Dear S. G.:
Believe it or not, I started this letter almost ten days ago. And since then, its contents, language and message changed quite considerably. As I look through the years I see someone who’s been blessed, tossed and lost. At one time or another, we’ve all experienced extremely difficult times and trials. You’ve been blessed, sailed the world, visited twenty-six different countries and are considered a survivor, not because of know-how and ingenuity, but because of grace and love.
All in all, being successful has little to with your portfolio or the size of one’s home. Success is largely dependent upon learning to live by aligning your personal beliefs with professional beliefs. Thus, I leave you with three major lessons from which to learn.
Lesson #1: If you find something or someone worth the fight, fight hard. Don’t end this life from a position of fear. Don’t allow failure to defeat you. Don’t live in regrets. Live knowing you gave it your all; that you put yourself on the line more than being afraid. Do not allow fear to conquer you.
If you need an example, take the parable of the rich man:
“As he was going out into the way, one ran to him, knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”
Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except one–God. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not give false testimony,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and mother.'”
He said to him, “Teacher, I have observed all these things from my youth.” Jesus looking at him loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack. Go, sell whatever you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me, taking up the cross.”
But his face fell at that saying, and he went away sorrowful, for he was one who had great possessions.“
The rich man did everything right. He lived the ‘Ten Commandments.’ Still, he could not sacrifice the one thing that separated him from true love. Imagine how difficult that must be – to give of yourself completely for another?
You and your true love lived this lesson. While loving each other deeply, each of you could not give unto each other completely. Some would say our inability to completely surrender to other was ordained, as if God smacked us for our love: between a then married man and an unmarried woman. Rather than finding our strength in God, each of you gave fear … the fear of others, rumors, innuendo, snickers. I wonder of the beauty of our life if we lived in unison, conquering our fear and giving up that one thing we held onto.
Lesson #2: Align yourself to the vision you want to live. Assess yourself. Take an inventory of your life. What’s the vision? Are you living that vision? Do you live in fear or in love? Do you remain true to your values. Find the one thing you’re committed to and align that commitment to your works. Stay well and live life.
What happens most is what a participant in one of the poet David Whyte’s seminars poignantly described: “Ten years ago I turned my head for a moment and it became my life.” This woman understood she had not taken advantage of the fact that life is emergent. One step leads to the next. An authentic life is like going up a darkened staircase. The third step is visible only after we step from the first to the second step. When we insist on being able to see the third step from the first step, we become paralyzed and fossilized.
Keep your vision aligned and you will rarely walk darkened stairs.
Lesson #3: It’s never too late to live a constructive life. No matter how old you are, it’s never too late to live a constructive life.
I recently had the opportunity to see “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” I, who am nearing life’s end, was uplifted by a strong, courageous voice exclaiming it’s never too late to change your life.
“It’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be.
There’s no time limit.
Start whenever you want.
You can change or stay the same.
There are no rules to this thing.
We can make the best or the worst of it.
I hope you make the best of it.
I hope you see things that startle you.
I hope you feel things you never felt before.
I hope you meet people who have a different point of view.
I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start it all over again.”