Two of my greatest childhood idols, John Havlicek and Bart Starr, have passed away. I mourn their losses and thank them for the thrills they brought into my life. Who can ever forget Bart Starr leading his Green Bay Packers to victory against the Dallas Cowboys in the “Ice Bowl”, one of the greatest football games of all times?
John Havlicek won eight NBA championships during his sixteen-year career with the Boston Celtics. I admired him so much that I tried to mirror the way I played basketball after his. .
Havlicek and Starr were gods to me when I was a kid and I hoped to one day become the kind of god they were.
But they weren’t gods. Despite their many heroic accomplishments, new, shinier gods soon replaced them in their sport. Havlicek and Starr were not immortal, and they soon faded away into obscurity after their retirements.
I found out about their deaths in the same way, from a small banner announcement at the bottom of the screen on ESPN 2. I shed a tear for each one of them when the announcements were shown. I also thanked them because of the love for sports and exercise that I developed from trying to be like them.
Childhood idols as spiritual teachers
There is a great lesson in the life of these two athletes. As one takes a perspective of their lives, it is easy to see that their accomplishments were no greater than anything you and I have ever done, the only difference is that theirs happened in front of the public spotlight that made them well known.
But their demise reminded me of something important about myself. Out of my need to measure my self-worth by comparing myself to others, I spent most of my life chasing after the accomplishments I thought society noted as significant. I sacrificed many things along the way, often failing to nurture my relationships with friends, family and even my children. I put off doing the things I felt the most passionate and joyful about while I busily chased for more trophies for my mantel.
Like Havlicek and Starr, my accomplishments are a thing of the past. Other people replaced me, and what I did, others relegated to distant memories that are steadily fading away.
So, what is the lesson in this?
Many of us place work above everything else, putting off what our soul screams for every single day. We do so because those around us taught us about the importance of having status, power and wealth. But, as Havlicek and Starr teach us, the importance of these things is a mirage.
Take it from me, someone who is closer to my end than I am to my beginning, you have no time to waste. The moment is now to love deeply, be compassionate and generous to all around you, pursue the things that give you joy and passion, and live with integrity.
Every second you waste does not return. Each day you spend chasing the rules of the world keeps you from reaching your full bloom. Spending your energy chasing security and comfort robs you of your life because you become spiritually and emoitonally numb.
Perhaps you are one of those who is living your dreams, but if you are not, there is no better time to change that than now. Don’t worry about the past or the future. The past is like the wake a boat leaves behind. You see it, but it has no power or purpose.
We create our future in the present moment. By choosing to do the things aligned with your soul today guarantees that your future will be one you desire. The sooner you do this, the quicker you align with your rightful path.