I have a question for you: What's the greatest work of your life?
Is it raising children who are kind, self-reliant, and want to make the world a better place? Maybe it's fulfilling a dream of pursuing the work you are passionate about. Perhaps it's living out your faith, starting your own business, or creating a charity.
All of those are worthy pursuits. Goals for making things better and contributing to the lives of others and the world are admirable things to work for. But here's the greatest work of your life: you.
Not the outer version of yourself that wants to lose a few pounds or who is mildly upset by each new wrinkle, but the inner you. The eternal part of yourself that is operating in the background and trying to get to the meaningful core of this thing called life. It's the deepest part of yourself that whispers to you in the night and asks the hard questions.
Everything else is either fleeting or could be taken away. Change is the one thing that is constant about life. Just about the time you get used to anything, something happens. Your kids grow up and move away, the dynamic in your marriage changes or the whole thing falls apart, your business fails, a beloved friend moves across the country. Youth fades. Beauty is fleeting.
Put your hand on your heart and take a deep breath. There you are.
The real you. Life's work that will never be finished. Years from now when we are old and weak that part of you will still exist in there. It's why your greatest life's work is to love and care for yourself. Your job on this planet isn't to perfectly adhere to some set of rules laid down by someone else. Too many of us have spent far too much time believing that living someone else's agenda for us was sustainable.
Burying our own hopes and dreams, choosing to shame those who are on a different path, and staying focused on the the shallowness of this culture is exhausting us and weakening our ability to rise up into our true selves.
From a place of fullness and love we can then, empower and encourage others. From a heart of joy we can uplift. From a mind filled with the wisdom of openness and experience we can come alongside others on the journey of life and extend the hand of friendship and help.
Take another deep breath. Feel that? That expansive feeling...that's hope.
Imagine the world you would make. Is it filled with kindness? Is it safe? Do the people in your world feel loved, connected, and valued? Now, how do you feel in that world?
Let's begin to see our minds and spirits as the greatest work of our lives. Everything else we hope to achieve is going to flow out of what we become.
We can't control a lot about this life but we can control what we are becoming.