The universe sent a strong message and emphasized it by sending it on Thanksgiving ...twice
What's your favorite holiday? In Canada this upcoming weekend is Thanksgiving and given how beautiful the weather often is, not to mention the chance to be with family, it's a special time indeed. Of course it means great food, lots of laughter, and memories of years gone by. Memories that include those who are no longer at the table or of this world. These won't be sad memories, since the passing of the years has muted the loss of my sister and father. Two special people who coincidentally both passed away on this celebratory weekend.
A dozen years between their deaths but still, their deaths have taken on more meaning each year as I delve into their lives and the timing of their passing. Thanksgiving, interesting, don't you think? On a weekend intended for celebration of family and of graitude it leads me to believe that there were powerful lessons for me to learn, live and then share.
This year, those lessons seem more important than ever. I've spoken to so many people who are trying to determine their next best steps and create a life full of more joy and meaning.
These lessons are tried and true, have a read and see which of them are waiting for you to act on.
Lesson #1 - Have a Vision for Your Life
How much of your life plan comes from what you want and what others thought you should want? For too long my vision of life was too small, defined more by family conditioning than personal beliefs. It meant that while some parts of my life were good, others weren’t. I'd allowed myself to be led by what others thought, instead of crafting my own vision.
It takes time to define what you want, and one of the easiest ways is to journal about the perfect day for yourself in 5 years. You can include as many categories as you like, such as - work, financial, health, family, friends, hobbies, spiritual, relationship. An exercise even as simple as this can help you see how close your life is to the vision you have. That will help you define your focus.
Lesson #2 - Take Personal Responsibility
My sister's death at the age of 48 inspired me to take a hard look at my life and have the courage to address what wasn't working and make the necessary changes. If you don't face your problems, nothing can change.
Lesson #3 - Know Your Values
Your values are the foundational bedrock for decision-making, especially when big life changes are afoot. From the job you have to how you spend your time or your money. One of my values is belonging and when the question of guardianship for my niece and nephew came up, I knew what the next right steps were. Get clear on what your values are so that when opportunities or challenges come into your life, you’ll know what to do.
Lesson #4 - Keep Dreaming Forward
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” C.S. Lewis
When dad passed away at the age of 89 I believe he was relieved. Not because he was in any physical pain, but because he was in emotional pain. Dad’s biggest challenge was losing a sense of meaning and how he still had opportunities to make a difference in other people’s lives.
Contrast that with the woman I was delighted to listen to, who at 99 years of age talked about her life and accomplishments in the distant and not-so-distant past. She published her first book at 95 and said she’d write another one if she had the time. This wasn’t a statement about her age, but about the many ways that her life was full to the brim. You could hear the satisfaction and happiness as she spoke of her life and the art of living well, at any age.
That’s what dreaming a new dream or setting a new goal will do, it helps you decide in what ways you want to make a difference. And it also helps you to “stay fully alive.”
Lesson #5 - Take Time to Smell the Flowers
Some families, some people, are far better at celebrating life and life’s moments than others. In the years since those family deaths, I’ve learned to lean into enjoying more of life’s small pleasures and make space for more of them to happen.
I believe that the shift in the world now reflects people like you who see the value of living a full and complete life and are hungry for ways to create it.
If that's you, have a taste of my book - Journey to Joy and see if it resonates for you.
The time has come to lean into living a life of more meaning
To do that means - create your own vision, know your values, take responsibility, keep dreaming forward and take time to smell the flowers.
If your workplace, group or association is ready for a workshop or speaker, I'm now booking for the remainder of this year and into 2023. Contact me for details.