Is it the length or breadth of life that matters most? Would you rather lead a life that’s long and inconsequential or a life that’s shorter and full of purpose? These questions are existential in nature, but they’re meant to provoke a deeper evaluation of what it means to be alive, to matter, to make a difference, and indeed, to be happy. I think the best way we can serve the world is to find personal happiness, which means different things to different people. I realized a while back that I needed to please myself to be happy. Not in an egotistical way, but in a way that honors the world and myself. I found out that I didn’t need to please others or help them or serve them in some way to make them like me or to feel a sense of self-worth. I discovered, through much soul-searching, that I needed to enrich, enlighten and heal myself in order to help heal the world, enrich it and enlighten it – through my being a good example – by loving myself fully. I also came to the conclusion that you or I can earn, gain or win anything we want in life – but we have to give up the fight, let go of our defenses and accept what is true now to receive the good of what we’re meant to experience. Some things are just “meant to be” and others are not. Flowing with change requires an open attitude, nothing more. I think when we can accept that life is constant change, when we can adjust without resistance, we can move on to greener pastures more easily and peacefully. Then real learning and growth takes place and the soul become free to express itself as genuine. But first, we have to feel safe and free doing so. We have to feel bold enough to take risks – to live confidently and courageously – and manage our fears and doubts as they come up. Learning to trust in your truth, your special and unique message, can help you live a broad and meaningful life. Then you can scoop up all the best parts of life and embrace the best parts of you consistently.
To be fully present and purposeful in life, one has to be brave enough to face their demons and faithful enough to embrace their angels. Then a true diversity of experience and knowledge becomes available, as if by magic. Fear and doubt, anger, shame and guilt should never become an immoveable object obstructing one’s path to happiness, to the fulfillment of their dreams. Those emotions are just guides telling us we’re heading in the right or wrong direction. You can see fear as excitement – as a signal that you’re approaching something that means a lot, that is purposeful and a new direction you should head in with courage to overcome the fear and grow from it. I always like the quote, “feel the fear and do it anyway.” That’s how you become stronger – that’s how you experience the breadth of life. It is a choice and can become a positive habit with practice. Untie any knots that conflict with your ability to move forward with the changes you have faith will make your life happier, healthier, wealthier and more whole.
With the diversity of experiences I’ve had in my one small life, I am coming to realize there is very little I should be afraid of. I’ve faced many things, tried to hide from others, but still my fears and anguish have been brought to the light to be healed. Pain can’t be escaped, it must be faced in order to heal. I’ve learned discipline of mind and body to cope with those times of doubt and regret, of worry and fright. I’ve also learned that if you don’t restrict yourself in how you think and lead your life, life will find a way to restrict you – mainly from doing harm, intentional or not. Freedom comes from such discipline of mind, body and emotion. It sets the spirit free to experience a greater self and to enlighten and enrich the world. Restricting the limits of your mind will never allow your full potential to blossom. We want to think big to succeed. Being broadminded enhances your courage and keeps you open to opportunity. Actions and habits are different. We want to have self-discipline over how we act. Restricting how you behave can give you stronger wings so you can fly higher. Discipline helps to set goals and to achieve them, not to set limits on what’s possible. It defines your actions and opens the door to greater accomplishment, service, healing and creativity. As Mark Twain said, “Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often. Suffering is the result of resistance; so much better to simply embrace people, things, feelings… as they are. Intolerance is a habit we’ve been taught, but it can be unlearned. Changing habits requires conscious practice.” Changing your life requires focus, awareness and willingness to rearrange aspects of yourself. Nothing can be denied or avoided forever – it all comes to the top as life boils away the excess so you can see the essential truth. So, isn’t it better to try, to attempt fulfillment, to face what’s uncomfortable or unknown, to strive for your dreams fruition, to design your destiny? Or is a passive course the only safe way? I think the greatest risk is not taking any risks at all. Courage leads us to our best destination. Fortune favors the bold.
I encourage you to find more breadth (and thus more breath) in your life. Try something new to diversify your soul. You never know if you’ll discover a greater part of yourself until you allow new experiences to flow in. If you’ve always been afraid of doing something or going somewhere, find a way to convince yourself that you are safe and free to trust and be that person, living in that moment, experiencing a whole new you. Follow the bliss of your dreams and uncover their hidden meaning – that you are far greater than the sum of your experiences so far. If you always wanted to go zip lining but never had the guts, research it and then make plans to do it. Then follow through so your inner self knows you mean business when facing your apprehensions. See if you enjoy flying by the seat of your pants. It may open up a whole new world of adventure for you and introduce you to a whole new you.
