What 39 Years and a Bit of Recovery Has Taught Me About Life


In the book ‘Mutant Message Down Under,’ by Marlo Morgan (one of my favorite stories about an American woman who went on a Walkabout with an Aboriginal tribe), the natives never celebrated their birthdays.  Instead, they celebrated their wisdom, and it was up to each individual to tell the tribe when they had received great wisdom.  I wish this were the case in our culture today, but then again, I might be much older than thirty-nine.  After my life experiences, I might be REALLY up there in dog years!  I’ve lived a couple of lifetimes in this one single lifetime.  It often feels like I am a very old soul.

Today is my physical birthday, and I am elated that I get to spend the last year in my thirties completely sober and enjoying my life.  The last few years have been dynamic and the gratitude continues radiating from within.  But it isn’t so much the age that matters – it’s what I’ve learned.  It’s how I’ve grown and whom I’ve become.  More than anything, I want my life to be a reflection of love, joy and serenity, and though I’m not 100% there, the love has grown very strong within myself – for myself.  Learning to love and accept myself has been the most important lesson I’ve learned, because it eventually gets extended outward.

Here are a few things I’ve learned about life, which have transformed me:

The journey is the destination.

Once I focus on my journey rather than trying to get somewhere, or hoping to achieve something, the fullness of life envelopes me and I am filled with joy.  Each step I take is a moment of excitement.  I no longer focus on the end result because right now is all I have, and right now has everything I need. 

Love has no bounds. 

Most of us say we understand this, but we still judge those who do not demonstrate love in the manner that we do.  The element of love is boundless and limitless.  It does not judge, nor does it care if a person is of another origin or religion, the same sex, or if there is an age gap.  Love is not bound by marriage, or broken by condemnation.  Love goes beyond the measures of the human mind.  It is eternal and can only be understood through the heart.

– Compassion is the thread that unites humanity as one. 

I cannot say this enough.  First practice compassion for yourself, and then extend it out into the world.  This is my greatest lesson of all.  COMPASSION is the key to being set free.  We must stop focusing on trying to get people to change by telling them that they are wrong, and learn to understand the message of Christ and all of the other wise leaders who have come to change the world.  The message is COMPASSION.  That is it.  Simple and profound.

– It is not for me to judge.

Period.  I have such a long way to go.  I have no right to judge another human being, nor do I want that kind of responsibility.

– People judge.  It’s what people do.  So the hell what?  I will not waste my life worrying about what others think.

I live in an affluent county.  I drive an ugly old Saab and barely make ends meet each month, but I came here to thrive and I’m doing what I love most, which is writing.  I don’t own any clothes with fancy labels.  My only Prada bag is a knockoff and I am the only renter on this block.  I have had two failed marriages and I used to be a drunk. I am so incredibly grateful that I can walk out of my house and go on a hike, or drive to the beach in twenty minutes, or smell the redwoods from a block away, that I could care less about what other people think about my crappy car.  Everywhere we go, we will be judged, but this no longer bothers me.  I am so MYSELF and I am exactly where I want to be. I know that I am moving forward – I don’t have to prove this to the world.

– My intuition never leads me wrong

Once I began following my own inner compass, instead of listening to the noise of other people, my life fell exactly into place.  I cannot express enough that we all need to tap into our intuition.  It is the key to living out the existence that we came here to live, and to live life fully, and with purpose.

– There will always be someone prettier, smarter, more cultured and more successful than me.

This is why I no longer compete.  I simply do what I came here to do without worrying about being better, or looking better than someone else.  Competition has taken up so much of my life, way too much energy, and the disappointment of not being the best is so crushing, that I have thankfully given up on all of that, and have graciously learned to simply be myself.  This has deemed to be quite enough.

– All human beings are of equal value.

Enough said.  No one is better than another.  We are all equal.  We are all unique.  We are all enough for our creator.  What society deems as elite, is a terrific illusion.

– What better way to honor my creator, than simply being myself?

We live our lives trying to impress the people around us, but the only thing that matters is that we honor ourselves by simply being who we are.  If you’re an artist – paint.  If you’re a sailor – sail.  If you’re a photographer – take tons of pictures.  Stop trying to keep up with the insanity of our society and do what feels right inside of you.  This is how we honor our creator.

– Once we stop looking for someone to come and save us, we are set free.

I grew up with the belief that life was about suffering, and that the only way I could be set free was to wait around for a savior.  When I transformed my life through recovery, I realized that I was responsible for my own salvation.  Once I understood this and really got it, I began eating healthier, exercising more, being much more responsible for my actions, and honoring myself and all of life.  I am the temple of God.  God is not outside of me.  This is one of the greatest and most humbling understandings I have come to know.  “I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one cometh to the father except through me.”  This is a powerful statement of being – not a religious statement of action.  “The Kingdom of Heaven is within.”  By my own understanding, I have come to know that I cannot be present with “God” without entering into the sacred stillness of my own body.

Life goes by fast, make it worthwhile.

I try to live everyday with an understanding that it could be my last.  This way, I am always taking in the beauty surrounding me, the love offered to me and doing my very best.  I am not perfect.  I sometimes fail.  I get up, dust off and move forward without looking back.  Life is too short to be stuck in the past.

Fear is my only enemy.

Life is about acknowledge my fears, facing them and walking through them.  This is the soul’s great journey.

Everyone I encounter is a potential teacher.

It is not the actual person that usually teaches me anything.  It is the emotion that arises when I am in another person’s presence.  We are all reflections of one another.  Whatever emotions arise, is where I place my focus instead of blaming the other person for my personal feelings.  People come into our experience to help us face ourselves.  This is also the journey of the soul.

Each person I meet has gone through something that I have never experienced.

We should walk through life knowing that everyone we encounter knows something about life that we don’t know.  This is one great way to remain humble.

Humility is the shelter that keeps us aligned with who we are.

Once we walk out from this covering, we discover ourselves in our destructive self-will.  Remaining humble is imperative to living a life of greatness.

We are all one.

Each person is a facet of the Creator, but we are all of one consciousness.  This has been proven in quantum physics.  When you harm another person, you are directly harming yourself.  

Being nice is overrated – practice kindness.

Kindness has a ripple effect for the good of all.  Be kind instead of trying to be nice.  It goes a lot further and it is a genuine way to be.

Walk the talk.

Bottom line.

I am not my mind.

This realization set me free.  I am a soul, with a purpose.  My mind is the enemy which wants to destroy me.  To be aware of my thoughts is to be the watcher of my mind.  To be aware of my behaviors is to be set free from them.  This is ultimate self-awareness.  Self-awareness will change the world.

I am not lacking anything.  I am not broken.  I am whole.  I am complete.  There is nothing missing.

Spiritually speaking, we are everything.  Everything we need is within us.  It is our minds that tell us otherwise.

The purpose of my life, is to live my life with purpose.

I spent a great majority of my life trying to figure out what the purpose and meaning was to my life, and of life in general.  Now that I understand that my life is of great value (rather than buying into a belief that I am only one measly person among seven billion), I practice just being myself.  This has had amazing results, but most of all, I am eternally happy. 

“Be the change you want to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandi














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