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If you died today, would you die happy?


If you died today, would you die happy?

Megan Harrod

The other night as I was lying in bed I had this moment of complete clarity where I thought, "If I died today, I'd be okay with it." No, I wasn't high. Or drunk. It was just completely clear to me at that moment. I've loved and I've lived. I'm happy.

I have an incredibly supportive, loving family. The Universe has presented me with challenging, fulfilling and meaningful professional opportunities and has connected me with souls that have taught me invaluable life lessons from an early age. Most importantly, I was open to receiving those lessons and open to doing the work to get where I am now. When I've needed change, I've taken intentional steps towards achieving that change in order to find peace. I have traveled the world both alone and with others, and have seen things many eyes have not had the opportunity to see. I have become a student of life...I love learning new skills.

In the process, I've learned a ton about myself. I'm so imperfect it's unreal. But I'm okay with that. I've learned that, though I love learning new skills, I'm frustrated when I'm not good at them. I've learned that I often feel like if I'm not burning the candle at both ends, then I'm not productive. I've learned that I'm incredibly sensitive, even though most people think I'm over-confident. I've learned that I'm harder on myself than anyone else. I've learned above all else, that it's important to be true to yourself...because only when you're honest with yourself can you be honest with others. I've learned that two halves don't make a whole. Only when you're whole can your soul unite with another soul (which needs to be, of course, whole). I've learned the importance of sitting with myself and getting to know who I am, apart from anyone else. I've learned to be gentle with myself and realistic with my expectations of myself.

This summer I've drastically changed my schedule to suit me and find balance. I spend half of my time outside landscape gardening with a beautiful soul (my dear friend Ana) I met four years ago at Alta on closing day at a parking lot dance party and I spend half of my time working for the U.S. Ski Team, but I'm not fixed to an office chair and confined to a cubicle. For me, this change was vital to my happiness. The other day as I was tampering rock in the back of one of our landscaping clients' homes, I was listening to Lewis Howes' School of Greatness podcast entitled "Love Louder and Deepen Relationships" with Preston Smiles. In the middle of tampering, the tears started flowing out of my eyes. I let it happen. In that moment, I invited myself to feel that.

In the podcast, Preston talks about gender differences in relationships, and how - as little girls - we're taught to experience our experience, share, touch, be in touch with our emotions while dudes are just taught to fight each other, tackle each other...and they're very simple. It's so true. I've thought a lot about expectations in relationships of late, and how the expectations we create lead us down a path of frustration and hurt. The thing is, the best things in life—across all realms of life—shouldn't really feel hard and forced. Oftentimes, we tell ourselves stories and listen to the voices in our heads that lead us to believe that things are harder than they need to be. It feels constraining. We create excuses that enable us to give up and walk away easily, not allowing ourselves to really feel or experience or fall into life. We feel like we're losing our freedom and our control. We are afraid to show vulnerability. We are afraid to be real and authentic. It's just easier to live on the the surface is where most of the world resides. When you chose to step into your calling, it will make room for you.

In a very real way, I've experienced this in the last few months. Broken and exhausted at season's end, I had no room to think about anything and move forward. As I started focusing on myself and sitting in that space of just being and relinquishing control, the Universe began to open itself up to me. I had conversations with advocates and friends that encouraged and empowered me. Gradually, like the layers of an onion, the overwhelming and daunting components started to peel away and reveal the core of me...and as I reconnected with that, I had room for everything else to fall into place. And, it has. But, it took work to get here.

Here's the thing...I can group humans of this world into three categories: there are people in this world that are completely unaware, there are people in this world who are aware and unwilling to do the hard work because they're afraid of where it will take them, and then there are people who are enlightened: they are aware and they do the work. I'd like to think I fall into the last category. And, I'd like to surround myself with people in that last category. The enlightened. Though, just like I need to be gentle with myself, I have to remind myself to be gentle with others and my expectations of others. I've never been drawn to people purely for personal gain. I'm not drawn to humans for what they do and how they can benefit my life. Rather, I'm drawn to them because of who they are at the core. There's a big difference. But, not everyone is that way. And that's ok. It's not for me, but if that's the way they choose to live their life, it's their choice to make. And again, that's ok.

Lastly, I encourage all of you to read The Alchemist if you have not already (there's a beautiful 25th Anniversary edition on Amazon that I suggest you make yours). I am not sure why this book hadn't landed in my hands before, but I know that it was presented to me at the right moment, because I dove in, got lost in it, and didn't want it to end. Someday soon I'll write an entire post on what I learned from that book.  The biggest lesson, of course, is to appreciate the present moment for what it is—not to live in the past or the future—but to really sit in this moment right now and appreciate it as a gift that's been given to you. As we each attempt to find our Personal Legend, the Universe will present us with lessons along the way that we are meant to explore on our path to understanding.

He sat looking at the sky for a long time. Then he took from his knapsack a bottle of wine, and drank some. He remembered the night in the desert when he had sat with the alchemist, as they looked at the stars and drank wine together. He thought of the many roads he had traveled, and of the strange way God had chosen to show him his treasure. If he hadn’t believed in the significance of his recurrent dreams, he would not have met the Gypsy woman, the king, the thief, or...’Well, it’s a long list. But the path was written in the omens, and there was no way I could go wrong,’ he said to himself.
— Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

The goal is to be open and listen to the be aware and to trust that everything is being presented to you in accordance to a plan. As Coelho writes, “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it"—but the trick is to explore with intention void of expectation. I gained some wisdom from an unlikely source the other day in the film, "How to be Single" with Fat Amy that got me thinking, too. It's a comedy, but the words at the end made me consider the gift of singledom further...

The thing about being single is you should cherish it because in a week or a lifetime of being alone you may only get one moment, one moment you’re not tied up with a relationship with anyone a parent, a pet, a sibling a friend. One moment when you stand on your own, really truly single and then…it’s gone.
— Amy, How to be Single

Seriously. "Cherish" it. That word is powerful. A reminder to chill the fuck out, because when you're seeking something with expectation you'll rarely find what you're looking for. Being single is awesome. I can go anywhere I want, whenever I want. Someday, I'd love to travel and explore with a partner...when the time is right. But for now, I travel this road alone, and while I travel this road alone I learn important lessons about myself and what I'm looking for in a relationship in the future. I am independent and need the freedom to be myself in a relationship. After all, in relationship, two halves don't make a whole.

Thanks for bearing with me...I've rambled a lot today. At the heart of this piece, though, the message is that I'm not afraid of death because I've lived my life fully without regret. I'm not afraid to explore the depths of my heart and explore life with a curious spirit that others are often afraid or unwilling to explore. To live enlightened. Sure, I don't want to die today. There are still souls that I'd like to meet, dreams that I'd like to dream, goals that I want to achieve, and lands that I want to explore. But if I did, I'd die happy.

What about you?