What does it mean to have a ‘Body of Life’ — seeing your life as having the space and time to encompass your purpose and multiple passions? What happens when we stop thinking one person, job, home, car, educational achievement, or external recognition will confirm our essential goodness?
A ‘body of life’ encompasses achievements that matter deeply and are connected to our purpose on this earth. It is not a resume, although some elements can be found there. It is your footprints in the sands of life; what you did with all your heart, mind, and spirit. It is what stretched you further than you ever wanted and allowed you to receive and give in equal measure. A ‘body of life’ is focused on creating legacy, defined as something handed down from an ancestor or preceding generations; an inheritance; a birthright. This is often connected to wealth or property, but can be anything that endures beyond our lifetime.
For myself, my ‘body of life’ has many components, but is directly tied to inspiring people to embark on a journey of balance and healing for this and future generations.
Two examples from my own life are my children and my writing. My teens are now twenty and embarking on their journeys beyond my constant caregiving and direction. Having dedicated myself beyond anything I could have imagined, I am excited to see what they will do with their increased decision-making and the set of values they have inherited from their parents, their culture, and their larger family and community.
My writing body of work will be, in its most concrete form, books. However, it is also the channels I use to leverage my stories and the lessons I have and continue to learn – the speeches, workshops, and personal conversations that inspire people to take their ‘body of life’ seriously.
Having a ‘body of life’ requires great discipline and unerring belief in our dreams. After he won his first Oscar as a director, Ang Lee said: “I struggled through six years of agonizing, hopeless uncertainty.” How many of us are willing to make that phrase our story to achieve even one of our goals? If we can accept the uncertainty that is inherent in life, we are far more likely to reach a place of fruition. It will mean we have done whatever it takes to truly enjoy the exciting and illusory external recognition, as did Ang Lee. And then get back to work on another aspect of our ‘body of life’!
What unconsciously ingrained belief do we have to give up to get there? For myself and for Ang Lee, we had to sail beyond what our parents and many family and friends deemed reasonable. No steady job, no determined career ladder, no day like any other. I have friends who think I am involved in pyramid schemes and scams! I have to regularly release the power of others’ opinions , which I can value too much, to live my full-hearted, authentic ‘body of life’.
Being life-long learners means not being stymied or disappointed by the sight of yet another start line. What is one step you can take today to achieve a goal in an area of your ‘body of life’ where you are a beginner?
Focus on what is enduring and nurtures your soul. It is our birthright to be brilliant, healthy and full of joy. As Eleanor Roosevelt said: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”