Sunday, April 18, 2010

Live like you are dying...

I woke up this morning at 3:50 am. Yes, I know..... it's ridiculous. But Isabella (my 9 mos. old lab) insisted it was time to run and who am I to argue with that sweet little face? So, I laced it up and headed out into the darkness. Now, you might find this shocking, but at 4:20 am on a Saturday morning there is not much action and it's quite easy to find yourself within your head.

My family is always onto me about running alone in the dark. I know it is warranted, but I just never really give it a thought.

Izzy and I started out at a breakneck pace into the dark (she has yet to learn the art of pacing).
Around mile 3, I passed a man just standing on the sidewalk and it occured to me that if today was the day that the stars aligned, it could be over in a matter of seconds... I didn't feel afraid or worried or anything, just very aware of the fact that not a second of life is guaranteed. And that awareness made me start assessing how I feel about the way I live my life. Right now, there is a popular song out that says to "live like you are dying." I've always considered myself a person that lived this way because I never "wish" I could do something. I simply do it. I have zig-zagged all over the map "living life to the fullest." Don't get me wrong. It has led to a lot of really fun experiences and a ridiculous number of "fish stories" that get retold again and again. It recently became clear to me, though, that just doing all the things I want to do isn't living like I am dying. That's only one facet of a much bigger picture. The other parts are a whole lot scarier.

As I think about the self exploration and life reflection I have done in the last 3 months, the common theme is a lack of vulnerability and a complete inability to just accept everyone I meet for who they are, where they are in life, and without any expectation that they will ever be anything other than what they are right this moment. Yet another hard truth in a long line of hard truths about myself. I have neither loved people well, nor have I been loveable because I was so afraid of who I was inside that I couldn't let people see the real me, love the real me. And, in response, I have loved people with great caution and reservation assuming that they too must be hiding their true self.

It occured to me that if I were to die, I would never have known what it feels like to be fully loved or to love fully. As I have traveled through the last 3 months, I have discovered how much more fulfilling life can be when you begin to truly embrace all the special people in your life and then allow them to embrace you. As I write this, I feel full inside. The emptiness and darkness that has haunted me for a lifetime is gone. My heart is bursting with the experience and sensation of basking in the love that has been available all along. Equally, I am shocked by how fulfilling it is to truly love people in return. Sure, I feel vulnerable. Its scary to tell people how much they mean to you, how special they are. Its even scarier to be truthful and honest about your own thoughts, feelings, and needs. EXPOSING!

It has been so amazing to know that the important people in my life can truly know me and still come back for more...

So, here I am. This is me. I am more ok with that than I have ever been. I am enjoying people like I never thought possible. And I now know what it means to "live" and "love" like you are dying...

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