The Message

Here's your sign!
I have said before when I get a repeat message in my life, in any capacity, it makes me think the Universe is trying to tell me something. Right now, it feels like the Universe is screaming! I am being bombarded these days with news of deaths and illness in my direct circle.

The Picture

Let me go over some of what my current landscape looks like today:

Close friend looses 37 year old family member/Spartan racer and very strong healthy man, to condition he’s had for life. Leaves behind a legacy of greatness and living, together with a wife and 3 young children.

Family member has stroke and is facing uncertainty, and a whole bunch of change in his life.

Close friend’s mother has just entered hospice care. This woman’s mother blossomed following the tremendous grief she moved through after her husband died. She went from being this quiet, devoted wife to the party organizer at the assisted living facility for her new-found friends. She became someone always doing something fun and most often things she didn’t do when married.

A new, but dear friend, announces he’s about to take up his battle with Cancer, one that he’s certain to overcome, but a battle nonetheless.

A mentor of mine, for whom I run his local group, has died in a tragic accident at 33, leaving behind a huge legacy, a young wife and a large, amazing community called Live Your Legend.

A sister of a family member has been placed into hospice after living with MS, Cancer and metastatic Cancer. Preparing to leave a full life of all that was dear to her.

What does it mean?

I have to wonder – Is the Universe trying to tell me something? OK, I get it! No more messages at this time please!! Live life while I am here!

As you know, I walked away from corporate life a few months ago to move my business from a “side job” to my full-time focus. I can honestly say, although the road is tough and a bit scary for its uncertainty, I absolutely love each day. I mention this at this time because it is really, really important!

We have one certainty the minute we are born, that we will die. We have no idea what the road has in store for us, but we can bet on an unforeseen circumstance coming along at some point. What that unforeseen thing is, and how it will show up in our life is unknown. Will we be able to provide our family and loved ones the comfort of a full and beautiful life well lived?

A Time for Reflection

I am spending some time in reflection. Am I living the life I believe in? Am I chasing money at the expense of what is truly valuable in my life? What is truly important to me when faced with the end of my days, or a life change that will dramatically altar my sense of “normal”? Do I believe I am using my days to their fullest and living my values? Would I be living any differently if I were faced with the knowledge of my days ending?

If I had not taken the leap to leave corporate by now, I think I would be doing just that at this point. However, since I have taken the leap, I now look to two people who have just died and am so moved that each of them have been living such amazing full and inspiring lives. They were strong, purposeful people leaving behind more than some of us will after many more years than their short time here. They died while fully engaged in this thing called life, they weren’t just earning money and paying bills, they were living fully.

My Desired Legacy

I work each day to continue to reach out to people and help them consider new possibilities in their lives. I hope to be able to encourage others to reach for their dreams despite any odds they feel there might be. I hope in my life to make a positive impact in as many lives as possible to say, you matter, you can do it and I believe in your dreams. I also hope to be one of the people in your life that lets you see you can have the life you desire and it is worth reaching for. Finally, I hope to die while living fully and doing the work that I love and connecting with those seeking to do the same.

Please let your light shine while you are here – we owe it to the world!

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Superheroes Among Us

On April 15, 2013, at approximately 2:50 pm two bombs were detonated at the finishing area of the Boston Marathon. People who were present described what they witnessed as if it were a scene out of a movie. Hundreds of people were maimed and lay in the streets calling out for help. Superman did not arrive, nor did Batman, or Robin or Wonderwoman…the bystanders rushed in to help the victims.

It is said that among the smoke and confusion no one looked to the sky for a superhero, they didn’t have to; ordinary citizens became superheroes that day. As the days have passed, we have watched closely and lovingly as the survivors mourn the loss of their family members, and those who were hospitalized begin to heal and leave the hospitals. We watch those who have lost limbs, or suffered grave injuries learn to walk all over again or develop methods to live their lives differently now. These people are revealing they are superheroes.

I have the absolute pleasure of living in Boston. Since that tragic Monday afternoon I have witnessed innumerable tributes to those injured, and activities to promote healing for all. It is clear to me that all who were affected by the cowardly act of senseless violence were not present on Boylston Street. The outpouring of support from all over the world speaks to the fact that all who were wounded that day did not bleed. People everywhere were deeply affected by this event and many wish to help the healing.

