Episode 89: Living a Rich Life Now
Episode 89: Learning to Live a Rich Life Now
This past year has been especially hard on so many of us. Some of you have lost loved ones, friends, people from church or your community. And it’s difficult saying goodbye and making room for such a big change in your life. In our own ward coming back from Covid left things quite different than it was before.
This weekend alone my parents are driving up to attend a funeral out of state and I was asked to play the piano at a memorial service of an amazing individual that passed away recently and as I’ve been preparing and practicing I’ve been thinking about the life of this man. He was as stalwart as they come, just a rock of moral character, with the biggest heart and desire to serve and uplift others.
The service my parents are attending is for a lovely woman and mother who left this earth too soon and it’s in these moments that you stop and really think about these precious souls and the legacy they left behind and you can’t help, as human nature goes to wonder about your own life, your own legacy, what your eulogy will look like.
And I say this not from a “what will other people think of me after I’m gone” stance but rather a, “what do I want to have experienced in mortality” stance. I’ve been pondering deeply about this gift of our mortality and how we jumped for joy at the promise of getting to come to earth, to gain a mortal body, and to experience this time here on this planet, in your own skin, surrounded by the people in your life.
And yet so many people leave this earth with regrets: things they left unsaid, things they didn’t do, people they didn’t talk to or make amends with, dreams never fulfilled, photographs never taken or at least developed, words never written, journals and thoughts never documented, relationships never mended, books never written, songs unsung, celebrations never had, and to an extend – life never fully, wholeheartedly lived.
Now listen, we all have things we want to do, to learn and truly there isn’t enough time on earth to do all the things and that’s okay we don’t need to. We have all eternity to learn all the instruments, speak all the languages, progress in all the areas we want to progress in so I’m not worried about that as much as I think about and am aware of what I want to have created, savored, and what I allowed myself to experience.
This earth life is our chance to become. It’s an opportunity for us to experience joy in a way that only mortality could provide and so many of us are resisting that precious gift.
We say things like, “I can’t handle that”, or “I can’t wait until this is over”, “I wish we could just skip forward” and I don’t think we really realize what it is we’re saying because when we wish for the fast forward button on our lives we’re missing key, important experiences that help you to grow and more importantly, to become.
I always use the example of a houseplant. I’m a plant person all the way. I love my plants and my house plants are lovely but they’re finicky. They have very specific parameters of what they can survive in and in a sense, they’re limited in what they can become meaning, they’ll always be a certain size. They’ll always have to have these specific conditions. Whereas the evergreens outside my house or redwood trees grow to these incredible heights because of their circumstances. They grow deeper roots because of the storms, because of the harsh winds, because they learned to stand tall no matter what life offered them.
Now before you take this too literal – I get it, my houseplants are not designed to be redwoods and nor do I want them to be. They are perfect at being my cute houseplants just as the redwoods are perfect at soaring to great heights but unlike these plants you aren’t born with specific parameters or limitations. You as an amazing, intelligent human being can do and create all that you want to and that’s really the key, what you want.
You have to know what you want before you can pursue your dreams or progress. You have to know what kind of a life you want to have lived, what experiences you want to have experienced. You have to look ahead and ask yourself what do I want my eulogy to look like? What kind of a life do I want to have lived? When I’m on my deathbed what do I want to be thinking about? Do I want to be full of regrets of things left undone? Or do I want to feel rich and fulfilled because of how much I tried?
I hope this isn’t too much of a heavy topic for you, in fact when I think about these things I get really excited because life isn’t over for you. You’re here, you’re alive, you have lifetimes left to live – no matter how old you are. You know how quickly life can change and pivot you in an entirely different direction so why not live from that standpoint? Why not think about what you want and instead of downplaying it our doubting, ask yourself, why not?
You don’t know unless you allow yourself to entertain the idea at least. One of my friends used to tell me how her husband always wanted to open this restaurant. He had these brilliant ideas and plans of how cool it could be and for years she said that there was just no way. They didn’t have the time, the means, the know-how even and each time he’d start to dream she said she’d bring him back to reality until one afternoon when we were chatting I just invited her to try on the idea of dreaming. I said that dreaming doesn’t mean doing. It doesn’t mean that you’re signing some invisible contract that now this is your path in life. You’re just dreaming, why not? Why not dive right along side him and throw out your ideas too?
She really liked that and a few weeks later she was so ecstatic to tell me that as they were dreaming and talking all about it together he realized that it’s not really what he wanted after all. Like, talking about it made him realize that this was a dream of the past and now that he gave himself time to articulate and think out loud it wasn’t as much fun as he used to think it was.
