Apparently the Greeks did not write obituaries. At the end of a person’s life when they stood paying their respects they asked, “Did they live with passion?” I don’t think there could be a better question.
Today the learning about the Greek tradition reminded me of the greatest learning that I have had – you see, a few years ago I wrote my eulogy. I was taking a course on personal development. Mid way through the second morning we were asked to write our own eulogy. This exercise changed my life – forever and profoundly. With only 20 minutes for the exercise we were told to write the eulogy that we would want one of our loved ones to recite at our funeral. With tears in my eyes I poured my heart out and then sealed the letter in an envelope. We then broke for a much needed tea or coffee so that everyone could regroup after what was such an emotional exercise. We all wrongfully assumed that the exercise was over. It was only the beginning. When we returned we were told to open the letter, read it to those in our work session circle and then to evaluate our lives against what we had written. Were we living the way we wanted to be remembered?
A humbling exercise to say the least. Was I the mother, daughter, sister, leader, partner, friend,….that I wanted to be remembered for? If the tears flowed as I was writing the eulogy during the exercise, you can only imagine how they flowed now. I was delivering in some areas but in others, I was failing.
The remainder of the course was focused on designing the life plan that was going to deliver the eulogy we individually wanted to be known for. Hence my daily mantra and the reminder on my website to “Live Your Legacy” everyday. And ultimately, the reason for the many changes in my life over the past few years and in the past few weeks.
I escaped the city yesterday to work on my next steps, a plan for a family business and a plan for myself. The last 3 years have been extremely challenging – more challenging than I ever expected.
I actually thought that at this stage in my life I would be “coasting”! But clearly, I am not a “coaster”. Not sure that coasting and living a “passionate life” are compatible! In fact, I know they are not. And today very specifically I am looking at all my passions. I am designing and redesigning and plotting a plan to see where to from here.
Its clear from the charts on the wall, the powerpoint documents, the markers, the paint brushes, the blank canvases, the magazine clippings and the post it notes everywhere, I have a bunch of ideas that I am assembling into a mosaic map. Its very colourful, its very creative, its practical and its whimsical – Hah, typical! What am I to make of all of this?
I read a passage today; “A person is lovable only when both the divine and the devilish shine through him, both the sinner and the saint. The ambiguity casts a spell.” (Susan Smit, happiness magazine). With this in mind, my colourful mosaic map makes sense – it is – an ambiguous divine and devilish plan. It will unfold as I follow my heart knowing full well that the Universe has my back and that more than ever I am committed to living passionately.