…So that you live more now.
Three years ago my mother died.
It was sudden. It was tragic. It was complicated.
And I was denied the chance to say goodbye. I was robbed of closure.
The details are not important. But the remaining reality was that a dear friend, confidante, supporter, nurturer and all around amazing human being was gone. Forever.
In the blink of an eye.
Not only did I lose someone I loved so deeply that I felt a part of myself die as well, I also lost the privilege of caring for her as she had always done for me. Selfish, perhaps, but honest nonetheless.
My world was altered forever. Never to be the same.
What immediately followed was an overwhelming wave of grief, anger, hatred and a deep depression that overwhelmed my soul. A year and a half of emotional turmoil ending with a final debilitating crash. Six weeks of hell where I could barely take care of my own daily basic needs – the dark night of the soul.
Depression was not something I’ve ever had much experience with.
I was lost.
The truth about depression that I’ve since discovered is that it’s simply a blanket term for unresolved emotions.
It’s no big news that depression is rampant in today’s status-quo cultural reality. And not at all surprising in a culture that feeds the suppression of any sort of authentic expression – emotional or otherwise.
And I was guilty of just that – suppressing emotions. They were just to much for me to cope with.
I’m normally the type of person who expresses emotions immediately, but in this case, I’d made the unconscious decision to distract myself from fully feeling the breadth of this personal loss by signing up for, and training for an Ironman triathlon. An all-consuming venture that takes an immense amount of physical, mental and emotional bandwidth.
It wasn’t until I crossed the Ironman finish line that I finally crashed. The emptiness that I felt at that symbolic line overwhelmed me. And the drop into the emotional abyss was immediate.
Six weeks of solid depression were the required Universal prerequisites to wake me up. I reached a threshold where I was so sick of myself that I knew that something needed to change. And that “something” had to be me.
I snapped myself out of it by searching for solutions that led me on an intensive 17 month spiritual journey of healing. I found the courage to finally turn around and face the engulfing darkness head on. And my spirit provided the needed strength and self love required to open my heart to the pain that I was once too fearful to allow inside.
It was a rough road at times – too many times to remember. There were many layers of emotion to move through. But each layer removed revealed more light. And as the layers thinned, I was finally able to feel the intensity of the deep love for life that was patiently waiting to fully emerge.
As I healed, I woke up.
Woke up to what you may ask?
Presence, simplicity, passion, purpose and truth.
My journey was challenging, emotional, beautiful, dark, inspirational, frustrating, enlightening and revealing.
Ironically, the greatest gift received from losing someone so deeply meaningful to my soul, was the gift of life. My own darkness, now brought into the light, generated more light. And that light revealed a vibrant passion for every single breath. Every single heartbeat. Every single moment.
And this invigorated joie-de-vivre was not just confined to my own life. The tremendous love that I already had for animals, the natural world and humanity has since reached new heights that continue to expand daily.
My soul was alive. Really alive.
And with this greater awakening I now see everything in life with heightened clarity. Both the beautiful as well as the ugly. I often feel like I’m floating above planet Earth – able to see everything that the unconscious masses cannot – and far more than I was ever able to see before the dark night of the soul.
A heightened awareness of the toxic cultural indoctrination created by the status-quo mindset has always disturbed me because of its violent and damaging global implications. It disturbs me even more so now that a greater life force has engulfed my being. I witness many people squandering the beauty and brevity of their lives with the unconscious thought pattern that tomorrow will always arrive as they carry on with their unconsciously conscious habitual ways.
But, you see, the reality is that tomorrow may not arrive. Thirty minutes from now may not arrive. Your next breath may not arrive. Last week I lost a childhood friend – gone in an instant. A typical bus ride to work gone terribly wrong when the driver blew through a railroad crossing into an oncoming train.
When you suddenly lose someone dear to you, experience a health crisis or personal tragedy, you’re quickly snapped into the reality that today – this very moment – is a beautiful gift from the Universe that must be cherished with your full presence.
