by Claire Fitzpatrick, D.C.
We are capable of creating symphonies of connections that carry us as if we were gliding on the surface of a great lake — when we live with full awareness of life’s sorrows and joys; its ironies and horror; its endless hilarity; and its perfect combination of misery and bliss. Meanwhile, the crescendos are breathtaking.
We are all connected in this way, but it doesn’t often feel like that. We often feel disconnected from ourselves, our purpose, and our place in the world. That can happen as an expat, especially. We sometimes let go of an idea to follow another idea, and it’s easy to lose our way and our way to our loved ones.
Do you define yourself by what you do, by your relationship to others, or do you define yourself by who you really believe you are inside?
This article is about taking time to explore these uncomfortable questions, about reconnecting to our inner rhythms, and finding our way to ourselves, our families, our communities, and our lives.
In order to reconnect to the rhythm of our astounding connectedness, we start with a base of wonder, honor, and reverence for the cycles of life and death, including our own. Keep a sense of (sometimes irreverent) humor close to your heart. And follow these steps:
- Define what you really want. Write about it, or paint it, or draw it. Use concrete, images that speak to your senses. See the way you want to end. Keep that image in your mind 24/7, and let it guide every choice you make.
- Take the steps to get it, even if that includes letting go of temporary pleasures. For instance, if you want to rid yourself of inflammatory disease, do you want that third helping of mac ’n cheese casserole, or do you want to be fully healthy and present for your children’s children?
- We have to be ready when people, including our loved ones, get in our way. Change is often scary, and if our loved ones sense our change, they may think that we will change the way we feel about them. Gently, with love, don’t let them get in your way.
- We have to respect ourselves enough to follow our goals to their conclusion. Goals are exciting in the beginning, but it’s the day-to-day grind toward the goals that makes them materialize. To finish a marathon, we have to show up at the track every day. Stick to your dreams like your life depends on it — because it does.
- We have to throw away false ideas that hurt us and our mission. For instance, if you tolerate the conditions of your relationship because you are worried about what people will think of you, chances are that your loved ones — including children and your partners — already feel your pain, and it pains them. Recognize that this is a false idea and allow others to heal as you heal.
- We mustn't wait until we are “ready” to make a change, and we must forgive ourselves for not being perfect. We trip up. That’s part of life. Unless we allow ourselves room to make mistakes, we never really live. Mistakes are always made on the path to success. The greatest achievers on the planet, more often than not, made huge errors, including the error of waiting a very long time to start. They learned how to navigate these waters, and we will visit their lessons as we go.
In her book, “Top Five Regrets of the Dying,” Bronnie Ware interviewed people who were close to death. When asked whether they had any regrets or things they would do differently, she found that common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:
I wish I’d…
- Had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me
- Not worked so hard
- Had the courage to express my feelings
- Stayed in touch with my friends.
- Let myself be happier
How many of these wishes are we violating? How many of us are, right here and now, on a straight-line path of regret and remorse? How many of us are disconnected from our dreams and each other?
Let’s change that. Let’s make a symphony of our lives.
Welcome, Friend, to this wacky vitality ride of mine — and yours.
Until next month: good magic!