Living a Finished Life ·The Journey Towards Sleep · Pt. 1

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We have at the end of each day – despite the challenges and the responsibilities of our lives – the opportunity to drift into sleep carrying a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment while embracing feelings of release, resolution and gratitude.  We have a chance each day to feel that we have done what we could in our lives and that we are at peace with our efforts.

Often, however, we reluctantly shuffle towards sleep with feelings quite different, our minds bundled with doubts and feelings of dissatisfaction and our spirits cloaked over by thoughts, concerns and anxieties about the responsibilities of tomorrow. If we haven’t shuffled towards sleep with these shadows, they often nudge us awake before our bodies have fully rested.

I have lived long enough to witness how brief our lives are, how unexpectedly the phone rings, the speeding car approaches, the odd sound like popcorn is heard down the hall, the spot appears on our arm, and the cough no longer sounds like a cold.  Why do we wait for a doctor’s report to utter the permissive word “now” to ourselves and why do we wait until a crisis to say there’s “something I’ve always wanted to tell you – something I’d like you to know, something I’d like to ask?”  Why are words, like love, sorry, please, afraid and need so difficult to say without being scaffolded by a crisis, a loss or the threat of time?  Why are the decisions to explore the things we’ve always wanted to try or yearned to do so often put off until there are no more chances?

Rumi instructs, “You have a duty to perform. Do anything else, do any number of things, occupy your time fully, and yet, if you do not do this task, all your time would have been wasted.”  It is up to us to become fully present in our life, to become fully aware of the life we have on any one day.  It is up to us to live an authentic life, a life that feels congruent with our feelings and our needs, a life that feels – to the best of our ability – as completed and full as we could have it in any one moment.

To Live a Finished Life is to go to bed at night knowing you have said or started to say the things of your heart, knowing that you are on a path of intent or effort to learn and know those things you have wanted to discover.  To Live a Finished Life is to find rest for your spirit knowing you have determined how or have taken steps to release and/or resolve those memories and experiences that have held you back, kept you from fully loving, kept you from fully trusting, kept you from fully occupying the wonder of the life that is yours.  Living a Finished Life is to find that you are moving away from the hesitations that hushed your dreams, quieted your voice, and stilled your willingness to take the risks that could enable you to become the unique and particular individual you are.

“You have a duty to perform,”  to stand confident in the face of doubt and fear, to discover in the face of hesitation, to find and then speak your heart, and at all junctures, to honor you heart, honor its needs, its joys, and the shadows of grief and pain that are sometimes cast over it in the quiet moments.

When we live authentically and as if the present moment is all we have – we become the authors and voices of our own story and our own ideas; we take residence in a realm of life where all of the parts of us get to be present, get to be honored – the uninteresting parts, the troubled frustrated parts, our sorrows, our joys, our needs.  No part of us, no intent in our heart should move towards sleep without a sense of being respected and attended to.  When all of the parts of us have been able to step into the light, none of us get to be anything other than whole, anything other than a person fully alive and on a path of having lived each day as completely as possible.

“Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn’t matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.”

Get up, lift those childhood and present dreams, those hopes and intents from the dust, those shards of broken promises you have made to yourself and look around, see the people you need yet to reach out to, the planet and environment that yearns for your stewardship, your history that needs to be either released or honored and “come yet again – come, come even if you have broken your vows a thousand times….”

In the months ahead, 2nd Tuesday will be publishing a series of articles on the elements of living a finished life, a life based upon gratitude and intent, a life that feels that it is authentically moving forward, a life lead by the heart and not by the doubts and fears of the past.   We hope you will join us on this journey.

Fred Swan · f.hswan@q.com