Life is a series of choices that lead to creating the beautiful painting that is yours to have gratitude for in the end of your days. I know it’s morbid to think about your funeral, but I actually tend to do so relatively often. It is not uncommon for me to send my husband a text picture of a song I want added to the soundtrack of my life, to be given out at my end of life ceremony. The most recent tune added, Helplessly Hoping, by Crosby, Stills and Nash. The song speaks to my soul for some unknown reason and I have always been a huge fan of the lyrics this band so eloquently connects to the human experience.
I have also wanted to share a book of wisdom at the event, a sort of party favor for folks to read if they would like, which will go along with the soundtrack:) Reflecting on this giveaway was an impetus for starting this blog—I have to start this elusive book one day!
Then there is the guest list and the video montage to think about. Who do I want to be there, what impressions do I want to have left on them? What experiences do I want to share in the montage? What pictures (not yet taken) would I be sad to not include? What contributions to the world do I want to have made?
My intention in sharing this isn’t to disrespect funerals or the need for loved ones to say goodbye, rather I want to shed light on the fact that we have a finite time on this earth and that it is up to us to create our life’s meaning and colorful canvas. Too often we let society dictate meaning in our lives, what we “should be doing,” even when it doesn’t speak to our heart. By the same token we fall victim to barriers that get in the way to creating meaningful experiences outside of our normal routines, i.e. the trip is too expensive, the job pays too well to leave, the kids can’t be taken out of school, that doesn’t look good on a resume…
As I start to delve into coaching, I talk to people a lot about investments they want to make in their lives to get to future states of happiness. Rather than discussing fun things to add to their canvas, we talk about how to find better paying jobs, how to feel like we meet family expectations and how to discipline ourselves to meet weight loss goals. Now there is nothing wrong with any of these goals, they are very fruitful and worth going after. Yet, as I discuss these topics, I can’t help feeling in my heart that all of these people are perfectly fine and healthy the way they are.
This is why Eckhart Tolle’s take on of goals in life, as he so eloquently shares in this video, “to experience as much as you can, without hoping that once you accumulated enough experience you will be happy,” resonated with me deeply.
We are creating our painting each day, rather than always feeling like we are missing something, why not follow our curiosities to their next fulfilling end point and add some COLOR?
This year Ryan and I will voyage to Europe for the first time together to follow a curiosity I have had for a long time to explore Italy and immerse ourselves in Italian cooking. It’s not the perfect time for us to be going given some big work changes later in the year, but that’s what mileage credit card points are for—free tickets to Europe. In my heart I must have pictures from Italy together with him exploring the countryside and cities. We’ll travel slow and take it all in without maximizing cities/sites seen, Eckhart’s advice ;).
I hope this sparks your own curiosity for life. What do you want to experience and how do you want to do so? What lasting impressions do you want to leave on others? Are there excuses getting in the way of your dreams or are you not even letting yourself see the possibilities that life has to offer?
Let yourself dream, challenge the status quo and create a beautiful painting!