I have talked a lot about the purpose of life. My belief is and continues to be the purpose of life is to “live”. But what exactly does that mean? I have given examples with trees and other metaphors, but somehow this idea is still a hard one to grasp.
I was recently journaling in my “The Circle Maker Prayer Journal”, ( I recommend this book to everyone, no matter your religious beliefs) and the quote for the day was
“stop living as though the purpose of life is to arrive safely to death”
How profound this? I had to really pause in that moment and allow this quote to sink into my spirit. You’ve read my post on stop waiting and start living, where I talk about the idea of dying and how we are all going to do it. Is the purpose to arrive at that moment safely? Is the goal of living to arrive on your death bed and say, “whew! Thank goodness I got here with no broken bones, no horror stories, no exotic memories, I got here safe and sound!” Will this safe arrival to the one place many of us fear make the arrival easier and better? I’m going to go out on a limb and say probably not.
My guess is many of us will think about all the chances we should’ve taken and how we would’ve taken those chances had we known this was the ultimate outcome (as if we don’t already know this). No one really wants to play it safe. When we play games, we take chances and go out on the limb, because we want to win and we think it’s just a game so I’m going to go for it. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose, but no matter the outcome at the end of the game we have a story to tell and memories to share. We learn valuable lessons for the next time we play the game and we go into the game more confident than the last time.
Isn’t life a game?
Who told you it wasn’t?
When you think back on this great philosopher that told you life isn’t a game and we need to take life seriously and proceed with caution, how was their life?
All the greats I know, played life as though it was a game, a game to be mastered and won. Many of these greats lost the game of life several times, but in the end they won. I can assure you they didn’t arrive at death safely. They had stories and war wounds to prove it. Us, too afraid to live folks, marvel in their stories and think how can we live freely like them? The question I ask is, what are you afraid to lose? Me, I am afraid of dying and never had lived. I am afraid of dying with regrets. I am afraid of dying while still living.
I am afraid of dying while still living
Many people play it safe in fear of loss and death. I don’t or can’t do that because I might lose my job, I don’t want to do that because I might die, I don’t want to go because I might die, I can’t buy that because I might lose my car. The script is different, but the plot is the same. The ultimate goal is to safely walk through life. It is only when we are faced with loss or death that we throw caution to the wind and truly begin to play the game of life. It is in these moments that we truly begin to live. The problem with this narrative is it’s still fear driven. Fear prevents us from living while also making us live. Isn’t that amazing how one single emotion can determine the path we choose in life? What would happen if we removed fear? It is even possible? Do we ultimately need fear to live?
Yes! We need fear to live! Fear is what drove many of the greats to be great. Fear is ultimately what forced me to jump ship. Fear is what motivate us to do the unthinkable and move into the unknown. Fear is what drives us to change.
Fear; freeing emotions, abandoning reason.
When there is fear present we tend to either allow our emotions free or we free ourselves of emotion. If you are a person that holds onto emotions and do not allow your emotions to be known, when fear is present you may allow your emotions to flow. You may say I love you to a person you never allowed yourself to say I love you too. You may express the feelings of concern or worry. You may allow yourself to say all the things you wanted to say before but didn’t. If you are a person that is always thinking about your emotions and assessing a situation, when fear is present you may free yourself of these thoughts and emotions. If you were always worried about something or someone, when fear is present you throw those worries to the side and move pass whatever is driving the fear. Fear causes freedom.
With this freedom, there is an abandonment of reason. When you are faced with fear, you somehow no longer wrestle with reason, you simply react to move pass the situation that is causing fear. When fear is present, you somehow are no longer scared or afraid. You don’t have time to think about what if. There is no time to reason in a “life or death” situation. If you ever been in a fearful situation, then you know the feeling of abandoning reason. We often find ourselves saying “I can’t believe I did that” It’s as though we would have never done whatever that was if fear wasn’t present. Unlike being scared fear causes action. Being scared causes you to be paralyzed. Scared is a state of being, while fear is a motivator. When you are scared you are thinking, analyzing, reasoning. When you are fearful you are doing, reacting, letting go of reason. Again there is freedom in fear.
So, how do you live in constant F.E.A.R? Ask yourself what emotion am I holding on to or hiding? What negotiations and reasoning conversations am I having with myself? What am I scared of? Once you begin to ask yourself these core questions, you will begin to feel the fear emerge. Don’t run from it, that is scared rearing it’s ugly head trying to confuse you. Feel that fear and ask yourself what is my biggest fear? Once you allow yourself to feel the fear, you will without thought begin to take actions. Fear is jarring. One action will arise more fear and more fear will arise more action. All these tiny little actions will cause you to live! But not only live, but live in the present and live the life you want and deserve.
Remember being scared is being paralyzed, having fear is having action.