Maybe you love to travel but have neglected to make that special destination a priority. Save up some money, take time off work, set aside your worries and relinquish your duties to everyone else so you can meet yourself again in that new place. If it’s an educational or career opportunity that you believe would broaden your enjoyment of life, seek out the knowledge and experience you desire until you find it. Make yourself available to others, too. We find our greatest happiness and widest understanding through our relationships – romantic, familial, communal, professional or platonic. Volunteer your time and energy toward a good cause if you want to manifest a greater, more generous part of yourself. Get way out into nature every so often to breathe deeply and see how far the universe stretches to meet your eyes. Take an art class, sing in a choir or join an organization you think would benefit your self-expression. Clean out your closets and donate your old clothes and shoes to charity, “feng shui” your home or start a vegetable or flower garden if you want to revive the feeling in your personal sanctuary. Get involved with more meaningful activities, get help with personal issues or get a pet if you want more love, joy and healing in your life. Learn to laugh at your flaws, allow yourself to be moved to tears when needed, appreciate the miracle of each moment and feel how incredible your life really is. Agree to let life in so you can get the most out of it. There’s a million ways to make your life better if you want to. Change is always available. Just don’t let yourself stay stuck in your habits or you’ll shortchange your dreams and wind up cancelling out broader possibilities.
If you tend to get caught up in your day-to-day habitual existence you may forget how much variety there is in the world. So many different people, cultures, languages, environments, foods, dance, art, music, spiritual practices, social traditions, scientific endeavors, hopes, desires and dreams exist all around us, everyday. Take inspiration from that and break your shell, knock down your walls and dare to be and feel more of that diversity, especially the uniqueness within yourself. Dare to grow and change into a greater you with broader experience and understanding, for that is what trying new things does – that “risk” emboldens and strengthens you and makes you more patient, tolerant and accepting of all the world’s gifts and wisdom, no matter how strange they may seem to be at first. In the world, or inside yourself, a stranger is indeed just a friend you haven’t met. Letting go of expectations, releasing experiences of the past and giving up control of what’s outside your sphere of influence can help you bridge the gap between what you know and what makes you uneasy. Becoming the CEO of You, Inc. and only needing the approval of your executive self in all your choices will set you free to make bolder decisions and pave new, broad inroads to success and fulfillment. Only when you cherish the best and most interesting parts of who you are and forgive your frailties can you claim the wide, wonderful world as your oyster.
We can get lost in our own little world of needs and desires, of obligations and responsibilities, of devices and distractions. We find crutches and excuses, ways of denying our purpose and burying our light. We get pushed and rushed and stressed into doing things we often simply don’t understand our part in or even wind up resenting. But if it doesn’t feel right, intuitively, don’t let yourself be forced into a negative pattern. If you need to slow down and unplug – do it – or life will find a way to slow you down. Certainly the point of life is not to see how fast you can lead it. Every now and again we need to detach and reconvene with our more basic nature. Praying, meditating, listening to melodic music or just taking quiet time for yourself can help. Leaving time to dream and making space to live largely with brave resolve to be your personal best and bless the world with that power is a divine way to live. Teach your fears that they have no power over you, use them as a barometer for identifying exciting new challenges to overcome, nothing more. Let your fears die as you are reborn stronger and wiser for confronting them. Risk taking a chance on making your life fuller, on making yourself happier. That, in turn, becomes a blessing to the world. Perhaps the greatest responsibility one has in life is the development of one’s self and to share that unique gift with the world for it’s growth. We are each one piece of an enormous puzzle, each resolving the picture of humanity’s beauty and truth. We have so much to offer each other in this journey of life, but we must be willing to give and receive – to share – to experience life broadly and openly, to learn and grow together. We must be willing to give up our fears of being different and diverse. For that is what we each have in common – we are all unique – we all share the fact that we are all different. Being special and unique is what makes us all alike. Embrace your special, precious self and share it with the world. Share and celebrate in the breadth of the world’s diversity and in your own unique experience. Be thankful for all you’ve come to live and know for therein resides your richness and fullness. As you meditate on these ideas and breathe in life’s daily miracles, take in the breadth of life – feel how powerful it is – and feel that its true source of good begins within you. Finding peace and contentment in life isn’t about closing off or leading a small life. It’s about being open and daring yourself to try big things. You never know what good may come or how the road may wind… but that’s half the fun of taking the adventure. May your horizons be ever broader!
“Once I thought helping to fix, heal or save the world would bring me peace. Now I know I must first find peace inside to help fix, heal and save the world.” ~DJ