How To Live Life Rather Than Survive It


While driving in solitude through the tree lined, paved country road, something transformative happened as I observed Italian ruins gently existing amongst the golden sunlit landscape. These ruins have not only witnessed the passing of days, months, years, and centuries, but they have survived natural and manmade destruction. Yet still, they proudly remain strong at their core and are so incredibly beautiful while doing so.

At that moment, it became clear that humans exist in a similar way. Many times we face natural and manmade disasters throughout the duration of our lifetime—individually and collectively. Yet if we choose to allow these experiences to guide our lives rather than destroy them, we can also have the possibility to strengthen and beautify our inner core despite what we may be witnessing and surviving in the surrounding world.

Time is what shapes our experiences. It’s all about perspective. It has a way to either slow down in the creation of days that are long and trying or speeds up so that everything becomes a blur and we completely loose track of it. However, if we steadily remind ourselves to actually live life rather than survive it, we become more at ease regarding daily pressure and time constraints that we so often feel pressing upon us. If we surrender ourselves and give up control, we can actually heal, accept, and embrace change so it flows naturally and in the direction that we’re meant to go. It’s allowing ourselves to not be held back by our minds and/or circumstances. In turn, this will allow us to stay in the present—focusing on whatever task, activity, and/or people that are sharing that particular moment with us. It’s our choice to realize that what has already happened in the past; both lovely and difficult no longer exists—it’s now a part of our life’s history contained in our memories. It is truly our decision to either preserve it or do away with it. The same principle can be applied to the future—that it too doesn’t exist because it has yet to be discovered and created. It’s truly our decision to either preserve a fixed plan of what we believe should happen or do away with the notion and allow the universe to unfold in the way it may.

From personal experience, I have seen and lived both flips of the coin—the most expansive and joyful experiences of love and comfort to the brutality of human ill-will and disease that causes debilitating physical, mental, and emotional pain. But the key words are: I have seen and I have lived…in the past. This means that by learning from and reflecting about what has happened (in whatever timeframe and personal readiness is needed), it can be released so that the current reality and future is no longer being occupied by what was or what could have been. It’s allowing ourselves and our experiences to just be in the here and now—knowing that nothing is permanent and everything does in fact change; whether gradually or rapidly. What feels good now may not remain the same forever and the reverse is also true—what doesn’t feel good presently will also pass.

At specific points in my life, I felt my interior sense of self crumble although my exterior remained hard on the surface. I had all to do to conserve whatever fragile pieces that were left of me in order to survive. But whenever I was left in ruins, my inner core actually would rebuild and strengthen with a foundation more durable than it once was; and that’s when I began living time and time again. This is the true beauty of being human. We have the free will and choice to shape our own experiences and decide how little and how much we allow to break and strengthen us. But because we’re still here at this very moment, we have made the choice to move forward. If/when we give ourselves permission to heal rather than to remain broken in survival mode—we begin a process that allows us to nurture our fragile parts on our path to becoming as whole as we can be. This in turn lets our inner core radiate the light of our being outwardly as our internal ruins transform us into pillars of strength.