I want to tell you a big secret about me today. There’s one thing that drives me more than anything else to co-create and live this life I hope to keep creating and living and growing into. And you may be very surprised to find out what that one thing is.
The greatest thing that drives me is imagining this following scenario:
I am in a bed. I’m quite advanced in age. My body shows signs of normal wear and tear from a long, filled life. I have a feeling it won’t be too long now until the time I believe I’ll be transitioning into spirit form. I have a bit of apprehension about this process, but not too much. I sense it will be gentle.
As I lay in this bed, I look back on my life. As I’ve often been, I am in reflective mode. I imagine what my life has been like. I see all the people, places, and experiences that brought me joy. I think about all the things I’ve struggled with, all the lessons I’ve learned.
And as I look back, I feel content. I feel satisfied. I know I’ve done my best. I know I’ve been able to forgive myself for those times when I stumbled my way through some of my greatest lessons. And I know I’ve had plenty of joy.
...Yes. This is the scenario that drives me.
You likely know about me by now that I’ve been through a lot of losses and a lot of new beginnings. I’ve seen the full cycle of life play out in many ways, both literally and metaphorically.
So the greatest thing that drives me to live is to focus on what I might feel when I am very close to the nighttime of my life, if I am lucky enough then to have the time to reflect on my life as a whole.
Maybe to you this sounds a little morbid. It may make you uncomfortable even thinking about this idea. And we all know, of course, that not everyone has such a chance to reflect in this way when that time comes. I am no stranger to this lesson. My father was one of those people who didn’t get that chance.
But yet, this is the biggest thing that drives me. Thinking about the end of my life inspires me to live. It inspires me to live now. To say those things I want to say to people now. To catch people doing good now. To allow for deeper forgiveness of myself and others now. And to keep using my gifts to try to make a difference in this world now.
Because now is truly a gift. And if you’ve experienced loss of any kind in your life, you surely know this idea well.
Many times we don’t like to think about the ending, definitely not about losing loved ones or about our own final days. It can be overwhelming. But for me, at least, I’ve found that it’s a disservice to myself not to think about the ending.
It’s not that I obsess over this idea every minute of every day. But if I don’t keep it in the back of my mind, I know that I’ll let life carry me off in a million other directions. I’ll let society dictate most of my life. I’ll let the people who I love and the other voices I hear around me, such as through any form of media, tell me what I should and shouldn’t be doing with my life, and how I should or shouldn’t be living it.
And although some of these people may love and care for me, the truth is that they’re not living my life. My one and only life as me, here on this amazing planet.
I’m living that life. And therefore, I get the chance to choose.
I get to choose what’s most important to me.
I get to choose the ways I hope to make a difference here in this world.
And I get to choose so much more than I may have once thought I was able to choose. All because I decided that I would get to choose these things, and then actually try to practice each day following through on deciding.
I get to choose how I treat my body now—how much I allow it to move, and what food and drink I put into it. Because at the end, or even years before the end, this may really matter. And if I had a choice, and if it were to matter, I’d rather leave here peacefully than live years of a chronic illness that maybe I could have not had if I would have made different choices earlier. That doesn't mean that I think I can prevent all chronic illnesses. It just means that I can try to do the best with what I know in order to keep myself as healthy as I can be.
I get to choose how much joy I allow myself to experience. And that’s not just vacation-like joy. That’s the possible joy in every moment. That’s the joy that arises so often from doing my work. That’s the joy of seeing a beautiful flower out in the garden, a fluttering butterfly, or a stunning sunset. And that’s the joy I find when I allow myself to be grateful for it all—all the lessons, all the wonder, and all those I am blessed to come in contact with each day. For all of those people, I know, are miraculous light-beings at their cores, just like me. And all of these lessons, hard as some of them may seem, are the lessons that will help me continue to grow into better and better versions of myself.
Choosing may frighten some. Many will make excuses. “I can’t do this (something I’ve always thought of/dreamt of/wanted to do) because.....” "I have this limitation that I believe must dictate a lot of my choices for me..." And many will become cynical, apathetic, and hard-heartened as they look at the state of this world right now. Maybe they'll think, "Why bother? We're all going to die anyway."
But the truth is, if you really want something enough, and if you decide it's worth it enough to you to "bother," you will find a way. Who knows? Your deciding to care greatly about yourself or others may just change your life and possibly the state of the world in both big and small ways that you haven't even dreamed of. You just have to let your life matter enough to you to believe that this is possible.
The other truth here is that you have to have at least some idea of what you really want in your life. And you have to have reasons that you want these things. Those reasons need to be as strong as rock for you. Because if they’re not all that important to you, then you probably won’t follow through. ;)
I want to give you a humbling challenge today.
I want to challenge you to make a list of 5 things that, given the opportunity, you will have wanted to have done and have been reflecting on when that time comes for you in your own life. If it helps you, maybe you can even picture the scenario now. Imagine that you know for sure that you only have a few days left here on this planet as you. What will you have wished you had done in your life? What will you be grateful that you’ve done in your life? What will make you feel contented and satisfied as you reflect?
The purpose of this exercise isn’t to bring up regrets or to make you feel inadequate about anything. Why? Because you are here right now. YOU. ARE. ALIVE. And that means that you still have the chance to do any of those 5 things, or to start planning for ways that you can do them. You have that chance. This very minute. Right now.
And by the way, here’s my own personal two cents on regret: Regret doesn’t have to exist once we learn how to forgive ourselves and others, and to understand that everyone is doing the best they can in any given situation. But that’s a topic for another day. ;)
So make that list of your 5 things. Make it right now, right after you finish reading this reflection. Take the three minutes of your day that you might use to check Facebook or to turn on your favorite TV show. If you don’t have pen and paper handy, at least start thinking about it, and take those three minutes later today when you can write your list down.
Then put this list somewhere where you will see it every day. Where you will be reminded each day of these 5 things. Where you will actually be led to think about them. :)
I promise you—you won’t regret getting clearer on what you really want in your own life. All you have to do is believe how possible it is for you to accomplish those things.
Do not write this list with thoughts of, “Well, that will never happen.” Because if you think that way, they won’t for sure!
Let possibility enter your heart today. And with possibility, know how much ability you really have to make these things happen. Maybe you don’t know how some of them will happen right now. But maybe you can start to make a plan.
Taking more control over your life can be scary when you’re not used to it. But for me, I know it is the biggest thing that allows me to imagine my end-of-life scenario with as much peace and contentment as I am able. I want to know then that I did everything I could and that I was all of who I know I can be. No matter what the outcomes, I want to know that I gave it my best shot. And for me, at least, my best shot will mean that I was able to do so many of the things I really wanted to do while I was here.
What are those 5 things that you really want to do? Who do you really want to be, now that you’re grown up? It doesn’t have to include one specific thing, one specific career or job or experience. Maybe it’s a handful of things. It doesn’t have to include what may feel like a great calling. Maybe it does. Or maybe it feels like a simple calling. And both, and all in between, are so vital to the health of this world. What matters is that it’s what you want.
What do you want to do here, in this one life as YOU, on this amazing planet?
What lights you up? What inspires you? Where can you acknowledge that you may have more choice in certain areas of your life than you may have previously realized?
Lots to think about here. But all important stuff. At least it is to me. Or I wouldn’t be writing about it. ;)
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Are you curious to explore more of who you are and what you want from your life? Check out my new book here. It’s a wonderful space for you to do some great reflection of your own. http://www.francinebrocious.com/all-about-me-book/
No matter what, always remember this: You are deserving, you are worthy, and you are good enough. Keep being you, keep shining, and keep growing!
With great love,