So many of us are like that too. We suppress these dreams because of lack of time, funds, support, or know-how and they just take up space in our minds for years sometimes. We fail ahead of time because we don’t even allow ourselves to think about it. Dreaming doesn’t cost money. Dreaming doesn’t require pre-requisites. You’re just dreaming and unless you allow yourself to dream you’ll never know what you really want and you might be collecting regrets.
What kind of a life do you want to have lived? And yes, I said that past tense because I want you to think about your eulogy and if you could create or curate it, what would you want it to say?
One of my clients recently had an opportunity to go for something big and she was full off doubts initially and then told herself, “No. I want to go all in whether or not I get it. I want to try” and I loved that so much about her because now she’ll know. She’ll have no regrets because she didn’t pull out of the race ahead of time in case she didn’t get it. She’ll know and not only that but she’s building trust within herself and confidence to say, “I lived. I went all in”
I’m a big advocate for saying YES. I believe that we make more progress, we’re more productive (and not in doing but in becoming), and we feel better when we come from a YES standpoint. It doesn’t mean that we have a yes-man attitude and that we agree to everything. What it means is saying YES to you and the life you want to live.
YES, I want to go all in. YES, I want to allow myself to dream. Yes, I want to savor this moment. Yes, I want to make a plan to go on that trip. Yes, I want to give myself permission to rest instead of trying to do too much because that’s what other people want from me. See the difference? You’re not people pleasing – you’re allowing yourself to fully live, to live a life without regrets.
None of us are perfect and we don’t have to be. Perfection in mortality is pending. What we do need to do is just try. Really try. Try to go all in with your life. Try to be intentional in your thoughts, your time, and your actions. Try to keep your overall why and vision always at the forefront of your life.
You’ve all heard the sayings to not wait for that special occasion, every day is a special occasion. And I echo that entirely. Don’t wait for an opportunity to live, to explore, to become who you want to be. Don’t wait for that second prompting or that second or third invitation.
Years ago I had this lightbulb moment that isn’t really that profound but at that time and in that moment it was for me. You ever have one of those? I had just finished teaching a RS Lesson and this sweet sister from church waved goodbye from across the parking lot and I was buckling up kiddos and when I turned around she was like right next to me. She told me that the lesson was really impactful for her and how much it meant to her and then she said, “I know a lot of times we think kind things about others but we never really say them and I just wanted to say that to you today so you’d know”
And I tell you what that was so sweet and significant to me because light bulb – we can’t read others thoughts. I told you, profound. We can’t know what others are thinking and more importantly, they can’t know what we think of them and that’s a bummer because we think wonderful things about people all the time in our minds and because of timing, or circumstances, or our own insecurities those kind things we think never quite make it into fruition and then it’s lost and dies within us.
So I decided that I wanted to be better at that. I’m not 100% but I’m way more intentional about it now. If I can offer someone a kind, genuine, thought for them to try on and choose to believe, I want to do that. I want to be the kind of person that invites others to believe in themselves and know that they are loved.
My life’s motto is an echo from Elsie De Wolfe when she wrote, “I just want to make everything around me beautiful. That will be my life”
And for me that starts in my thoughts. I want my eulogy to be full of beautiful things and not possessions but experiences, connections, memories of beautiful moments. I want to reflect back on my life and see how I savored each and every minute of my personal mortal journey.
I want to stand tall through my trials and adversity like the redwoods and be all the richer because of it. That because of that challenge and hardship I became someone with more experience to be able to reach out and understand and connect with others.
What do you want? What is your life’s motto? What do you want your eulogy to say? If you could take a peek into the future and hear your eulogy read out loud what would you want it to say? I highly encourage you to take one afternoon and write your eulogy out. Let it guide and direct your life now so that you create that beautiful eulogy for yourself and to leave an incredible legacy behind.
What do you want? What dreams are you suppressing? What plans are you not planning? What relationships are you avoiding? What presses on your mind and heart? What kind of a life do you want to live? What are you creating with your precious time in mortality?
I invite you to be mindful of this. Morality is finite at least in this setting. If you want to live a confident life you have to be true to what you want and in order to be true to what you want you have to know what that is. What does living life really look like or mean to you? Not what the world says it should be – this is your life you get to decide what that is for you.
Savor this time. Say yes to things you really care about and dream about. Say yes to the kind of life you want to live and not what others put value on.
Confident living begins with knowing what kind of life you want to live and then embracing that this is your life. You don’t have to do what others think you should do or live how others want you to. You get to decide what is your best use of this mortal experience and journey. And then TRUST, self-trust is the key in all of this because this is how you know you’re actually going to take care of you and have your own back to honor your vision. It’s okay if other’s don’t understand as long as you understand you.
Say yes to a life well lived – a life that you can define as well-lived. Write your own eulogy and start getting clear on your path in life – who you are and who you are becoming.
Okay my friends, have a beautiful week. Talk to you next time!