We live in such a hyper-active and responsive world. Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, and a corporate world filled with deadlines.
What we have to realize is that it is all noise. The most important thing in this world is yourself. You have to be kind to yourself first before you get overwhelmed with the distractions of our world.
If you are not there for yourself, how can you be there for your family? Your friends? It starts with yourself.
If you don’t know what you want to do or who you want to be, how can you show others? How can you teach others? How can you be an example?
There is a large misconception that how old you are plays a role in who you are or can become. We tend to define our lives by age and the expectations of society. It ends up being the ‘time’ to get a job, the ‘time’ to get a car, the ‘time’ to get a house, the ‘time’ to get married, but there is no such thing as the ‘right time’. Time is all relative. To one person it may be the right time, while to another it may be woefully the wrong time.
You are only as old as you feel.
Seth Godin wrote a post recently entitled ‘Fifty is the new thirty‘. In a way, he mentions the vastly changing landscape of our society which is allowing for those who are older to make larger impacts in the world.
When I was in Peru last year, the group I had been trekking with for 4 days had settled down in the town of Aguas Calientes to rest up before the hike to Machu Picchu at 4am. We arrived mid-day and were free to roam around town before convening for dinner at night. There were two women in this group in their 50s. I mentioned them in an earlier post about this day at Aguas Calientes as the Floridian and the New Yorker. My friend Nathan and I had walked around town and were just passing by a bar where we noticed the Floridian and New Yorker enjoying their time over a Cerveza. We still had two hours before the dinner so we decided to share that moment with them. We had never had the chance to learn about the paths that had led each of us to this trek at that point in time. The Floridian mentioned that time apart and geographical locations have never been able to separate the two of them who met in junior high for the first time about 40 years earlier. A simple phone call from either could instantly bring them back together as if little time had transpired between them. The decision to hike Machu Picchu was less than a two minute phone call with both of them deciding on a date for the trek after having not even spoken to one another in 6 months. To them, even as busy mothers, it was just as important to fit in experiences of things they dreamed of doing as it was to do the things they were obligated to do in their day to day life.
What I realized from their story is that while so many of us say we can’t do something, it typically is not that we can’t, but rather we feel bounded by the structure of our lives. We live a certain way and the possibilities of things can only exist within this realm of possibility we’ve created for ourselves. We lose sight of the infinite, the boundless capabilities within ourselves. We instead think ‘if only I had a better body’, ‘if only it was the 80s again’. We crave the ‘good old days’ rather than living each day like those or creating new ones. We all have the capacity to make an impact, small or large. It’s just a matter if we choose to or not.
We’re infinite beings bound in human flesh. We can create with limitless possibilities using the power of our mind and are only constrained by our physical bodies.
Plato wrote about the ‘Allegory of the Cave‘ many centuries ago. If you are not familiar, see the short video explanation below done by this artist with clay:
To these prisoners, the cave was not merely a cave, it was their whole universe.
We must not allow the cave of current experiences to define what is possible in our life.
Imagine your life as a vessel of water as well as everyone else around you. As a vessel, the one and only thing you can give to another person is some of your water. However, if you haven’t been able to keep your vessel full of water, you will not have anything to give to others. You must take care of your own water first, your own energy, your own well-being.
Fill your own vessel so you may share your gifts with others.