Have you ever chased big things in life simply because that’s what everyone else is doing and you never stopped to really question what it is you’re wanting, or chasing, or creating, (however you see that)? You never stopped to ask yourself, would that be useful for me and who I am, to have that dream as my reality, would that serve me? Is it my dream or is it theirs? If I don’t want what they want, I mean they all seem to want these big things, what does that say about me? Does that make me weird? Is it ok to be weird? Oh god I’m weird. Maybe I’m not weird, not yet, not far off it though. Wait, did I just say serve me, shit, I’m supposed to be serving others. You feel good when you serve others, right? What’s happening on facebook?
Not so long ago I imagined what it would be like to know today is your last day on earth, your last day alive. Morbid? Perhaps. Self-indulgent? Definitely (I wish more people would indulge in self exploration because it seems to me the most selfless thing we can do, in terms of evolving our perspectives, our decision making capabilities and our capacity to love) And quite frankly, it kills me that I don’t know when I’m going to die.
To wake up in the morning knowing this is it, there is no tomorrow – what would that be like? We can use thoughts like this to spur us on – carpe diem, as they say. But on this occasion I wasn’t motivated to take action, instead I found myself becoming very still. I allowed my mind’s eye to serve up what it is I would do. And in seeing this I realised what it is I really want, deep at the very core of who I am. I watched the movie play out in my mind and I saw myself wandering through the streets of my local neighbourhood, seeing the strangers around me not as strangers but as old friends, even though we’d never met. Everything I saw, heard, felt held my attention, not as a distraction, one by one pulling me this way and that, but simultaneously, as if I had expanded, a beautiful recognition of how miraculous it really is to be a human Being. I watched as I spoke to my loved ones, not to say goodbye, but simply to say Thank-you. For that last day of my life I was here. Out of my mind, not lost in my mind.
And then I wondered if I would really live my last day on earth like this and my mind replied “dream on, of course you wouldn’t!” A beautiful vision of presence punctured by a cynical voice. But why wouldn’t I? In short, my mind – and your mind too – hates an unfinished story and will work very hard to tie up loose ends. If you listen long enough to your own thinking you’ll hear a constant Q&A going on – some of it quite stimulating, a lot of it very hum drum. A question opens a loop in our mind and we work consciously and unconsciously to find the answer and close the loop.
So on that imaginary final day, if my mind has it’s way, I will focus on “one last…..” I will race here and there – one last view of……one last taste of…….one last chance to…….I will make announcements of my impending doom so I get to shout goodbye and I love you – I don’t want my death to go unnoticed. My death tells me I’m alive (love that paradox). I might even plan out my funeral if I’ve got time, at best provide a playlist. I will die with as many loose ends tied up as possible, with as much of the story completed as I can make it. I will die tired, having missed much of the moment but got the job done.
Back to those big things in life. I love dreaming big. In fact, it’s my forte. If anything my challenge and my learning has been to stay grounded and focus on the next tiny step to create the dream into reality – process and strategy are now my friends, not quite as sexy as dreaming yet, but never say never – and I’m also aware that at times, those big dreams that I’ve chased have not been my own. I’ve picked them up and run with them because I thought I should. Because that’s what everyone around me was doing.
Big, small, it’s all the same really, that’s how it seems to me now. It’s all experience. Moments in life. Sometimes we chase big things because we feel small and the having of big things will make us feel bigger. We want to feel bigger than we are. Sometimes we chase big things because we can. It’s the process that thrills us just as much as the end result, if not more. We are curious creatures, magnificent in our aliveness.
What do YOU want? What do you REALLY want? Are you going to get busy in your mind to answer that? Or fall deep into stillness to let the answer emerge. Or maybe both. It’s all valid. Different ways of experiencing this human form. You are incredible.
If I do die tonight, take this as me tying up a loose end. I’m off to wander the streets…..
About the Author
I coach high achievers in the performing arts and music industries, together with entrepreneurs and leaders in corporate. I'm drawn to work with pioneers and innovators. "The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes" Marcel Proust
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