Where did January go?! I’m still trying to get used to writing 2017, not ’16. Well I think, for me, January’s flurry was helped along by mum’s visit, punctuating the middle of the month. Bless her, in her seventies she drives herself over three hours from Dorset to Gatwick airport, catches a transatlantic flight and then, bitterly sleep-deprived and jaded from US passport control poking and prodding her, survives her grandchildren diving on her as soon as she exits customs in Orlando.
Oh we had a brilliant visit though. All go-go. Highlight of the trip would be visiting Savannah, Georgia, and then driving north east to Charleston, South Carolina.
I’m lucky enough to have a role model in mum; she’s not fearless (who is?!) but she acts fearless anyhow, which is in effect the same thing. Mum’s full of adventure, hunger for travel and exploration and perhaps as such she is broad- minded and willing to grow and embrace changing social and technological climates. Remarkably she’s not a bad word to say about anyone, exemplified by her own mother, my recently passed Grandmother.
Mum has seen me swing from teen rebel, where she had to pluck me from nightclubs frequently at age 15, nightie-clad (her, not me:-) to my early thirties, where the pendulum had swung so far the other way that she have to cajole me into staying up past 9pm, or partake in an adult beverage.
Now I think I’ve found a happy medium. Sometimes, in our zest for personal development, we can become a little serious, forgetting the fun-factor. I love to read and listen to lectures of people who’ve had Near Death Experiences because I believe to understand Life, and live it effectively with overall perspective, is to know death. Anita Moorjani, who I’ve championed before, and Brendan Burchard are my two favorite HayHouse authorities on this subject.
One of the most powerful lessons Anita offered me in her two books about her NDE experience was to relish life, to make choices based on Love, not Fear of consequences, or because we feel we ‘should’ (horrible word). If you want a hunk of cake, to dance naked or indulge yourself away with an afternoon of laughter inducing shows; go for it. If doing so ignites feelings of love and gratitude then it feeds the soul. Our emotions have a very real impact on our health so if a nostalgic peanut butter and jelly sandwich escorts you back to your five-year old self in grandma’s home, amid a flood of feel-good emotions, then it’s a very good thing, nevermind the quality of the peanut butter. I love this invitation to pleasure and authenticity from her too:-
Brendan Burchard is one of the most celebrated personal development leaders on the planet today. He speaks with such passion for life that you cannot help but be swept up in a tide of motivation, enthusiastically scribbling down notes from his talks, as if you were there wide-eyed in the conference hall with him.
When he danced with death, following a car accident in the Dominican Republic, he returned into his life full of renewed vigor and ambition.
“In brief, after being in a car that flipped over a curve at eighty-five miles an hour, I learned that when we crash onto death’s doorstop, we’re all forced to ask three questions:
Did I live? Did I love? Did I matter?
It was a soul-shaking experience to say the least, and it made me question everything in my life. I have never really lived life before, and the accident made me get serious about doing so.”
“It was Virgil’s quote that summed up my feelings: ‘Death twitches my ear. Live, he says, I am coming.’ I decided to use my ticket to a second change to consciously create a better life, so that when I round my final corner, I’ll be happy with the answers at the end.”
Every night Brendan asks himself if he achieved a ‘yes’ to those three emboldened questions. Doing so keeps him accountable and aligned to his soul-purpose, so when he dies he can know he inhabited life his way, ringing every last drop of juice from each glorious day.
Inspired by Brendan’s advice to think about my three questions, I jotted down these thoughts:-
- Did I share my own unique brand of love? (eg, leaving messages of love on my kids’ lunchbag napkins? Did I compliment a friend sincerely, rather than harbor the good thought away? Did I act from love, shoot it straight from my heart, with no ego to dilute its potential)?
- Did I raise happy, kind and health- conscious children?
- Did I fully inhabit everyday, seeing it as a gift, not a right?
Presenting myself with these three questions during solo pillow talk every night is powerful. Sometimes I get a ‘no’ to one or more questions. Sometimes I forget to ask altogether. But, boy, even asking these thematic life questions helps pivot the living of my life around what I find significant, so when I pass hopefully I’ll be able to say, I have accomplished all that’s important to me. I’m not left, facing death, with a package I’ve failed to deliver.
So this is my Brendan-inspired version of a new years resolution. I’m expanding the picture, rather than only concerning myself with the minutia of new year resolution details.
What would your three questions be? If you were faced with death, what would demonstrate a life well-lived? Momentous stuff, uh? Its shifts perspective and instantly garbages all the distractive details of the day our mind and ego busy themselves with and drills down to the core of purpose.
Thank you-thank you for your dedicated readership. As always I love to hear your reflections below.
Namaste, my lovely readers.