August 18, 2011
An Answer to Our Biggest Question
The answers to our biggest questions are always given when we aren't expecting an answer.
A little cryptic I know, but it is my try at a "Great inspirational" quote. All joking aside, it is true we can spend hours and hours reflecting on some of our life's greatest questions to no avail and then one day, "poof" the answer is provided like magic; oftentimes when we stop looking for that answer.
I have spent the past two years really focusing on my 4 P's of Positivity. Just in case you forgot they are, Peace, Perspective, Passion, Purpose. These are so much more than just a way to stay positive, they are a fundamental shift in the way you live and think which can ultimately lead to true happiness.
For me, I was have always been stuck on the last step, Purpose. Sure, I have found small purposes for my life along the way, but since the beginning of my journey with leukemia I have focused my main purpose on just surviving. Simple I know, but I know I have great things in me and I just needed to devote all my focus to fighting and defeating my foe, Leukemia.
Although, I have accepted this as my main purpose it always felt not "sexy" enough for me; I have always wanted something more. I never pushed for it, but always thought if I kept myself open to all situations other purposes may present themselves to me.
I am beginning to realize though that purpose is not just some magical vision that will be revealed to us from above, but it is something we actually have a say in defining. It is a guiding principle we choose in our life to help direct us and keep us moving forward on a path of our choosing.
Moreover, it is not one single overriding principle but can be made up of a combination of many principles. Finally, our purpose is transient in nature, as we change as individuals so too will the path that we are moving along; thus our purpose will change.
I believe we all should have one central guiding principle in our lives, our main purpose. In addition to this, we can also have our smaller ones that help keep us along our path. I have come to realize is the smaller purposes in our lives are directly linked to the other 3 P's of Positivity; Passion in particular.
Whatever we choose as our core passions, will help guide us on different purposes for our lives. My love of photography has helped me to find a way to give back with my Decorate to Donate campaign. Do I think this will give millions in research, probably not. But it is a start on my quest to give back and should only snowball and get bigger.
Over the course of these two years since I began shifting my life to align with the 4 P's, I have always been successful at finding these smaller purposes or guiding principles, but the big one has always eluded me. I tried to never force it to come to me but believed one day it might reveal itself.
Well I believe this happened two weekends ago. Unfortunately there was no beam of bright light shone upon me from the heavens with Angels coming down from singing their songs of praise, I know I was disapointed too, but rather it came through a time of sadness and tears.
Two weeks ago a friend of mine who had undergone a bone marrow transplant and was recovering suddenly passed away. It was a very jarring experience, as life once again reminded me that our time here is truly short and should be made the most of.
Over the course of this past year I had formed a friendship with both this man and his wife at the hospital. It started when I went to visit him while he was undergoing his transplant to wish him support and good luck. Each time we sat down to chat it always turned into multiple hour dicussions.
Instead of the traditional viewing and funeral, his wife threw a "celebration of his life". It was one of the most lovely experiences I have ever been too. There was immense sadness all around due to his sudden departure from us, but there was something more as well. You could feel his presence in everyone and everything at the celebration.
I didn't know much about him personally so the celebration was also a wonderful time for me to learn much more about this man and his wife that had become great hospital friends over the course of the past year. To my surprise, we were very similar. His likes, dislikes, tastes in wine, and tastes in music were all similar to mine. But it went deeper than that, we also shared many of the same philosphies on life and living. It was no wonder we got along so well, we were so similar as people and didn't even know it at the time.
During the service his wife read a lovely letter he had written to another patient suffering from AML. I don't want to go into detail of the whole letter, but there was one thing he said that jumped right out and grabbed hold of both Amy and I:
"Don't let your biggest problems, be bigger than your vision".
The true power of this statement didn't hit me all at once, but rather came over the course of the next couple hours and days. I constantly reflected on it. It was speaking to me, guiding me towards that central guiding principle I had been searching for, our vision. I made me realize our purpose isn't given to us in some ray of light with singing angels, but rather it is something of our own choosing.
Our guiding principles and purpose in life should always be leading us down the path towards the legacy we want to leave, or our vision. It was evident at my friend's celebration he successfully lived out his vision, and his legacy was shining through each person in attendance.
The beautiful thing is our legacy is of our choosing. We decide how we want to be remembered and for what. This is what makes up the core guiding principles for our purpose in life. And while moving along this path we will always know that our legacy and purpose are strong enough to overcome any problems that may arise.
So how do you want to be remembered? Have you started down the path of creating your legacy and vision? If not don't force it, again remember these are all intertwined with our other P's. Focus on your passions and what makes you happiest in life, this is probably the best place to start when trying to define our vision.