It’s 4:30am and I cannot sleep. I have this energy running through my body that has driven me out of bed with this need to write. I need to tell you something. “Good enough” isn’t. Ever. You’re better than that. And you know it. You know that merely going through the motions of your life, getting everything on your “to do” list checked off and finding a little “me time” at the end of the day will never satisfy your need for purpose in your life. All it can do is fill the time between now and the hour of your death. It will provide no greater value to you or to anyone else. And yet, you are still here. Why?
Existence vs. Living
Like you, so many people spend their entire lives merely existing when they could be really living. But they don’t live because living takes courage and, especially in the U.S., we don’t teach people how to be courageous. Sure, we learn how to recognize courage in the form of the underdog taking on the Goliath, but it is usually when the underdog has nothing left to lose that they finally reach into themselves to find the courage they need to move from existence into living.
Courage Isn’t Situational
But how many times in your life do you get pushed up against a wall like that? Not many. Most of the time, life just blithely rolls along with some challenges and some rewards, but nothing that shakes us to the very core of our being. And if you don’t pay attention, years can go by without you finding a reason to call up your courage even once. And yet, it is the struggle that defines us: the bringing up of courage on a daily basis that sets the foundation for true meaning in our lives.
Our Puerile Existence
We live in a sterile world of relative safety. Unlike those living in third world countries, we don’t face the struggles of finding water that won’t make us sick, or enough food to maintain our health, or sufficient medicines to treat our illness when we get sick. We don’t have to hunt and gather, we simply walk down to the supermarket. And this is the real gift of our lives here in a first world nation.
Privilege = Responsibility
But with our great privilege comes the responsibility to expand what human kind can become. Because we don’t have to worry about daily survival, we are freed up to consider the nature of the universe and, in fact, the deeper stuff of who we really are. And yet, most of us miss this mission, instead drowning ourselves in artificial quests via television or movies, alcoholic hazes, and the drama of who will get that next promotion at work. But this is not really living.
Living Requires Facing Your Fears
It is not enough to get up every day and go through the motions. It’s not even enough to pursue power, influence and wealth (although our culture would very much like us to believe it is). True living comes from taking a long hard look at yourself and facing the fears that lie under the surface of your world view. It comes from facing your inner demons and learning how to embrace the gifts that they have to offer you. True living comes when you have walked into your inner darkness to find the richness of the soul soil that it contains.
Until You Know Who You Are, You Cannot Be Fully Alive
It is in this quest for the inner self, the wholeness of being that we come to life. It is in the revelation of discovering a pattern that has held us back for years, the releasing of a belief that doesn’t serve, and the beating back of self-doubt that gives us the strength to strive for more. Heroes aren’t born, they are made – forged in the fires of adversity. If we do not engage our own inner hardships, how can we ever hope to be the heroes of our own story?
And So, This is My Battle Cry To You
If you are dissatisfied with your life, dig deep. Stop running away from your fears and turn to face them. Start small and build your courage, it is a muscle like anything else and it grows stronger with use. Risk something. Change something. Move towards something. Choose differently. But choose consciously – perhaps for the first time, perhaps not, but choose because if you allow life to choose for you, then you will be carried along on the tides as you have always been – subject to the storms and eddies without any power over yourself or your experience. Stop existing and start living!