Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Are You Fulfilling the Highest Expression of Your Self?

In a recent article in the Huffington Post, entitled "Five Guiding Questions for Living Life to the Fullest," writer Karen Talvera answered five questions within the context of her spiritual framework. Karen's answers gave me the shot of inspiration I needed to evaluate these questions within the context of my own life, my passion, goals, vision, and commitments. Here are the original questions and my answers:

1) Imagine this is the end of your life... What would you like to have said to the world?

Just two words...THANK YOU!! 

I've lived a wonderful life, for which I'm sincerely grateful. Yes, there have been peaks and troughs. Elation for things that I could change; anger and frustration for those that I couldn't. Things that I cherished but were fleeting; things that I received but of which I didn't understand the significance. 

But the strong and resilient person that I am today has arisen from the flames of what went wrong yesterday, or what didn't work. Mistakes and setbacks have, paradoxically, enriched my life by bolstering my grit and enhancing my self esteem. In accepting my limitations and shortcomings, I have discovered the true meaning of "self love." I am now kinder to myself and less self-critical. Becoming aware of the positives in life has set the course of not being a victim anymore.

Learning to dial down on expectation and let go of what I cannot change -- the primary negative wedges that stood in the way of manifesting who I am -- have helped me slide out of the noose of my habitual anxious self, release negativity, and enjoy the present moment. Every time I endure a hardship, I only have to glance around, and my iceberg of hardships melts away into a puddle of petty, manageable concerns. The understanding that "it could've been much worse" is motivation enough to move forward in any situation.

I enjoy challenges as they provide opportunities to explore, learn and grow. Volunteering for various causes over the years has sculpted me into someone who understands life more deeply and appreciates more quickly. My everyday prayer is, "Hope I can contribute more today than I did yesterday." When it's late in the day and I'm tired, I sleep well knowing that my efforts have helped make a difference in someone's life. Here's a secret: The only reason I began volunteering nearly 12 years ago was to satisfy my own selfish needs and not necessarily to save the world.

My life experiences, both pleasant and unpleasant, have helped turn the graffiti on the walls of my heart into a masterpiece of acceptance and appreciation. I have learned to receive more and resist less. Trying to channel dissatisfaction and anger into something meaningful and productive is an ongoing challenge. The ability to tune in to my inner song has prompted a deep awareness of my own thoughts, words, behaviors and actions, an awareness that helps me make appropriate choices and relevant decisions.

My work is simply an expression of who I am and a reflection of my innermost passions. For that, I will forever owe the Universe a deep debt of gratitude. 

2) What does the world need? 
-Less judgment, more compassion
-Less perfectionism, more excellence 
-Less idealism, more action
-Less distraction, more awareness 
-Less censure, more gratitude
-Less dissatisfaction, more acceptance
-Less blame, more personal responsibility
-Less divisiveness, more collaboration
-Less self-pity, more self development
-Fewer shackles to money, material wealth, ego, and status

3) What are your greatest fears?
 That the fuzz of our egoic needs will entirely supplant our spiritual needs.

4) What do you want more of? 
In keeping with the tradition of beauty queens, I'll say, "World Peace!"

5) What inspires you?
Failure, success, nature, my family, a good book/movie/piece of writing, undulating ocean waves, the eloquence of silence, compassionate people, relationships, science, technology.

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