Happy New Year!

As you look ahead to 2005, there are probably situations in your life you’d like to change or improve. Is one of them your relationship? Are you perhaps contemplating, in the words of a Clash song, "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" I’d like to give you some food for thought that will hopefully make your decision a lot easier.

What do you think is the most important thing in life? Health? Money? Love? Sex? I believe it’s none of these things. The most important thing in life is priceless and cannot be bought. No matter whatever else you may have, without this, you cannot totally enjoy what you have.

Give up? It’s peace of mind. Think about it. You can have both health and wealth, but if you are constantly upset or worried because of issues with your partner you won’t enjoy what you have.

If you’re unhappy in your relationship and are not sure what you should do, ask yourself this: Am I happier with this person in my life than I was without them? I believe the main reason for having anyone in your life, whether friend or lover, is because your life is better with that person in it.

Of course, no relationship is perfect 100 percent of the time. So you have to ask yourself: What percentage of the time do I feel better as a result of this person being in my life, and what percentage of the time do I feel worse? If it’s 50/50, then, as they say in blackjack, it’s a push. Personally, I don’t want to be miserable 50 percent of the time. In my opinion, it should be 90/100. Do you have peace of mind with your relationship 90 percent of the time? Or are you constantly worried that your partner will cheat, lie, or hurt you? If so, why do you stay? I hope you’re not still living under the mistaken assumption that the person will change. That’s like bringing home a tiger and hoping it will act like a house cat – it ain’t gonna happen.

If you’ve spoken to your partner about the things that bother you and things still haven’t changed, you might want to think about walking. If someone loves you, and you let them know you’re unhappy, they will do what they can to turn things around. If they don’t, they either don’t care or they don’t believe you’ll actually leave.

Peace of mind allows you to enjoy the seemingly small things that make life special – a beautiful sunset over a lake, the sound of chimes gently swaying in the breeze, a full moon partially covered by clouds. I was able to enjoy all of these things just in the last few months because I had the presence of mind to acknowledge and appreciate them when they occurred. How can you notice such beauty if your mind is always in a state of chaos? Drama belongs at the theatre, not in your life.

Being with the right person can be heaven on earth. Being with the wrong person is hell on earth. The Dalai Lama once said, "We must first make peace within ourselves if we are to make peace in the world." In having peace of mind, you’re contributing to the world by making it a more peaceful place, and that is priceless.

REMEMBER: Love inspires, empowers, uplifts and enlightens.

Write to Lucia at:

Watch "The Art of Love" on the Comcast Public Access Channel on Thursday, Jan. 13 at 8 p.m. The topic is "Players."