Not too long ago, I heard about three more superheroes from the UK; Kate Treleaven, Danny Bent and Jamie Hay. These three individuals from the UK have organized an event called One Run For Boston (onerunforboston.org). This is an epic relay with more than 1,000 ordinary citizens across the US running approximately 3,000 miles in 300+ segments. This is the largest superhero gathering I’ve ever had the honor to witness! Each day since June 7, 2013, at any moment of any day until June 30, 2013, there will be someone, or group of people, running their heart out to support the victims of the Boston Marathon tragedy.

I get misty-eyed with each post I read knowing full well how much these people are giving to right the wrong that was done that day; to overcome evil with such overwhelming love. My heart is filled with joy and hope by the superheroes I’ve come to know on this journey. It is amazing to find that there are so many of these individuals who simply are walking among us.

I know Superman is a fictional character, but I know that those who wish evil on ordinary citizens in Gotham City and beyond are unfortunately real. May we never need to call upon them, but have the comfort of knowing we are part of an amazing community filled with ordinary people who, when needed, have the capability to be superheroes.

Peace
reveal your superhero

A Bright Day

I sit here in my home office on a bright sunny day. There are news crews outside my window where days before police officers lined the streets with comrades in arms from SWAT, US Marshall, State Police, ATF and FBI (and probably others, I lost track). The suspected bombers of the Boston Marathon had a shoot out with officers a couple of nights ago, and subsequently the final bombing suspect was captured in my neighbor’s boat the following day.

Suffice it to say, it has been one heck of a week when a wonderful traditional day of triumph and accomplishment in Boston turned to devastation, sadness and fear. A show of solidarity and community has been received from across the world to our little city with intention to overcome evil and fear that was inflicted on us, and felt across the US. There has been a tremendous outpouring of love and support to all the victims, many of whom are runners, were left without legs – the most devastating injury a runner could have received. There is a steadfast commitment to those affected by this tragedy that they will not be alone as they struggle to regain their “footing.”

Upon the capture of the suspect, our “shelter in place” order, was lifted and we were allowed out of our house. My daughter and I immediately went outside to thank all of the officers as they left their positions. It was heartwarming the number of people for whom this is just their job, to put their lives on the line for those they do not know. As we thanked the various officers, they thanked us back, for I guess just staying out of their way so they could do their job – trust me, there was no way I was going to interfere! The officers smiled and told us, “You can have your neighborhood back now. Sleep well tonight”.

I sit here on this beautiful day, which is very reminiscent of Monday, April 15, trying to make sense of this all and find some direction to heal the devastation I feel and embrace the healing being sent to all of us in Boston. I watch as neighbors bring coffee and breakfast to the officers standing guard as the crime scene, which is my neighborhood, is still being processed. I watch all the videos I can of the tributes being held across the state honoring the victims of this tragedy, the first responders and the officials that kept this disaster from becoming worse. I am so encouraged by the London Marathon being raced today.

I am just sad, and waiting for the sadness to pass so I may rejoice in all the good that has come from this terrible course of events. This is truly a week I will never forget, try as I might. I hope when the news crews leave, and the attention to my neighborhood dulls I will be left with a great sense of what truly happened this week. A community was touched by a terrible event and a world came out to say we are One Boston, we are Boston Strong and no one will stand in our way of living our lives as we wish and deserve. Terror will come and go, but love will result.

I have never been more proud to be from Boston as I have been this week. We may win sports competitions, but that each one of us has responded to this tragedy with love is what truly makes us a city of champions. We have a long road before us, longer than 26.2, but I know we will never forget these people healing and will continue to be by their side every step of the way. Pray for our healing, there is much before us. Time for me to go for a run.

Peace

The Living Years

I drove home today from work and got stuck in a bit of traffic. Ok, I understand, that is not unusual or “blog worthy”, however it was the reason for the traffic that caught my attention. A funeral home about a quarter of a mile ahead had parked cars lined up on both sides of the road for about 8 blocks, including all side streets. It was an incredible scene. I thought to myself, who was that person? What did he or she do to touch so many people to come out to pay their respects and support the loved ones left behind?

