I have just signed a pledge for the Trust 30 Challenge, so for the next 30 days, I will be blogging in response to whatever the prompt of the day happens to be. Today’s was a doozey, and it took more time (and words) than I am happy about. Hopefully, in the coming days I will be able to make quicker work of them.
Trust 30: Entry One
Gwen Bell – 15 Minutes to Live
We are afraid of truth, afraid of fortune, afraid of death, and afraid of each other. Our age yields no great and perfect persons. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
You just discovered you have fifteen minutes to live.
1. Set a timer for fifteen minutes.
2. Write the story that has to be written.
(Author: Gwen Bell)
I am totally speechless in the face of this challenge. What if it were really the case? 15 minutes left?
Here’s what I would like to say to whoever is present:
Although my life was rich in many ways, and I did a few good things, I also end this ride with some regrets. My premier regret is my timidity. I wish I had been braver, I wish I would have risked more, I wish I could have dumped my old conditioning and realized sooner that I always had full control of my life.
As I have been driving around town this week looking at houses bent and dented and crushed by fallen trees from the recent wind storm, and pitying the people whose lives have been so disrupted by this mess, I have also been so very grateful not to have had to endure those pitying eyes myself.
I have deep, nauseating childhood memories of being pitied, and these memories still make me feel heavy and sad and afraid.
This fear of pity has made me timid and wimpish my whole life; it has held me back from doing the things I most wanted. It’s been my electric fence, and I totally believed I would die from its Zap.
So here’s what I want to say to anyone who will listen before I clock out: Be audacious! Risk ridicule and pity and laughter and pointing and snickering and sneering and downright disapproval. Go out into the world and do the thing you most fear doing.
The only thing you need to have in order to do this brave “thing” is a deep bank account of Core Happiness. If you are lucky enough to have someone open you an account early in your life, with a minimum deposit of respect, love and care, and then have them teach you how to invest that self-love, self-respect and self-care wisely in other people and worthy endeavors, you will be end up rich beyond your wildest dreams.
I learned the truth of this watching my mother live her life. My mother’s own minimum balance was all counterfeit. She tried to finance her life on fake money. It fooled a lot of people for a long time and it got her pretty far, but they soon found out that they couldn’t “spend” what they got from her because she was poor; she had nothing. She was never there for them because she had no self-love, never practiced self-care and had no self-respect. She looked like the real deal, but if you tried to spend what she gave you, her checks bounced.
By some miracle, by the time I hit my 20s I had come into a little cache of real “happiness” money. It didn’t come from her, but I picked up a little here and a little there by associating with, and watching and learning from “rich” people: teachers, parents of my friends, and a few relatives.
And then when my daughter was born, suddenly my little “minimum balance account” started to miraculously double and triple in value. I emptied my happiness account into that little girl, and in turn, she quadrupled my investment. My daughter taught me the art of “Investing.” And by the time she was 3 or 4, I was overflowing in happiness. I was a millionaire!
Now I end my life having lived the last 30 years of it totally off my “love and happiness” investment dividends. I have so much happiness banked now, that I can afford to give it to everyone I encounter, my family, friends, yoga students, as well as random strangers. And best of all, I can never be “robbed.”
So here, in this last 15 minutes of my life, I bequeath all of my happiness to my family and my friends and my yoga students. I just ask that anyone who has received happiness from me, set up one other person with a minimum balance account and teach them the Art of Investing. (You invest by giving it all away!)
So I realize that I started this by regretting my timidity, and encouraging every one to be brave and take risks, so if this turns out not to be my last 15 minutes, but just a little “fire drill” I hope it has reminded me that I need to make it my life’s mission, for as long as I have left, to break this timidity tether, to wake up and realize that I am brave, that the looks of other people are not really pity, they could be love or concern.
And I hope that I have enough time left to learn to withstand the zap, clear the fence and not burden the people I most love with a legacy of timidity and fear, but leave them with an example of audacity, happiness and love.