What Are You Meant To Learn In This Life?

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I studied philosophy in college which I mention to let you know I’m a thinker and ponderer. In solitude or in good company, I love to give deep thought to existence and the meaning of life and intention and being (emphasis on the italics) and, “Does the chair really exist?” I give these and many other obscure things much of my mental space.

I haven’t figured out the meaning of life. Not entirely at least. I’m close to believing it’s universally just to BE then individually sprinkled in with some profound-by-way-of-its-simplicity type message (you’ll have to figure the individual part yourself).

I have, however, figured out what my Life Lessons are (not to be confused with your everyday “life lessons”). Along with a purpose in life, I’m a firm believer we each have critical Lessons we are meant to learn in this lifetime which connect deeply to our greatest potential. The goal is not to master the Lesson but rather the hope is to strive tirelessly and courageously to look your Lesson in the eye and hold its hand. In fact, triumph can even be had in looking back at the Lesson so long as you carry forward the wisdom of reflection.

Right. Great. So how exactly do you go about finding your Life Lessons? I can’t give you directions for the road to your Life Lessons but I can share with you how I met some of mine.

Life Lessons find you.

The first Life Lesson I discovered happened quite by accident while reading a Martha Stewart magazine. I read an article about surrender and something about it stayed with me. Days after I’d read it, the word surrender kept whispering to me. It had all the makings of a word I could really fall in love with but it was more than just wordluv ( I have a lot of that). It stayed with me and I started connecting all these dots and realized I didn’t know how to surrender.

It was a serious awakening. With ease I could identify all these situations I’d encountered and how they would have been made easier or less had I known when to surrender. Can I use the word revelation without sounding too Bible-y? Yes, it was a revelation. I looked back and saw all these missed opportunities, a spotlight shining on a weakness and now I could move forward with wisdom.

My Life Lesson appeared out of nowhere when I wasn’t even looking but I was paying attention.

Life Lessons feel like giving it your all but making zero progress.

Surrender doesn’t come easy. I’ve found myself in circumstances requiring me to let go in order to make any kind of forward movement. And letting go, stopping any effort I’m making, doing less than fighting like mad and going at it head on, walks a blurry line for me between giving up (never an option) and surrendering. So I started looking at other experiences where I was giving it my all, my 110% type A effort and I wasn’t going anywhere. Because if surrender was hidden in there, then maybe another Lesson or two was waiting to be found while running up against a wall.

I found forgiveness hiding in many an exhausted moment when I’d been trying and trying and banging my head on the wall. If I could have forgiven instead of trying every other possible option, things would have gone much more smoothly.

The tough moments in life have hidden in them some deep sh*t. If you can Where’s Waldo it, the road ahead will be a lot less bumpy. 

Life Lessons make life easier.

Everyone’s good at something. Likely plenty of somethings. I’ve learned in my itty bit of time on this journey, I’m pretty good at making other people smile. It comes easily and it makes me feel pretty happy knowing I can *inspire* a moment of happy in someone’s day. When I’m having a crap day, I seek to *inspire* and , BAM, flip flop, out with the ick, in with the magic.

There’s a Lesson in connecting to the beauty of who we are. Your talents, gifts, our individual little bit of magic is meant to guide, shift, impact your existence.

Life Lessons aren’t always hard. Zero in on what brings you most joy, what makes you glow Kool-Aid-smile bright. Share it, use it, reach for it when life gets tricky. The Lesson lies in learning to use it.

Life Lessons are about creating LESS and more in our lives.

Less of the weighing down.
Less push and pull.
Less heartache.

Creating less to make way for more.

More living.
More of the flying high.
More full breath.
More heel clicking, fist in the sky yes moments.

Life Lessons make navigating this journey a hell of a lot easier.  That’s all.

The inner work is pretty high up on my list. I don’t know how not to do it. But I know a lot of people aren’t inner work folks. Some of the people I love most dearly, it just ain’t for them but we love each other still with all of our different kinds of wacky. When I write pieces like this, I think of them and smile because they love all of me.

In other news, I posted a link on Facebook to an article on when kids are most ready to test out their independence and do things like walk home from school alone or go hang out solo with friends. It was interesting for me because my parents were exceptionally strict. Strict like my mom walked me to the corner then stood there while I walked to the corner store type strict. Like I rode my bike in circles in the driveway type strict. I hated it at the time but appreciate the love behind it. But what made my day was my friend’s comment on the post, “…your abuelo was the most awesome chaperone ever! I can’t remember doing anything as a kid without him!” Made me teary and giddy for that grandpa of mine. He’s a rockstar and just about owns every inch of my heart (my daughters and he must have co-signed on that one). Just sharing.

Life Lessons, right? Have you figured out yours yet?

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  1. This is such a beautiful and deep post! I love it! I find my life lessons come from so many unexpected places, and the most important one I’ve learned is that we keep learning them as we get older. Thanks for a fantastic post! Love the opening quote!

  2. What a great post! I have been doing a lot of this “inner thinking” lately too. I think it’s a great thing to, even just occasionally, examine our lives this way. Great writing!


  3. Surrender has been coming up a lot in my life lately. I took my 1-year-old to get a renogram and was astounded at her ability to surrender once she realized she could not change the situation. She could have been miserable and cried for 45 minutes, instead she surrendered and with a quiet resolve made the best of a terrible situation. She’s 1, I’m 40 and haven’t mastered that skill!

  4. What a great post. Very thoughtful. I’ve always thought that everyone is born with certain lessons to learn. I pray that I can learn all mine before my time is up!

  5. I’ve had many life lessons tossed my way that I have been able to grow from. I learned my lessons in stages (ie college lessons, adulthood lessons, career lessons & parenting). I’m still a work in progress. There are still a lot of life lessons for me to learn.

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