I’m sure we’ve all seen similar scenes, or pictured our “calling hours” at one time or another and imagined who would show up? Would there be cause for a traffic officer? Maybe many traffic officers to direct all the people you’ve touched throughout your life?

This post is actually many weeks in the making as it is a combination of a couple of events/conversations and this final visual/experience which pulled it all together. Funny how life works like that huh?

I met up with an old friend the other day after reconnecting through social media. We hadn’t seen each other since we attended camp together as teenagers! We got to talking about all sorts of things (30 years leaves a lot of catch up!) and through the discussion it was clear he was in the throes of mid-life crisis! He had accomplished so much in his life to date; he has a wonderful wife and family, a beautiful house and a great job (incidentally, the one he decided he would have when he was a teen), but he was clearly moved by the fact that he had completed half the race already – the clock was ticking away daily, his mortality was in sight. I felt from him this sense of urgency that his days ahead needed to be utilized to accomplish things, maybe he had not utilized the past 45 years to their absolute fullest.

Over dinner with my sister a few weeks past we were speaking of the differences between how men and women (generally speaking) leave legacies. Over the course of the evening, we deduced that our concern was not about leaving something tangible; money, a building with our name on it; a Nobel prize, but relationships. We wanted to have touched people and leave our mark of our time here by the way we touched others and the energies exchanged during our time on earth.

So back to the wake I passed – How do we live in a way that we matter to others when we are no longer here? In fact, better yet, how do we live in a way that we matter while we are here each day? In the end, no matter how you define legacy, doesn’t it come down to our time on earth mattering? We don’t have to create world peace (although don’t let me stop you!) or discover something magnificent, but I think we, as humans, do need to feel like our existence matters.

Today marks the one year anniversary of Steve Job’s death. Steve mastered mattering both in life and continues to touch people after his passing, not by his iDevices, but by his speeches, the quotes all over the internet today. Those quotes came from Steve living each day – as he is famous for the repeating the line to live each day as if it was your last as one day you will most certainly be right.

Using the desire to matter to people – those I know and will show up at my funeral, and those I don’t, who may never know of my passing, becomes my new touchstone. I guess it has been there for all along, but not as clearly as it was as I passed others celebrating having been touched by a certain someone as I drove passed their calling hours today. That person touched me and directed me, a complete stranger, even in their death – I want to be that kind of person!

How about you? What kind of person do you want to be in your living years?

Living in the Dash

I was asked one day, “What are you doing with your dash?” For obvious reasons I had no idea what this man was asking me, and frankly was a little annoyed at the random, irrelevant question.  He went on to explain the dash.

On a gravestone, there is a birth date and a death date.  In between the two lies the dash.  Ahhh, I now understood the question completely and actually it was indeed very relevant to my current pursuit of self-discovery.

In looking retrospect on my accomplishments and life, I can, with a fair amount of pride, say I’m happy with the life I have lived.  I have successfully raised two wonderful (if I do say so myself) children of whom I’m tremendously proud.  I have had the great fortune to live a year abroad in a completely different culture and offer the experience to my children as well.  I have traveled, loved, felt tremendous loss and basic disappointment, been successful, had my failures and generally enjoyed a great life.

So if I’m happy enough with the path I’ve been on, why the whole big push to change what has been working?  It’s the dash.  Happy enough is just not what I want my dash to signify.

This year I have done something I’ve never done before; I hired a life coach.  This journey of self-discovery has been fascinating.  I have learned what I’m good at is partly who I am, but mostly what I have been good at over the years, is a product of what I had to become good at to make it to where I am today.  I had a bit of a tumultuous childhood and became a product of managing the issues presented to me as a child.  I now find out, I get the chance to live a life while not managing those same issues.  Now I know you think this should be obvious – but once on autopilot, apparently I couldn’t discern what was survival and what was me.  Fascinating!

I am stripping away surviving from living and heading toward thriving.  This is where the person, whom I was born as, gets to run the show.  I slip in and out of surviving and thriving, I have self-doubt that I have to talk myself out of time and again, but those instances are becoming less.  I hope I have a long dash, but regardless I am more concerned that my dash is all that it can be.  I am working on making that happen – already feeling happier on a daily basis, happy enough just isn’t where I want to be.

What are you doing with your dash?

-E