“The miracle of love comes to you in the presence of the un-interpreted moment. If you are mentally somewhere else, you miss real life.” —Byron Katie
“You have one year to live.”
For a good part of my life I have wondered, with a fair degree of anxiety, if someone, someday would utter these terrifying words to me. In my gloomy nightmare it’s been discovered that I have an incurable disease, and my life will soon be over.
Instant grief, fear of pain and suffering, incredible sadness all come rushing into my imagination as I create a scenario in my heart about my own death. Who will love my children the way I do? Will my husband find love again? How many dreams will I never see come true? What happens to me when I die?
When I blend these painful thoughts with our societal values to accomplish and succeed at life at any cost, it’s no wonder I experience stress and fear. I feel the cultural treadmill constantly pushing me forward toward something. How can I die without achieving the right career, the perfect relationship, money, and a mission in life that will define my purpose for being alive?
I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t “do” things, have goals and live our dreams to the fullest. What I am wondering about is the other half of the formula; what we in the western world collectively condemn as frivolous and not productive. Being.
To me being-ness is about embracing the present, seeing others and myself in the context of who I am, not what I do. Holding the values of compassion and inclusion. Seeing as much value in dancing, painting or dangling my bare feet in a stream as I do in building a successful coaching practice. In essence, becoming attentive to the vibrancy and texture of every experience in which I find myself.
When I spend energy resisting the inevitable natural outcome of life I rob myself of living. I’m the one proclaiming the end. Every time I leave the present moment and project myself into some glorious or uncertain future or relive my past with regret, I miss the possibility of truly being in my life right here, right now.
When I awoke from my nightmare, I realized why I named my coaching practice “Path of Purpose” and what a path of purpose truly is. It’s the path itself. It’s the process of life unfolding perfectly in every moment.
Said another way, it’s not where the path leads that’s so important. Instead, it’s the path itself that brings us the most joy and fulfillment.
As I continue to clarify the balance of my being and doing, my thoughts and feelings about life take on a whole new quality. My appreciation for life is expanding, and I’m learning to live with greater awareness, gratitude and fullness.
If I were suddenly faced with a life threatening illness, certainly I would be afraid and would not want to depart this life prematurely. That being said, having emerged from my gloomy nightmare, I’ve awakened to the inherent gift of life along the path of purpose. The gift is the path itself.
As long as I remain on the path, I know I’ll arrive at the end of my life without wondering if I have truly lived.
It’s your life…imagine the possibilities!