Have you thought about what you want people to say about you after you’re gone? Can you hear the voice saying, “He was a great man.” Or “She really will be missed.” What else do they say?
One of the strangest phenomena of life is to engage in a work that will last long after death. Isn’t that a lot like investing all your money so that future generations can bare interest on it? Perhaps, yet if you look deep in your own heart, you’ll find something drives you to make this kind of contribution---something drives every human being to find a purpose that lives on after death.
Do you hope to memorialize your name? Have a name that is whispered with reverent awe? Do you hope to have your face carved upon 50 ft of granite rock? Is the answer really that simple? Is the purpose of lifetime contribution an ego-driven desire for a mortal being to have an immortal name or is it something more?
A child alive today will die tomorrow. A baby that had the potential to be the next Einstein will die from complication is at birth. The circumstances of life are not set in stone. We are not all meant to live life through to old age. We’ve grown to perceive life as a full cycle with a certain number of years in between. If all of those years aren’t lived out, its a tragedy. A tragedy because a human’s potential was never realized. A tragedy because a spark was snuffed out before it ever became a flame.
By virtue of inhabiting a body we accept these risks. We expose our mortal flesh to the laws of the physical environment around us. The trade off isn’t so bad when you think about it. The problem comes when we construct mortal fantasies of what life should be like. When life doesn’t conform to our fantasy we grow upset, frustrated, or depressed.
We are alive; let us live. We have the ability to experience; let us experience. We have the ability to learn; let us learn. The meaning of life can be grasped in a moment. A moment so brief it often evades our perception.
What meaning stands behind the dramatic unfolding of life? What single truth can we grasp and hang onto for dear life when all other truths around us seem to fade with time?
These moments are strung together in a series we call events. These events are strung together in a series we call life. When we seize the moment and bend it according to our will, a will driven by the spirit deep inside us, then we have discovered the meaning of life, a meaning for us that shall go on long after we depart this Earth.
Occasionally, life can be undeniably, impossibly difficult. We are faced with challenges and events that can seem overwhelming, life-destroying to the point where it may be hard to decide whether to keep going. But you always have a choice. Jessica Heslop shares her powerful, inspiring journey from the worst times in her life to the new life she has created for herself:
In 2012 I had the worst year of my life.
I worked in a finance job that I hated and I lived in a concrete jungle city with little greenery. I occupied my time with meaningless relationships and spent copious quantities of money on superficialities. I was searching for happiness and had no idea where to find it.
Then I fell ill with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and became virtually bed bound. I had to quit my job and subsequently was left with no income. I lived with my boyfriend of then only 3 months who financially supported me and our relationship was put under great pressure. I eventually regained my physical health, but not long after that I got a call from my family at home to say that my father’s cancer had fiercely progressed and that he had been admitted to a hospice.
I left the city and I went home to be with him.
He died 6 months later.
My father was a complete inspiration to me. He was always so strong that, for a minute after he drew his last breath, I honestly thought he would come back to life. I couldn’t believe I would never again cuddle into his big warm chest and feel safe no matter what.
The grief that followed was intense for all of us 5 children and our mother, but we had each other.
But my oldest sister at that time complained of a bad back. It got so bad after 2 months that she too was admitted to hospital.
They discovered that she had highly advanced cancer in her bones and that there was nothing that they could do.
She died 1 month later.
I could never put into words the loss of my sister in my life.
She was a walking, talking angel and my favourite person in the whole world. If someone could have asked me the worst thing that could ever happen, it would have been losing her.
She was my soul-mate and I never thought I would journey this lifetime without her.
The Moment Of Deliberate Choice
The shock and extreme heart break brought me to my knees. The pain was so great and my world just looked desolate. I had no real home, no money, no job, and no friends that cared. Not one person had even sent me a sympathy card for my loss.
I made an attempt of my own life and I ended up in hospital.
I remember lying in the hospital bed, looking up at the ceiling and seeing my sister’s beautiful face. She stayed with me all night long.
I realised during that night that I had a choice. I could choose to end my life or I could choose to live it.
I looked in my sister’s eyes and I made a decision not to go with her just yet. That I would stay and complete my journey here.
