Then, before he even sits down to eat, Dharma says to me, "Son, are you living the life you're meant to live? You, know, Irwin, a frog may not always end up where he thought he was going, but he will always end up where he was meant o be." "Gee, Sir," I stammered, "I'm not sure if I'm living the life I'm meant to, or not." My wise teacher reminded me that life has a way of passing us by as we become busy with our schedules and daily routines. And, before you know it, moments have shifted, seasons have come and gone, and years have us by. Then we get hit by a reminder that nothing lasts forever; a serious illness, the passing of a loved one, the loss of a job. For while, we're jolted back to the present moment but, soon enough, the daily grind of life has shifted our attention back onto other things. It's hard to stay living in the present moment. Life can be very distracting.
Humans, and most frogs too, however, have this nagging inner voice (some call it a soul) that usually begins talking to us at 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning. It asks of us, "Are you living the life you were meant to live?" It's easy to silence this voice during the hectic hours of daytime but, alone at night, the voice begins to speak louder and louder. And then there comes the time when we, each one of us, can longer ignore or silence that voice. If you haven't given this question much thought lately, Dharma says now now might be a good time to start. He suggests asking yourself a few simple, yet powerful, questions.
1. What does success mean to me? We all a working definition of what success is. It's usually based, in large part, on our values and ideals. A way to gain clarity on this subject is to look at the people you most admire. How are they living their life? If more than one person inspires you, see if they have any commonalities. Then, think ahead 5, 10, even 20 years from now, if you were living your most successful life, what would you be doing? What would an ideal day look like? What difference would you be making...and for whom? The more thought you give to these questions, the more excited you'll become to live the life that wants to live within you.
2. How am I currently living my life? Ask yourself whether your are currently living in alignment with your ideal life. where are you currently spending your time? How are you interacting with others? What pursuits are you involved in? If you see big gaps, then you may want to spend sometime reflecting on why this is so. Have you set a standard that is too high? Or are you letting liming beliefs and fears hold you back? And it may just be that you're going through a transitional period of growth and change that is temporarily consuming you (and maybe zapping your energy). More often than not, however, these discrepancies exist because we're simply carrying on with our life and don't have a clear vision of what it is that we do want. We are simply going whichever way the wind blows us.
3. What can I begin doing today? If you're going down a path that you don't really feel you want to own, that's okay. Stop, take a deep breath of total acceptance, and then realize that you're just exactly where you need to be at this moment in time. Release the tension of disappointment, regret, and all those would haves, could haves should haves. Dharma says this is the perfect time to pat yourself on the back for making it this far. Realize, he said, that your entire life has been in preparation for this moment...whether it's a moment of reflection, of realization, or of celebration. Then ask yourself how you will structure your day, going forward incrementally, to achieve your highest vision. What goals will you set? What activities will your prioritize? What habits will you lose...and which ones will you create? And, most importantly, what step will you take toward your vision today?
This process, Dharma likes to say, is a bit like building something. First, you must have an idea; then you draw up a blueprint, assemble the parts and, finally, put the thing together in the most logical and straight forward way. If you like putting together jigsaw puzzles, think of this process as puzzle where the pieces represent everything about you - your strengths, your weaknesses, challenges, experiences, expertise, and values. How will you piece them all together into a beautiful representation of your journey here on earth, the lessons you learned, and the evidence that you leave behind? That puzzle is the answer your soul, or inner voice, will one day seek. As always, Dharma has hit the nail on the head.
After he left this morning, I knew what projects and questions I needed to work on over the coming days and weeks. Being a writer is something I love to do. I was meant to write. I don't doubt this at all. But I don't think that's ALL there is for me. So, I will follow Dharma's very wise suggestions and see if I can't find the rest of the life I am meant to be living.