When it comes down to it, there are certain inalienable facts of life.
1. You are unique.
There is no denying that we each occupy the space of a singular experience on this earth. What you and I see of a lifetime will vary incredibly, an accumulation of countless little nuances expressed and witnessed over each living day. The differences are what we use to define us, to deign us individual. It is important to us to be alone at some point in our sense of reality and the world, in so much as we know who we are as a point of distinction from anyone else. It’s what we do with that sense of individuality that matters. We are unique for a reason, and with that reason comes the responsibility of a lifetime.
2. We express our singularity two ways.
Between you and me, we cross the bridge with either word or action. Both carry energy and intent, both signify our world view and our heart’s truths. Over the bridges come messages of fear or love, the collective or the individual, the optimism or the pessimism and everything else. In moments of joy, they uncover our follies, what we are most reckless with, and in times of crisis, what we are most quick to protect. Never promise the moon and the stars when you’re ecstatic (they’re not yours to give) and never try to take someone out of their orbit when you’re angry (it is never your right). Between the aural and the visual representation of who we choose to offer to present to others lies who we think we are. The mindful spend their whole lives trying to minimise the gap between spirit and body, word and gesture as much as possible.
3. Connection matters.
Study after study, instinct after instinct, shows us that we thrive when we connect. And study after study, experience after experience shows us how muddy that water has become. In an ocean of information and inspiration, competition and creativity, we navigate alone trying to find who we are, who we can live with and who to shove against. And the more we looks closely, the more murky the vista. We start making the rules person by person, without any perspective on how the countless unique expressions of our love serves only to divide us into a million persona, makes us inhabit a million masks, until some of us have no idea what is connecting me to you or which me to which you. And in the confusion, we fear the very idea of connection instead of trying to filter the waves of debris for clear waters and a clear view once more. In our confusion, we call the soupy waters ‘life‘ and never try to distill it all to a better picture of what’s around us. But we are wired for connection, so it makes sense that if we need to reside so strongly in a network, then at least learn to share the best of it, with introspection at its foundation.
4. We don’t know what we’ve got ’til it’s gone.
We’ve become so wedded to the tangible, to the material, that we tar everything with the same brush. We grow ever better at defining ourselves by the choices we make. Smart when we get something cheaply and it lasts. Aspirational if we rid out homes of products that don’t quite meet the mark even though we spent money on it. Spontaneous for all the little frivolities that sit in random drawers. And we fantasise, hypothesise about which items we would save in a fire and romantisise what that says about us. And then we take the same mindset and apply it to our relationships. Some are beautiful but empty expressions of who we are seen as, some that fit into play or leisure time. Some that are disposed of when they stutter the first time in whatever purpose they were meant to serve. Some that are dragged through the dirt all in the name of love to be with you wherever you are as you grow. And those you would save in a fire. And it may not be who you would presume today, in your current mood, viewpoint and understanding.
5. Life happens for us.
I’ve written about this before, but life happens for us. We may as well think so. But I get that, swimming around in cloudy eddies and currents, that things would just appear to bump you through your day. I get that it would seem that making decisions to better life seem hard or even beyond you right now whilst you get your bearings. But the truth is, if you could be trust yourself to lift your head up for air, to fill your eyes with a slightly new angle on things, to stop trying to focus on all the debris rushing past you and just look for a wider context of where you are and who is around you, you may just get a better idea of where you are heading and what is coming next and why. And if you really pay attention, you get to embrace it all better, stronger in your understanding of the broader picture, motivated in the learning and the progress and empowered by the outline of the path.
6. We will all die.
Our time here is limited, although many of us live as immortals. Every day is a day we never get back. Every action we defer, any word we fling at someone to wound, any casual opinion we form to get us through a today or two, all of it is our life. Whoever we hand our power to, define ourselves against, we make a part of the fabric of our existence. Every scar that comes from that interaction will shape the days to come until there are no more. There may be no tomorrow to heal it, so tend mindfully to your strength every day. Who do you hand it to today? And if you keep it sacrosanct each day, what connections are you losing for it? Life is all about power. But power is useless without a circuit around which it nurtures. Our power is energy. To stop its flow, to try to preserve it within your own skin, is to ignore all of its raw beauty and is a compelling self-deception at best. So whilst you still draw breath, use your power for love, for connection, for progress and contribution. To energise all that you adore in the world, to support the people you love in your life, to dream big and aim high. So that when your day comes, you know what you added to humanity’s story as you came here to do.
7. We leave a legacy.
Just as we can kid ourselves we are a sea of isolated individuals in life, whose energy remains within the bounds of our own skeleton and skin, we can kid ourselves that when we go, there is no trace left of who we were. But just as we crave connection because it is inherent in our human condition, so too is our legacy. Our presence here, the words we sound over the noises of nature and the acts we commit that make up our timeline in earth impacts it all. From our consumer choices to our conscience, from the love we give to the fear we promote, it all matters. We want to matter, but we don’t like the responsibility. It means that nothing is disposable, deferrable or insignificant. Most of us don’t feel up to that. So we retreat within thinking that minimises the ripples as we live and the wake as we leave. But we all contribute to this world, retreating or rejoicing, responsible or reckless. Hiding makes no difference.
So for today if you can, make a start. Lift your eyes this morning and look around. Do a health check on your possessions and make sure people aren’t in there too. Look around your home and work and understand that as others’ energies affect you, yours can affect your experience of them. Know in your heart that the words and actions you choose today feed the tides of love and fear in your life, of those lives you touch, and understand your contribution around the world, a gesture cast out into the world impacts it just as the litter you do or don’t cast on the roadside. Know that you matter whether you like it or not, so make just today count. Just today. Because you never really know how many todays you will get and how your todays will live out in those you leave behind.