Personal Growth

Don’t Blink – Your Season is Now

August 24, 2012

While walking with my son at the park, something caught my eye on the path just ahead. It was a leaf. I had seen it drop, spiraling from the tree just moments earlier.

The fallen leaf

It landed without a sound about six feet in front of me. It landed and just sat there on the path. I stood there, staring at it.

I don’t know what I expected it to do, maybe scream as it was falling, or act like it was choking to death because, afterall, it was the end for the leaf.

I stared at the brown, shriveled replica of what just weeks previously had been a lush, green leaf. It had lived its season. Had its time, and now, it was done.

You probably know where I am going with this.

Sometimes we forget to think of our lives as a once and done deal.

We live rather lazily. We let days, weeks, years, even whole lifetimes pass before acting on things we know we should. We are lulled into believing our life will go on forever or at least as long as we want it to.

I remembered a story Michael told me…

It was about a doctor who worked with cancer patients. He had to relay the bad news of the severity of their cancer to many of his patients face to face. “You only have 5 or 6 months to live, so prepare,” he found himself saying over and over.  After receiving this news, he noticed his patients would often respond in one of two ways.

Either they would dive into deep depression and continue out their last months in despair, or they would make radical changes in their lives, and start doing the things they always wanted to do.

They would do things like:

– quit the job they had hated for years and travel the world with their loved one.

– take flying lessons, or start mountain climbing.

– fly kites with their grandchildren and watch sunsets with their spouses.

– make radical changes in their relationships, mending strained friendships, and restoring relationships gone bad with family.

All the walls would go down, the excuses as to why they couldn’t, or shouldn’t do something were gone.

They had no excuses anymore. It was the end, so they decided to live the way they had always wanted to, but never had.

The doctor began noticing something remarkable. The cancer would not only stop growing, in many cases it would disappear completely!

I remember thinking. “What just happened? Are you telling me it is not only nice to pursue dreams, but so important, our lives actually depend on it?”

Did I just say that?

I think we have expectations in life. We have dreams of how certain things are going to play out.

When life throws us curveballs, instead of ducking, we get smacked in the head and never quite recover. We then blame the ball or the person who threw it instead of taking responsibility and learning why we got hit and how to avoid it in the future.

We get in so deep and become so entangled in the complexity of life, changing often looks too big, too overwhelming.

But, it’s not. That is just a lie.

Just because you got hit once, doesn’t mean your life is over. We all get hit. It’s the getting back up, brushing yourself off, shaking off the confusion and moving on that is important.

I think this story brings up some powerful questions:

– What exactly happens to our dreams when they are pushed aside?

– Do dreams just go away or do they manifest themselves in other ways throughout our body, such as anger, depression, ulcers, and cancer?

– And why do many of us need a wake up call like a terminal illness before we get our butts in gear, address the issues in our lives, and take our dreams seriously?

I decided to pick up the fallen leaf as I walked. I held it carefully, and when I arrived home, I taped it to the inside of my planner. I wrote beside it,

“Everyone has their season. Mine is now, don’t waste another moment!”

Question: What curveballs has life thrown you? Have you gotten back up?

 

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13 Comments

  • Reply Ann Musico August 24, 2012 at 11:17 am

    Very, very true, Claudia – when we allow dreams to die, it results in anger, guilt, shame, resentment – and all those negative emotions are known to be contributing factors to cancer, diabetes, arthritis and more!!  From a very personal perspective, my mom had an alcohol problem most of my life.  My dad’s family never accepted her because she was older than my dad.  They were horrible to her – ignoring her totally at family functions, etc.  He seemed to be oblivious to it and its effect on her.  There’s no doubt in my mind that the emotions she was drinking to silence were the underlying cause of her cancer at 64, even though she had stopped drinking completely the last 3 years of her life.   I do not think you overstated it by saying,  “it is not only nice to pursue dreams, but so important, our lives actually depend on it?”

    • Reply Claudia Good August 24, 2012 at 2:54 pm

      Ann,
      I thought of you as I was writing that part b/c I remembered a comment you made about your teeth! I agree with you and have no doubt of it!

      Wow, the story of your mom’s rejection is so sad. Were you aware of it during your younger years?

