Tag Archive | Lessons learned

But Did I Live….?

The Wealthiest place on the planet is the graveyard, because in the graveyard we will find inventions that we were never exposed to, ideas, dreams that never became a reality, hopes and aspirations that were never acted upon.” ~Les Brown

 

I think about the above quote a lot lately. I guess it’s a side affect of talking to people about death every day.  Oddly death isn’t really the thing it makes me think about, but because I talk about death all day when I’m alone my thoughts turn more to life. I’ve made my peace with death already, not in a I’m ready to go kind of way. I would describe it is as more of a I’m not afraid of you, so you no longer rule my life type of way. Funny thing is that I have noticed that there are more people out there that are afraid of life than they are of death. I don’t know about you but when the bright light comes and beckons me to follow it, I want to be able to move on knowing I did the things that brought me joy and not look back and wonder, but did I live…..

      I know I lived in the sense that I had the jobs, made the money, paid the bills and did the things that I was taught to do. None of those things necessarily any more fulfilling than the other, they all amount to a hamster wheel we seem to get caught up on and can’t seem to find our way off. I’ve had the weddings, the divorces, the relationships that I just can’t seem to get right. Don’t get me wrong they all gave me what I needed at the time and I wouldn’t be half of who I am without even one of them. All those things thrown into a scrapbook together will certainly make a life, but that bigger question to me lies just a little deeper below the surface and it still asks, I know I had a life, but did I live….

Did I ever, even just once throw a dream up into the air so high I couldn’t see if it was coming back, and just hold my arms out open wide, eyes closed with faith that I could catch it? Did I stay so closed off in my walls of distrust that I missed the fact that I could have made a difference, or did I live with a completely open heart? Did I help when I could? Did I speak out when someone needed a voice, or did I pretend that mine didn’t matter? Did I write the book? Did I take the trip? Did I sing the song, the one that only I can hear? These are the things I ponder when I hear the words, but did I live…

      Trust me when I say that contemplating death makes people come up with notebooks full of regret. Things they wish they had done different, people that they wish they would have stayed in touch with and a body that they wished they would have loved enough to take care of. More people than we realize have a mind so full of regret the it’s the first to die. I hope that like me, you refuse to be the person with the deathbed regrets. I hope you live with a wide-open heart, ready for all possibilities. I hope you live with gratitude for life, because each second is a gift.  I hope you cultivate joy in your life and not just things. Make memories and not just paychecks. I hope you take a deep dive into the mysteries of life and if you ever find yourself asking the question, but did I live….

 I hope the only answer that you can shout from the rooftops is YES!     

Scars

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I just saw a quote, that fell in love with me and doesn’t seem to want to leave my head. I don’t know where it came from, it doesn’t say or I could give it proper credit. “My scars are part of my story. They are reminders of how life tried to break me…..and failed.” I don’t often think about my scars, I’m well aware that they exist and I know the story to all of them. When that quote struck me I started thinking about why of all the things in life that I have been through, would these seemingly bad moments when something hurt so bad that it left a permanent mark to remind me of the pain, why would these be moments that I want to remember. Why would that moment need marked?

The oldest scar that I can remember getting is a tiny round one on my right hand just below my thumb. I’ve had that scar since I was about 6 years old. I got a wood splinter in my hand and it was so small that you couldn’t see It. I’m not sure how long it had been there when my hand became infected. I remember my grandmother was the one who found it, and she was the home remedy grandma, not the emergency room grandma. So she basically held me down and used a safety pin dipped in alcohol and lots of alcohol to clean out my infection. Again my mind wonders….why this moment? Who wants to remember this? I had so many amazing moments with my grandmother why did I have to keep this one? Maybe …..that moment was the moment where I developed a love for home remedies. Maybe, on a deeper level, that was the first moment that I experienced that level of compassion from someone. To love someone so much that you were going to help them even if they fight you.

Maybe I thought there is something to this scar thing, but maybe it’s not all pain like the quote suggests, maybe those scars are the greatest moments of love that you’ve experienced here?

Having never thought about this much before, this thought will need some more examining…..

My next set of scars that I remember are on my face, my lips to be exact. I crashed my grandfather’s ATV when I went up a steep hill that I had never tried to go up before. I always watched everyone else bravely ride to the top while I parked and walked up my uncles house. This day though I was out by myself. I pulled up to the creek beside which I would normally park next to when I would walk. I sat there for a few minutes and thought to myself that I knew I could make it to the top no problem. All I had to do was stand up just as I got through the water and throw my weight forward like everyone else did when they did it. How hard is that? That’s it I thought, today is the day. Tomorrow my brother will no longer be able to make fun of me for having to park and walk, tomorrow they would all know that I could do it to! So I started going really fast and got across the water no problem,  and the next thing I really remember is lying on my back and watching the ATV coming down on top of me. I was 12 I would have been crushed. The handle of the big bike hit me in the mouth, knocked out teeth, cracked others split my lips open in 2 places, and then instead of continuing to come down on top of me it rolled to the side and fell back down into the water.

