When finding a passion and Living a legacy it’s not only about leaving your fingerprint on the world, it’s about awakening your spirit. Soon after my heart attack in 2005, when I knew that there had to be more to life, everyday that I continued living my old life, it was like a part of me was dying a little bit each day.
A way that I look at this is that there’s not just alive or dead. There are degrees of aliveness and degrees of being dead. So we can be experiencing deadness even while alive.
If we take an extreme example, imagine Bob goes to a 9 to 5 job that he hates. Bob goes home to a wife who doesn’t respect him, and his kids disrespect him too. There’s little Love in Bob’s days, and weeks. And as far as Bob can see it, there’s very little hope of anything changing. This is a pretty dead experience.
Maybe you can relate to Bob’s experience a little bit. When you are just doing your best to make it though the month or the week, you really aren’t thriving. Perhaps this is your financial situation. You are living paycheck to paycheck. Or maybe money isn’t the issue. Instead, you are just going through the motions. Money is flowing in, but you’re just making it by in your relationships. Or maybe nothing is really wrong, but nothing is really right either. No matter the specifics, if you’re in this category, you’re not dead, but you’re not fully alive either.
There are three key elements that I believe need to be present to awaken your spirit and experience the fullness of life:
1. Your life stands for something
When it all comes down to it, if your life is for nothing, you experience some level of deadness. This can take on various forms. It can be gaining for yourself – things, and experiences. This is living to get.
I get a new car. I get a new house. I get to watch tv shows. I get to experience Disneyland. I get to experience white water rafting. I get all this, and then I die, and there’s very little of me left in the world. It was mostly for nothing.
It can even be about doing what you love, which to many, sounds like a calling. However if it doesn’t benefit the world, it’s really no different than just another way to gain good experiences for yourself.
This was my experience. I spent a lot of years creating computer software. I had a lot of fun doing it, and I excel at it, but when I had my heart attack, I found myself wondering if I had benefited anyone though it, or if it was just cool and nifty. Was my software life giving in some way, or was it dead?
We all need to know that our life is meaningful. We need to live with passion and purpose. We need to live with a giving spirit so that a lot of us lives on in others after we’re done here on the earth.
If you don’t have a purpose for your life, someone else will. And it probably wont be what you’d pick for yourself. To awaken your spirit, you need to be a stand for something that expresses itself in the world.
2. You are stretching yourself regularly
If you aren’t stretching yourself regularly, you are probably just playing it safe. Playing it safe isn’t living giving, and neither is it thriving. You are just settling for what’s convenient or easy. This isn’t playing life to win. This is playing life to not lose. And there’s a lot of deadness in it.
When you think of being fully alive, you probably don’t think of playing it safe. That’s because to be fully alive and awaken your spirit, you need to grow and stretch yourself.
3. Love flows in, through and around you
Finally to experience the fullness of life, you need to experience love. Normally we think of love as something that is given to us by others. While this is true, it’s not the whole truth. The full experience of love also includes us loving others through action. It also includes creating an environment for love to flow in others.
Here at Simply Great Lives, we like to ask ourselves, “If we really loved this person, what would we do?” The answer to this question can go pretty deep – especially when we discard the immediate surface answers we come up. Sometimes the most loving thing we can do is uncomfortable.
To awaken your spirit, love needs to flow in, through and and around you. Otherwise, it’s all mechanical and there’s no true passion in what you’re doing.
In the end, living your calling is far more that just being nice to people or occasionally giving back. or being satisfied. Living your legacy is all about transforming your part of the world, and at the same time, awakening your spirit and living to full.
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