      • Reply Ann Musico August 24, 2012 at 3:31 pm

         I was, Claudia.  They made it pretty obvious actually.  I remember once in my early 20’s there was a wedding on my dad’s side and my mom absolutely refused to go.  I told dad I would go with him.  We were sitting behind his sisters in the church.  They turned around and spoke to him and totally ignored me, I guess, because I am my mother’s daughter.  When they turned around I asked my dad if he thought people knew we were father and daughter – and he said yes (I looked much more like him when I was younger and have grown to look much more like my mom as I’ve gotten older).  I said – well, I wonder why your sisters ignored me.  He was flabbergasted – never realized it.  Until I pointed it out.  I told him, that’s why mom didn’t want to be here and I don’t blame her.  Unfortunately the damage was already done.

        • Reply Claudia Good August 25, 2012 at 2:36 pm

          Oh wow, those types of hurts go so deep… especially if confronted with it on a regular basis with no resolution! Ouch!

          It’s too bad because I bet your mom was a wonderful lady and they missed a great opportunity. Family circles of influence can be so hard to break!

  • Reply James Dibben August 24, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Now THAT was an amazing post!

    You, that path, and the leaf just experienced a “But God” moment.

    Thank you for taking the rest of us through the experience with you.

    • Reply Claudia Good August 24, 2012 at 2:51 pm

      Thanks James! 
      You are welcome.

      Hey, your ManDurance site looks great! How is it going for you? It looks like maybe you have it connected to your church, is that right?

      • Reply James Dibben August 24, 2012 at 3:52 pm

        Yeah, much to my surprise my church leadership liked the idea so much they wanted to make it the official men’s ministry.

        I’m having so much fun! Thanks for noticing! I’m flattered!

        • Reply Claudia Good August 25, 2012 at 2:30 pm

          That is really awesome James!!! 
          Wow, great work! I know you thought long and hard about the direction to take it, it looks like you found a niche!

  • Reply Michael Wright August 26, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Life throws us all some bad things it seems, but we can turn them into good lessons and grow or we can sit and sulk and go the lesser route.  Yes, life is to be lived now and today.  I feel that no matter what things I experience in my life, there will always be that gut feeling of “I could have done more” or “I missed out on __________.”  I don’t know where that comes from, but I do know we only have TODAY.   This is the day we gotta make the most of.  If we live fully today, I don’t think we’ll have any regrets.

    As Churchill said “If you’re going through hell, keep going!”

    • Reply Claudia Good August 29, 2012 at 10:13 pm

      Michael,
      Great quote!! I have loved learning about Churchill’s life and I can see that he did exactly as that quote says throughout his life. Amazing.

  • Reply Donna Yates August 27, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Claudia,

    Great post!  Just what I needed.  When we were doing the 30 day focus, I had written down several things I wanted to accomplish by year end.  Of those, I have gotten them all done but one.  Instead of looking at the ones that have been achieved, I have been focusing on the one that is not!  By allowing myself to do that, I get frustrated and even depressed at times.  I have to keep telling myself how blessed I am that so many positive things have occurred in a short amount of time.  I think this is because I “focused” on those things and started the process in motion.  I didn’t just think about them, I actually did something.  I set dates, I put up signs, I prepared.  Now I am going to start my new “focus” on getting a new and wonderful job in Beaufort, NC so I can move there by year end!  Thanks so much for your daily reminders that I have friends out there going through just what I’m going through too.  You guys are great! 

    Donna 

    • Reply Claudia Good August 29, 2012 at 10:19 pm

      Thanks Donna!
      Great to have you back!! You are married!!!!! Yay!!

      Yes, you are not alone in your goal setting endeavors. We are pushing forward constantly as well. Michael and I always remind ourselves to look where we have come from and to enjoy the process. It can’t all be done at once.

      I have found this helpful as well… 
      constant small improvements in the 7 major areas of life! It feels great!

      Spiritual
      Physical
      Family
      Financial
      Personal Development
      Social
      Career

      Blessings as you pursue a new job!

      • Reply Donna Yates August 30, 2012 at 8:16 am

        Thanks Claudia.  Glad to be back too.

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