I also made the decision that, I wouldn’t just live any life. I would live the life that I absolutely LOVE and nothing less.
In that moment, the clarity that descended around me was like a light shining in a dark room for the first time. As if the earth’s plates had shifted under my feet and everything suddenly looked real for the first time.
We often close ourselves off when traumatic events happen in our lives; instead of letting the world soften us, we let it drive us deeper into ourselves. We try to deflect the hurt and pain by pretending it doesn’t exist, but although we can try this all we want, in the end, we can’t hide from ourselves. We need to learn to open our hearts to the potentials of life and let the world soften us.
Whenever we start to let our fears and seriousness get the best of us, we should take a step back and re-evaluate our behavior. The items listed below are six ways you can open your heart more fully and completely.
1. Breathe into pain
Whenever a painful situation arises in your life, try to embrace it instead of running away or trying to mask the hurt. When the sadness strikes, take a deep breath and lean into it. When we run away from sadness that’s unfolding in our lives, it gets stronger and more real. We take an emotion that’s fleeting and make it a solid event, instead of something that passes through us.
By utilizing our breath we soften our experiences. If we dam them up, our lives will stagnate, but when we keep them flowing, we allow more newness and greater experiences to blossom.
2. Embrace the uncomfortable
We all know what that twinge of anxiety feels like. We know how fear feels in our bodies: the tension in our necks, the tightness in our stomachs, etc. We can practice leaning into these feelings of discomfort and let them show us where we need to go.
The initial impulse is to run away — to try and suppress these feelings by not acknowledging them. When we do this, we close ourselves off to the parts of our lives that we need to experience most. The next time you have this feeling of being truly uncomfortable, do yourself a favor and lean into the feeling. Act in spite of the fear.
3. Ask your heart what it wants
We’re often confused at the next step to take, making pros and cons lists until our eyes bleed and our brains are sore. Instead of always taking this approach, what if we engaged a new part of ourselves that isn’t usually involved in the decision making process?
I know we’ve all felt decisions or actions that we had to take simply due to our “gut” impulses: when asked, we can’t explain the reasons behind doing so — just a deep knowing that it had to get done. This instinct is the part of ourselves we’re approaching for answers.
To start this process, take few deep breaths then ask, “Heart, what decision should I make here? What action feels the most right?”
See what comes up, then engage and evaluate the outcome.
In this life, what did you miss?
The wife asked the husband when she was 25. Despondently, the husband replied: I missed a new job opportunity.
When she was 35, the husband angrily told her that he had just missed the bus.
At 45, the husband sadly said: I missed the oppotunity seeing my closed relative before his last breath.
At 55, the husband said disappointingly: I missed a good chance to retire.
At 65, the husband hurriedly replied: I missed a dental appointment.
At 75, the wife did not ask the husband anymore, the husband was kneeling in front of the very sick wife. Remembering the question the wife used to ask him, this time he asked the wife the same question. The wife, with a smile and peaceful look, replied: In this life, I did not miss having you!
The husband was full of tears. He always thought that they could be together forever. He was always busy with work and trifles. So much so he had never been thoughtful to his wife. The husband hugged the wife tightly and said: Over 50 years, how I had allowed myself to miss your deep love for me.
In the busy city life, there are many people who are always busy with work. These people revolve their lives around their jobs, these people sacrifice all their times and health to meet the social expectations. They are unwilling to spend times on health care. They miss the opportunity to be with their children in their growing up. They neglect the loved ones who care for them, and also their health.
Nobody knows what is going to happen one year from now.
Life is not permanent, so always live in the now. Express your gratitude to your loved ones in words. Show your care with actions. Treat everyday as the last episode of life. In this way, when you are gone, you loved ones would have nothing to feel sorry about.
Truly happy and successful people get that way by becoming the best, most genuine version of themselves they can be. Not on the outside--on the inside. Its not about a brand, a reputation, a persona. Its about reality. Who you really are.
Sounds simple, I know. It is a simple concept. The problem is, its very hard to do, it takes a lot of work, and it can take a lifetime to figure it out.
