I’m not the biggest Oprah fan in the world, but this article which I have had hanging on my refrigerator since I came across it almost 5 years ago, may just explain the importance of living life to its fullest that I have ever seen. It has been a while since I read it, but as I did today, I was reminded of how this simple article has helped me make some tough decisions over the past few years. Hope you enjoy as much as I have.
From “O” Magazine; Oprah Winfrey, July 2002, p. 196
I’ve never been a white water raftin’, bungee-jumpin’ kind of girl – that’s not how I define adventure for myself. What I know for sure is this: The most important journey of our lives doesn’t necessarily involve climbing the highest peak or trekking around the world. The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.
Maybe you’re like so many of the women I’ve talked to over the years who have suspended their deepest desires in order to accommodate everything and everyone else. You ignore the nudge – that whisper that often comes in the form of emptiness or restlessness – to finally get on with what you know you should be doing. I understand how easy it is to rationalize: Your mate and your children need you; the job you admit makes you miserable demands so much of your time. But what happens to your spirit when you work hard at something unfulfilling? It drains you. It robs you of your life force. You end up depleted, depressed, and angry.
You don’t have to waste another day on that road. Right now you are one choice away from a new beginning – one that leads you toward becoming the fullest human being you can be. Starting over begins with looking inward. It means ridding yourself of distractions and paying attention to that inkling you’ve been ignoring. There are times when, with three different people pulling me in five different directions at HARPO, I literally walk into my closet with all of my shoes. Sit on the floor, and go still as a stone. When I walk out, I am centered on what’s most important and can make decisions based on what’s right for me – not on what everyone else wants or needs. I’ve learned that the most stressful and chaotic things are on the outside, the calmer you need to get on the inside. It’s the only way you can connect with where your spirit is leading you.
Be prepared – when you finally summon the courage to cast a vote for yourself, you can expect obstacles. The whole world will rise up to tell you who you cannot become and what you cannot do. Those around you will be threatened as you exceed the limited expectations they’ve always had for you. And in moments of weakness, your fear and self-doubt may cause you to falter. Remember that you can’t get rid of the fear or doubt; you just learn to live with it, to ride it’s wave. As someone wise once said, Cowards behave because of fear – but the courageous behave in spite of fear.
One of my favorite gospel songs is by Donnie McClurkin, and it has a refrain that gives me strength: We fall down, but we get up. The true measure of your courage is not whether you reach your goal – it’s whether you decide to get back on your feet no matter how many times you’ve failed. Having the courage to stand up and pursue your dreams will give you life’s greatest reward and life’s greatest adventure.