After that, the next moment I remember I was spitting out teeth in the creek and trying to wash the blood out of my mouth with water. Then I walked the rest of the way to my uncle’s house ( this was in the middle of nowhere with no neighbors to see what had happened and long before cell phones), I went inside, got some washcloths and tried again to clean up and was able to assess the damage. I know I thought about calling my mom, but thought she was going to be really mad and my face hurt, my head hurt and my arm was really hurting, I didn’t feel like getting yelled at, so I decided to walk the mile home. As if somehow by walking home I was going to be able to hide the fact that I was missing teeth and my face was split open. But again, I was 12 so I know somehow this made sense in my head. When I got home my mom was gone, but my dad was there. He of course wanted to know what happened so I choked it out through a thousand tears. He told me to go lay down and that he would be back. He went to get my mom and see if the ATV could be taken home. My mom took me to the hospital where it turned out that I had a broken arm, needed 6 stiches in the corner of my lip and another 8 in the center of my bottom lip, and after all of that I was going to require multiple dentist visits that I wasn’t looking forward to. As I think about this I have to once again wonder, why this moment? With all of the good times that we had playing on those why is this one the main one that I had to keep? Maybe it was all so that I could learn that some things are dangerous and if I was always trying to keep up with the boys something really bad was going to happen. Or maybe, if you go a level deeper, then maybe this was the first moment that I had the experience that life is precious. One bad decision, could quickly take it all away. Once again I wondered if instead of what I always thought was such a bad thing, or even an ugly thing especially being on my face, maybe this to was love.

I could go on and on, as I have numerous scars, and I could tell you the stories of each and every one of them. How they came to be, which shoes I was wearing when I got a certain blister, what I am discovering about each one. How inevitably weather it was a moment that almost took my life, or a moment that changed my life like the stretch marks that line my belly I found a moment in there that was nothing but pure love. I could also go through the one’s that you cannot see with your eyes, I can only feel them with my heart. They are the inside scars the ones we carry for our loved ones no longer here, or for those that broke our hearts on the journey to where we sit today. Those also carry with them profound lessons and so much love. I could tell you about them all like I said, but I think you get the point.

They say that everything in life is love, that in the truth of everything that we have done or experienced, be it what we think is bad or what we think is good at the core of it when we look back on it there was always love there.   I’ll never look at my scars the same. Where there is love there is life, and that is what we are all covered up with….life! Now I think that the more scars one has is just how much they have lived, experienced and loved, and isn’t that the point?

Episode 2: Finding What’s Real

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Sometimes you have to lose everything to find yourself. I can’t remember where I heard that, but as I sit here tonight in my half empty apartment it keeps running through my head. It seems like I just moved and got rid of half my things. Yet the reality of I’m moving again and getting rid of the rest of my things is staring at me amongst all of the boxes. I know I should be completely freaked out right now, funny thing is there is such a calm about me ……..

     A few days later……

     It was a hot miserable day today so I’m sitting outside on my dear friends patio looking at the sky and hoping to catch a glimpse of one of those stars that you can’t see through the city lights, and I’m thinking, I can’t believe I really did it! I can’t believe I actually quit my job, got rid of almost everything that I own, gave up my apartment and am now relying on the kindness of my friends for a place to sleep. The part that is the most shocking is the knowing that I have never been this brave before. Certainly not brave enough to not be afraid. This time that little person inside my head that says “what the *#$% are you doing” hasn’t found it’s voice.  I can honestly say that in the best of times I don’t remember ever feeling this at peace. It has been amazing how swift and smoothly things are transitioning in and out of my life. Some days I can’t believe how quickly the things I need are being brought to me and how fast the things that no longer serve me are disappearing. I think this is the process they speak of when they mention “letting go, and letting God”. It’s faith for sure there is no doubt.    

     This story does have a warning for others however. Remember that saying your mother used to use….and yes all mothers used this one “be careful what you wish for, you just might get it”. About a year ago I was sitting with my Life Coach and we were discussing how I could get better at letting people in…you know, like actually connecting with people in a real way. I laugh now at how a couple of times he would really want to do the facepalm, but instead would just look at me and say “this can’t be this hard!” Hardest thing I have ever done in my life coach! This of course was in the middle of a lot of hard things like moving out of the house that had been my home of 17 years, and quitting my job where I was secure and embarking on a new adventure. (Said new adventure turned out badly if you hadn’t guessed that) I have to say though that during this last year of my life I have made some of the best friends that I have ever had in my life, and learned how to connect with anyone almost instantly. That part of the journey I would have to say has been well worth it. Don’t get me wrong here I’m not saying that I’m cured and I’ve gotten completely over my whole letting people in thing. It still seems that those I would most like to let in are the ones that are the hardest to give a key to. Now I see myself still learning this lesson and finding myself learning to let people in, in a whole new way. I’m not sure if my coach would be proud that I’m doing it, or still shaking his head going “this can’t be this hard!” All I have to say for myself is apparently some people have to do things the hard way, and my parents often tell me that I’ve been hard headed since birth.

     Even with all of that I’m still at peace. I’ve come to the conclusion that the peace comes from finally having a clear vision of the things I want. It’s crazy how the universe works, get rid of everything you have so you can find what you want. For the first time I have a clear vision of the me I want to become. I feel like I have direction in a way I’ve never had it before. The difference in this one and the old one? This one isn’t about the pursuit of money. This vision is in pursuit of just being the best version of me that I can possibly be so that I can help others become the best versions of themselves. Sometimes you have to lose everything to find yourself…..or maybe that should read sometimes you have to let go of all the things you think are everything and go out and find what’s real. What’s real is our connections, not just to our family and friends but to all of the people that we meet every day. They all have something to teach us if we’re listening.