Kathleen Taylor finishes here TEDx talk with the following exhortation:
Discover and express your amazing uniqueness in the world. Stop bullshitting
Why does Kathleen say this? Because she has learned from spending time working with-counselling the dying.
What can we learn from Kathleen?
Dying people teach us that it is never too late to shed what’s false and to become who we truly are.
Do you and I have to wait until our last days to live authentically?
But I’d like to hope that it is never too soon… So here is the challenge …. let’s don’t wait until we are at the end of our lives to find out who we really are.
Have your ever found yourself thinking about the purpose of your life? Wrong Question!
Have you every been confronted with this question: “What is my life about? What am I supposed to be doing with my life?” This question is one that I continue to grapple with. And this is what Kathleen has good news for me:
I think that is the wrong question.
I actually think the better question is “Who am I being with my life?”
What is the relationship between being and doing?
There is an intersect between doing and being. But, I’m pretty sure that being comes first.
And what you are supposed to be doing with your life will flow from who you truly are. You really can’t screw that up if you do it that way.
Why bother with living authentically? Why not just fit in and go with the flow?
Action, and creativity, and innovation that comes from true authenticity is what moves the world forward. And it has the lovely side effect …. of creating joy.
Awaken to the preciousness of time! be authentic, stop bullshitting
Living is the process of dying. Please read that again: living is the process of dying. This is what you and I are almost never present to. Yet, this is not true for those who are dying:
It ends up that some of the purpose of facing your mortality is to look back on the body of work of your life and develop a deep sense of self. And really, to finally awaken to the preciousness of time.
This brings us back to Kathleen’s exhortation:
Discover and express your amazing uniqueness in the world. Stop bullshitting
Here is Kathleen’s TEDx talk
By now you may be in a place where you actually want to see-hear-experience Kathleen’s TEDx talk. Here it is, enjoy!
We are given to search for recipes, formulas, instructions, and methods. And there is a place for recipes and formulas. If I am new to baking a cake then having a recipe at hand makes a difference. If I need to get from A to B then the GPS will provide me with the step by step instructions to get from A to B, most of the time.
When it comes to life itself recipes, formulas, instructions and methods don’t work that well. At best they are hit and miss. I am not you, you are not me. And neither you nor I can step into the same river twice: we are not the same, the river is not the same. What works for me may not work for you. What occurs as being a good fit for me may not be a good fit for you. What leaves me inspired may not leave you inspired.
When it comes to living an authentic life, or living powerfully, or living an ‘extraordinary’ life questions are the access. With the context set, I invite you to listen to Arnold Schwarznegger. Why? Because, he puts forth one of the most powerful questions for inventing a life, an authentic life, a life that matters, a transformed life. This video is only 3-4 minutes and is packed with wisdom.
I am the being of a father. I choose to be the being of a father. As such concerns show up when it comes to all of the children. And I notice, in particular as regards daughter, Clea. Why?
She is at that age, 12 years old, where there is the change in biology occurring. And at the same time she is acted upon by strong social forces. The kind of social forces that make, bend, break us.
So it was with delight that I read the following piece. A piece written by daughter where she asks a powerful question – perhaps the most powerful question of all.
A chair small. I guess it’s how others interpret it cause in the reflection of the chair it’s tall and big. A bit like humans.
Humans. There is what we are. And there is our reflection, how other people see us.
But let me ask you this, which one is more important? In our days everyone cares about their reflection: how other people see them.
But is it useful just having/being a reflection? I mean is it useful having a reflection of a chair? I think it is more useful just having the chair, the real chair.
Humans, it is more useful to have/be the real you than your reflection because your reflection is worth nothing to you.
So today ask yourself this question “To be me or to be my reflection?”
On holiday in the l’isle de Re I came across many people. Only one, Jean, grabbed my attention with the way of his being in the world. It occurred to me that Jean was simply in the world making the most of being in the world. He showed up as being ‘natural’ – just flowing like water flows without any need to make a statement nor to seek any approval/admiration from himself or others. He occurred to me as a person at peace with himself and the world. Jean is retired/elderly (those are the facts) and yet he did not show up that way for me. He showed up as being physically fit and youthful: his physique, his clothes, the way he carried himself, the car he drove…
What is Jean’s secret?
Was Jean always this way? No. He tells me that he was like everyone else going through the motions of living without being alive. He did not focus on what mattered, what called to him, what generated joy within him. He would procrastinate. He would let opportunities slip by. He would let days idly slip by….. He was immersed in ‘ordinary’ living and not even aware of it.
Then one day 20+ years ago he found he had cancer and that he was a condemned man – the cancer was going to kill him. It was this death sentenced that freed him from his ‘ordinary’ life and opened the gate to his ‘extraordinary’ living. This death sentence transformed his view of himself, of his relationships, of his life and his living.
What makes Jean show up as ‘extraordinary’?
Jean does not take life for granted like many/most of us do. Jean does not complain/whine about life like many/most of us do. To Jean, being alive is a privilege: life and living show up as precious gift that is not to be squandered. He is clear about who he is and who he is not. He is clear about what matters and what does not matter. He is clear what he likes to do/spend his time. And being clear he acts on this clarity. Jean is committed to living fully into and making the most of each day. Today he thinks through how he wishes to spend tomorrow and when tomorrow comes he throws himself fully into it. Jean does not waste time on ‘surviving and fixing’, ‘making it’, ‘looking good, avoiding looking bad’………… He is too busy living an authentic life and thus has no time, no space, for the rubbish that goes with everyday, ordinary, inauthentic living.
You and I cannot escape death; we are all condemned to die from the moment that we are born. You and I can continue to ‘forget’ this inconvenient fact and go about ‘ordinary living’ with our addictions to ‘surviving and fixing’, ‘making it’ and ‘looking good avoiding looking bad’. Or we can live the way that Jean live where every day is a gift and what matters is to simply be one’s authentic self and put oneself fully into the game of life.
How about inventing and living from/living into the possibility of living ‘a life worth living’?
What kind of a life shows up for you as being a ‘life worth living’ for you? Given that death is sitting on our shoulders ready to tap us and take us away, how long are you and I going to wait to live a ‘life worth living’?
Please click on the following image to enlarge it so that you can read it more easily: