Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Blinded by the Light

I just finished a weekend training called Rock the Stage with Karen Mcgregor. It was a jam packed, info laden, edge of your seat marathon that invited entrepreneurs to develop one signature talk that they would deliver.

Some people were conquering their fear of speaking on stage, others their inner critics. For me the challenge came in choosing what to talk about. I had so many tracks, so many topics that I felt overwhelmed. I understood that once you learned the structure you could apply it to other topics so you could have a number of signature talks but I wanted this one to be the quintessential one. And that attachment had my head spinning. I would come home after a full day and work till midnight only to wake up knowing I would throw away what I had written the day before and start again. I watched myself bounce from elation to crankiness as I wrestled with landing in ONE topic.

They all rested on a similar foundation, that lasting change can only occur if one is inhabiting and feeling fully in the body but to make the topic as juicy as I wanted, had me spinning.

Once again the impermanence of life reminded me of what was important. My friend Andrew read a letter from his 18 year old son Daniel on our last day of the workshop to inspire us. Daniel had written the letter to himself three days before he died. Dear Self, he began. As Daniels words landed in my heart, I was touched and awed at his wisdom, at the knowing that could radiate from such a young man with such an old soul. He reminded me of the art of appreciation, loving the present moment exactly as it is. He reminded me of the power of gratitude and showed me how contagious excitement and a positive edge is. He reminded me of the beauty of tenderness and curiosity as he invited life to mark him through nature. Daniels life was short but it was inspired and flowed with grace.   

As I took the stage to start my signature talk I knew my opening words were sparked by his spirit.

 “A palliative care nurse made a list of the five things people regret as they are dying. The first is not living the life they wanted but rather the life others expected of them. The second is not feeling all their feelings and expressing them. The third is working too hard. The fourth is not maintaining deep friendships and the last was not choosing to be happy more often.”

I smiled inside as I continued my talk knowing that Daniel did not have even one of those regrets. He had lived his young life with full abandon relishing each new adventure and welcoming the dawn of every day.

 Elisabeth Kubler-Ross saw death as a graduation like a butterfly shedding its cocoon as it transitions to a new beginning. I know for me death has been a profound teacher, a mirror that makes sure I look at myself and live true, live real.

As Kubler-Ross says, “It is not the end of the physical body that should worry us. Rather, our concern must be to live while we’re alive-to release our inner selves from the spiritual death that comes with living behind a façade designed to conform to external definitions of who and what we are.”

Somehow I feel certain that Daniel already knew that.

Branded by light:

Authentically Yours,


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