The older I get, the more I come to terms with the knowledge that my life is ending. This is not a morbid thought at all. It should not come as a surprise to any human who has reached the age of reason that life is a journey no one survives. I still believe I have decades to go, but it is my time to prepare those who come after me to live more fulfilling lives. My lesson is this, you cannot live fully hanging on to those things you fear loosing.
My life journey has uncovered the true illusion of possessions. The old saying that “you can’t take it with you” is accurate. Egyptian pyramids treasure hunters were the first witnesses to the fact that the mummified elite could not take the treasures that were buried with them.
If this is so obvious, why is it we spend so much of our lives fearing the loss of people, wealth, titles, youth, health, etc. when we already know that our separation from them is inevitable?
Like so many, I did not posses the right thinking about my possessions. I lived clinging to that stubborn illusion of what was “mine”. I deluded myself into believing those things were mine to “lose”. Despite all evidence to the opposite, I allowed no room to accept n my consciousness the impermanent existence of everything. I also refused to celebrate the events in my life, whether good nor bad, for the way they helped shape who I am.
My first and biggest “loss” came at the hands of my parents when they put me on a plane from Cuba to the United States in 1961 to escape Castro’s Cuba. This journey made my parents and I forfeit many years we should have spent together. It also took away my culture, birth home, family, friends, and everything that had once been familiar. In the wake of all this suffering, I lost my childhood.
There were many other gains and losses. I had my first job in high school and lost it months later. I developed my first crush only to have my attention spurned. Lost my virginity when I was nineteen (although that was without question the most enjoyable loss I have ever experienced). I have enjoyed triumphs and failures in my love relationships. I have held high positions in government and have been removed form them. I have experienced being poor and, later, affluent. I have tasted the nectar of youth and now I am old. I could go on listing the litany of gains and losses, but that would be boring.
My years on this earth have shown me that change is the only constant. This makes trying to hold on to anything an incorrect choice. In fact, the choice to hang on does not really exist. The only decision we have truly had within our power is to engage in fear or in love. Mourning the changes was the standard in my life until I saw it was my attachment to comfort and stability that was causing me pain. It was only by learning to let go of my attachments to secular things that I began to grow other aspects of my humanity.
So how does one live loving life? I am still working on it, but I offer the following advice that continues to help me along the way.
1) Stop judging your life and trust it.
You do this by trusting that everything is in its right order. There is not one thing out of place, not one experience that did not contribute to making you. No matter what choice you make, it will ultimately lead you to your own growth, You cannot fail, so don’t be afraid to change the norm or do things that scare you.
2) Let go of the past.
Sure hindsight is 20/20, but the past is the past, you did the best you could at the time. Stop blaming yourself for all you perceive to be negative. Judging yourself is simply another way to relive the past, a pretty fruitless effort. The past was never meant to be relived in the future.
3) Work towards a healthy love of self.
If you don’t love yourself, no one will do it for you. Furthermore, if you don’t learn to love yourself, exactly as you are, you will never develop the capacity to love someone else. Without love of self, all your relationships will be built on a weak foundation. Self-love begins when you forgive yourself for all of those things you did or failed to do. This is an outfall of doing what is on point one.
4) Trust that you were meant to live your life uniquely.
This is why your experiences have and will continue to be singularly yours. Every life has its own unique path that has shaped them different from another. There is not a right or wrong mold. By. letting go of your pursuit to be liked and accepted bu others, you can embrace your inner flow of love, forgiveness, courage, acceptance, joy and gratitude.
5) See how your life is working for you and not against.
Your birth enrolled you into the earth school. Every experience has been there to help you evolve and mature. Since your very beginning you have been learning and growing from your life events. This is your journey, to develop into the authentic human being you were born to be. Everything in your environment has been there to assist in that effort.
There is an old Spanish saying that really summarizes these points: “Even out of the worst of things, good things come”. These words remind us that everything can be converted to good. We do this by the attitude we choose when moving forward. When we understand and believe life is working on our behalf, we will use our talents to create a greater good and we will live a life beyond our dreams.
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