Do you need one?

It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.
–Napoleon Hill


Dear Real People,

Perhaps it’s not so sexy to the outside world to talk about the Soul. Perhaps it’s not so common to connect what we do for a living to how we feel, yet isn’t that the whole purpose? Maybe it’s scary to be devoid of a laundry list of ways to show how important or special we are to the outside world.

However, most of the people I talk to face some very challenging times. What got them through was not the latest gadget, award or diploma. It was the special kindness offered, the unexpected nurturing, the offer of someone’s undivided time or authentic PRESENCE. This is what got them through.

Maybe this year we can start making choices based on what makes us feel connected or at peace. Maybe we can start choosing a life based on the goal of nurturing the specialness inside of and around us.

I offer you this wonderful and insightful Pulitzer Prize speech from author and journalist, Anna Quindlen that brought tears to my eyes for reminding me of what’s really important. After all, there are only so many pounds one can lose…

There will be hundreds of people out there with your same degree; there will be thousands of people doing what you want to do for a living. But you will be the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or your life on a bus, or in a car, or at the computer. Not just the life of your minds, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank account, but your soul.

People don’t talk about the soul very much anymore. It’s so much easier to write a resume than to craft a spirit. But a resume is a cold comfort on a winter night, or when you’re sad, or broke, or lonely, or when you’ve received the test results and they’re not so good. So here’s what I want to tell you today:

Get a life. A real life, not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger paycheck, the larger house. Do you think you’d care so very much about those things if you blew an aneurysm one afternoon, or found a lump in your breast?

Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a breeze over Seaside Heights, a life in which you stop and watch how a red-tailed hawk circles over the water gap, or the way a baby scowls with concentration when she tries to pick up a Cheerio with her thumb and first finger. Get a life in which you are not alone.

Find people you love, and who love you. And remember that love is not leisure, it is work. Each time you look at your diploma, remember that you are still a student, still learning how to best treasure your connection to others. Pick up the phone. Send an e-mail. Write a letter. Kiss your Mom. Hug your Dad. Get a life in which you are generous.

Look around at the azaleas in the suburban neighborhood where you grew up; look at a full moon hanging silver in a black, black sky on a cold night. And realize that life is the best thing ever, and that you have no business taking it for granted. Care so deeply about its goodness that you want to spread it around. Once in a while take money you would have spent on beers and give it to charity.

Work in a soup kitchen. Be a big brother or sister. All of you want to do well. But if you do not do good, too, then doing well will never be enough.

A real SOUL-ution for your life: Get a Life. One that is Extraordinarily, Amazingly, Stupendously, and Deeply teeming with LIFE.

Are YOU Ready?

As you take each step I will be there reminding you of your Magnificence, and I will continue to do so, until you are able to see it in yourself.

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