Manifesto for Living
My oldest brother's heart stopped beating at 10:57 a.m. on Wednesday, July 21, 2005. John, my other brother, Chip's wife, and I were with him when he died. Chip was only 62. Chip always said he never thought he would live this long. I have to wonder if his bride of five years, Helga, didn't extend his life. His face lit up every time she entered his hospital room.
Last month, one of my dearest friend's heart started beating erratically. She thought she was going to die. In the ambulance on the way to the emergency room she prayed for surrender while trying to understand why this was happening to her at 49. She survived and is sorting through the experience.
Death is only a whisper away and still it calls out to us to live life fully. Later this month, I turn 49, and no longer will I take my life for granted. When my time comes, I will have few regrets. The time to live my life is now.
Seven years ago, I signed a living will, but what is my will for living? How do I want to live my life?
With you as my witnesses, I want to declare my "Manifesto for Living." It contains only four elements.
One: Live for Love. Nothing is more important than love. Love is the juice of life; it is what gives us energy. I will put the relationships in my life first -- above career, above my art, above all else. I will seek to see the divinity in everyone I meet. In their eyes I will find God and love.
Two: Let Go and Let God. In Al-Anon, they have a saying (borrowed from Alcoholics Anonymous), "Let go and let God." Even though I know the wisdom of these words, I still struggle with making them come alive in my life. My head tells me: "Surrender is for sissies." My ego repeats, "To survive in the world takes nothing short of sheer force of will." But my heart tells me something different. It tells me there is a Higher Power, and if I learn to trust it, it will guide me.
I am learning I cannot control life. Many situations are out of my control. Instead of becoming vested in specific outcomes I can only trust that what will be, will be.
The Serenity Prayer offers this guidance:
"God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference."
I repeat it often.
Three: Live in Gratitude. A banner hangs in my church that quotes spiritual leader Meister Eckhart: "If the only prayer you say in your whole life is 'thank you' that would suffice." Several months ago, I began the practice of beginning each day listing three things (or people) for which (or whom) I am grateful. When I remember to do it, I seem to have a brighter day.
According to the law of attraction, we attract that on which we focus. When my thoughts dwell on what I don't have in my life, I attract unsettling feelings of need. The tapes in my head start to whine, "You are not enough. There is not enough." But when I shift my focus from what I don't have to what I do, I come from a place of abundance. The tapes stop, and beautiful music fills my ears.
I am learning to seek gratitude in every situation, even those that I once considered "bad." Dr. Wayne Dyer, in his book The Power of Intention: Learning to Co-create Your World Your Way, writes, "To connectors, everything that shows up in their life is there because the power of intention intended it there. So they're always in a state of gratitude. They feel thankful for everything, even things that seem to be obstacles… Through their thanks, they honor all possibilities..."
Four: Follow My Energy. Yesterday, my analyst posed the question: "What would your life be like if you were to simply follow your energy?" In his question, I found a compass for my calling.
Whether called energy, enthusiasm, passion, or love makes little difference: it's all the same to me. When I follow it, I am in the flow. The right situations, people, and resources come forward. I am following what Joseph Campbell called "my bliss."
When I swim upstream, I make little progress and I expend unneeded energy. But when I go with the flow I follow my soul's calling. I live my life on purpose and with purpose.
This is my manifesto for living. I share it with you, my neighbors, because I want you to hold me accountable to it. Through it, I will live a rich and abundant life.
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Copyright 2005, All rights reserved
The Career Engineer" Randy Siegel works with organizations to take high-potential employees and give them the leadership and communications skills they need to be successful as they rise through the organization. Purchase his book PowerHouse Presenting: Become the Communicator You Were Born to Be through Amazon.com, and subscribe to his complimentary monthly e-Newsletter at www.buildyourleaders.com.