“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” —Oscar Wilde
Whether it’s running your first half-marathon, moving across the country to live your dream, diving head-first into darkness to heal your life, traveling to an unknown part of the world, saying goodbye to a toxic relationship, or leaving the drudgery of an unfulfilling career to follow the purpose in your heart – everything worthwhile in life requires effort, risk, and sacrifice. Fear may even become a familiar bedfellow as you thrust yourself into the limitless power of faith. But I dare you to ponder the question – is the fear of uncertainty greater than the very real possibility of a wasted life?
So I offer you 26 atypical questions to ignite a little bit of critical thought.
Are you existing or are you really and truly living?
If you knew the arrival of tomorrow was in question, would you…
1) Wish you watched more television?
2) Wish you ate more processed food?
3) Wish you moved your body less?
4) Wish you consumed more sugar, meat, dairy, and alcohol?
5) Wish you’d said “I’m sorry” less?
6) Regret the times you could have, should have, would have – but didn’t?
7) Wish you’d listened less and spoken more?
8) Wish you’d taken fewer chances?
9) Wish you’d lived with less passion?
10) Wish you’d allowed more fear into your life?
11) Wish you’d worked more hours?
12) Wish you’d blamed more?
13) Wish you’d never acted on your dreams?
14) Wish you’d lived less?
15) Will you wish you stayed in that crappy relationship longer?
16) Wish you laughed less?
17) Wish you spent less time in nature?
18) Wish you spent less time with friends?
19) Wish you were less present and more distracted?
20) Wish you contributed less to the world?
21) Wish you judged yourself and others more?
22) Wish you put up with more crap?
23) Wish you’d let others thoughts and opinions control you more?
24) Wish you spoke your truth less?
25) Wish you were less authentic?
26) Wish you loved less?
Most of us take life for granted and before you know it, it’s gone. Midway through life many wonder how so much time has slipped away.
Many people die with the music still inside for fear of expressing themselves uniquely, authentically, compassionately and through the pure essence in their souls.
Life is brief. Life is precious. Life is beautiful. We never know when our time is up.
And one thing in life is non-negotiable – we will all die. Period. Death is the only absolute in life. The one certainty that we all share. And even when we take extreme care of ourselves, a random tragedy can snuff us out. Just like that.
With that sobering reality, here are eight more questions to inspire critical thought to kickstart your life.
1) If nothing was holding you back and you knew that you wouldn’t fail:
a) What would you do?
b) Who would you be?
2) What is standing in the way of what you want for your life? (Tell the truth. Truth begins with your self).
3) What aren’t you doing?
4) Why aren’t you doing it?
5) What do you have to believe about yourself to NOT be taking the necessary actions to manifest your dreams
(Note: The answers to this question are beliefs that are holding you back. And these limiting beliefs are ingrained in your insecurities).
6) Where did these beliefs come from? And because you’re still holding them, how do they continue to serve you?
7) What would you change to live your best life?
8) And finally, why are you waiting? Remember, some day may never come.
What will you do today to kick fear to the curb and make your dreams a reality right now?
When you live a conscious, passion-filled, vibrant and present life, there is no someday. You see, someday is not a day of the week. The only time we ever have is now. Right now.
It’s time for you to really embrace the moment and make life happen. Trash the excuses. Excuses are unconscious lies based out of illusory fears. And when you really “get” that fact, you’re unstoppable.
The things we **think** are important are not. They rarely are. And the only time we ever realize this is when tragedy hits. I’ve known alot of death in my life and its given me the gift of really living – I mean REALLY living. Living every day in the moment and following the messages of my heart with every breath I take.
Let your heart lead. Let your mind follow. Live life as if the next moment is your last. Live out loud. Love out loud and be the change that you wish to see in the world. And do it NOW!
I leave you with a beautiful quote by Marianne Williamson from her powerful book, “A Return To Love”:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
At what point does the longing for the life you dream of become regret for the life that passed you by?
Live with passion. Live with purpose. Change the world.
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