What’s Important

by Simon Goland, March 31, 2012

Dear friends who have been together for many years, have recently parted ways. Even though there is a house, children, and a history of common experiences, it is not a guarantee to anything, when looking into the future. Lives that have been aligned, intertwined, and deeply connected, somehow, slowly, over time, unraveled and started heading into different directions. And because I have known them since before their collective story started, there is a strong element of sadness and grieving I am experiencing now. Witnessing. Being present. Thinking about what is really important in one’s life, throughout time.

“In every winter’s heart there is a quivering spring and behind the veil of each night there is a smiling dawn.” – Kahlil Gibran

What’s really, truly important in one’s life? As I contemplate it now, thinking about my life, and those of others I had the opportunity to witness and co-explore, I think I can detect three main threads.

The first is to connect deeply with the creative spirit of life. Sooner or later, people come to recognize that there is some sort of creative, somewhat mysterious, energy that infuses all of life. Even when we cannot clearly articulate what this energy is, we know that it is beyond our logical and intellectual abilities. It is also something that is not driven by our willpower, nor the ego. There is something else. We feel a hunger to touch that energy and to be touched by it. That doesn’t mean that you have to be “an artist” in a classic sense – to make your living as a painter, a dancer, a writer, or an actor. It also doesn’t mean isolating oneself in an ashram on the Himalayas until the enlightenment strikes us, right through the crown chakra. That energy visits and invites us to channel and express it in a variety of small and big ways. It lures us to engage, open up, say YES, become vibrantly alive, step outside of our individual way of relating to the world, opening us up to “something more.” Even when it can be tricky to articulate, we know when the experience touches us. “Come,” this spirit whispers, “Take a deep breath. Let go. Let’s play… you are going to like it…”

The second thread is to know and express your gifts and talents. This one is more about “becoming” where we keep exploring what these gifts are, and expressing them as we keep connecting to what it is. Oftentimes, we may not even know, much less how to express it. Oftentimes, this “thing” is not even related to how we make our living. Yet, we know that there is “something” that we can bring forward, because there is way more to us than meets the eye. And has been, throughout our lives, in various situations and circumstances. Someone is able to feel, deeply in her heart, every injustice that occurs around her. Another someone is able to accept every person, and see them for what they truly are. Yet another person sees through situations and is able to always call the highest truth forward. Someone else sees the big picture and connects the dots like nobody else. Still, even when we can’t explicitly name them, the gifts and talents keep expressing themselves wherever we go, whatever we do, whoever we are with. There really is no holding back on them. Resistance is futile.

Lastly, we want to know that our lives matter. What legacy have we left behind? It doesn’t have to be great or magnificent. But human beings know that at one level, we each have our own unique thumbprint, and we all want to leave that print behind for others to see that we’ve been here and made a difference for someone. We can be successful, make a lot of money, reach a certain status, and achieve great success – according to what society means by it. Yet, it may not be fulfillment, which comes from a very different source. Here, expressing who we are, making a difference in an area that is beyond our personal and individual scope, is a whole different story. Both the origins and impacts of success and fulfillment live in different worlds.

“People are not really afraid of dying; they are afraid of not ever having lived, not ever having deeply considered their life’s purpose, and not ever having stepped into that purpose and at least tried to make a difference in this world.” – Joseph Jaworski