other choices we could have made.
A Rule of Life is simply a series of letters we write to ourselves to keep us on the path we want to take. A Rule reminds us of who we are and what we want. It is a technology for living that can be imported from monasteries and into our lives. While a Rule of Life is a simple tool, it has great promise…
A Rule of Life is a fancy, ancient, and religious term for a simple collection of “notes to self” that you write and read back to yourself once a day as a reminder of how you want to live your life. It is like a manifesto or a set of guidelines.
Simply put, you choose a dozen or two dozen or three dozen topics about your goals for these areas—then you write them down. Many people write thirty notes to self because that is about one each day for a month. At the end of the month you simply go back to page one and begin reading the statements again. In a year you read each page about twelve times. This way you never go for more than a month without being reminded of the top thirty things you think are important to your living a good life.
Once you have made your list of thirty key topics, write some notes for each one. Next, you expand each Rule into a page of self-coaching so that all you need to do is read one page a day in a cycle that matches the number of topics (pages) you have written. If you want to coach yourself on ten subjects (for example: money, rest, health, food, work, prayer, friendship, exercise, kindness, and play) then you write ten topics, expand each topic into a series of paragraphs about your hope for that subject in your life, and then you simply read the ten pages, one a day, for ten days, and repeat. A Rule of Life, then, is a set of reminders you write to yourself, for yourself, so that you reconnect your vision for your life with your actual daily life.
Have you ever contemplated writing a rule of life?