Nothing worth doing in life is ever easy. If you want to do great work, its going to take a lot of hard work to do it. And youre going to have to break out of your comfort zone and take some chances that will scare the crap out of you.
But you know, I cant think of a better way to spend your life. I mean, whats life for if not finding yourself and trying to become the best, most genuine version of you that you can be?
Thats what Steve Jobs meant when he said this at a Stanford University commencement speech:
Your time is limited, so dont waste it living someone elses life. Dont let the noise of others opinions drown out your own inner voice.
You have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something--your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you havent found it yet, keep looking. Dont settle.
Now, lets for a moment be realistic about this. Insightful as that advice may be, it sounds a little too amorphous and challenging to resonate with todays quick-fix culture. These days, if you cant tell people exactly what to do and how to do it, it falls on deaf ears.
Not only that, but what Jobs was talking about, what Im talking about, requires focus and discipline, two things that are very hard to come by these days. Why? Because, focus and discipline are hard. Its so much easier to give in to distraction and instant gratification. Easy and addictive.
To give you a little incentive to take on the challenge, to embark on the road to self-discovery, here are three huge benefits from working to become the best, most genuine version of yourself.
It will make you happy. Getting to know yourself will make you feel more comfortable in your own skin. It will reduce your stress and anxiety. It will make you a better spouse, a better parent, a better friend. It will make you a better person. Those are all pretty good reasons, if you ask me.
Besides, you really wont achieve anything significant in life until you know the real you. Not your brand, your LinkedIn profile, how you come across, or what anyone thinks of you. The genuine you. Theres one simple reason why you shouldnt try to be something youre not, and its that you cant. The real you will come out anyway. So forget your personal brand and start spending time on figuring out who you really are and trying to become the best version of that you can be.
Love Is Not Like Merchandise
A reader in Florida, apparently bruised by some personal experience, writes in to complain, If I steal a nickels worth of merchandise, I am a thief and punished; but if I steal the love of anothers wife, I am free.
佛罗里达州的一位读者显然是在个人经历上受过创伤, 他写信来抱怨道: “如果我偷走了五分钱的商品, 我就是个贼, 要受到惩罚, 但是如果我偷走了他人s妻子的爱情, 我没事儿。”
This is a prevalent misconception in many peoples minds---that love, like merchandise, can be stolen. Numerous states, in fact, have enacted laws allowing damages for alienation of affections.
这是许多人心目中普遍存在的一种错误观念——爱情, 像商品一样, 可以 “偷走”。实际上，许多州都颁布法令，允许索取“情感转让”赔偿金。
But love is not a commodity; the real thing cannot be bought, sold, traded or stolen. It is an act of the will, a turning of the emotions, a change in the climate of the personality.
When a husband or wife is stolen by another person, that husband or wife was already ripe for the stealing, was already predisposed toward a new partner. The love bandit was only taking what was waiting to be taken, what wanted to be taken.
We tend to treat persons like goods. We even speak of the children belonging to their parents. But nobody belongs to anyone else. Each person belongs to himself, and to God. Children are entrusted to their parents, and if their parents do not treat them properly, the state has a right to remove them from their parents trusteeship.
Most of us, when young, had the experience of a sweetheart being taken from us by somebody more attractive and more appealing. At the time, we may have resented this intruder---but as we grew older, we recognized that the sweetheart had never been ours to begin with. It was not the intruder that caused the break, but the lack of a real relationship.
On the surface, many marriages seem to break up because of a third party. This is, however, a psychological illusion. The other woman or the other man merely serves as a pretext for dissolving a marriage that had already lost its essential integrity.
Nothing is more futile and more self-defeating than the bitterness of spurned love, the vengeful feeling that someone else has come between oneself and a beloved. This is always a distortion of reality, for people are not the captives or victims of others---they are free agents, working out their own destinies for good or for ill.
But the rejected lover or mate cannot afford to believe that his beloved has freely turned away from him--- and so he ascribes sinister or magical properties to the interloper. He calls him a hypnotist or a thief or a home-breaker. In the vast majority of cases, however, when a home is broken, the breaking has begun long before any third party has appeared on the scene.