What is your Shelf Life?

February 01, 2011

Louise Hay tells us that all relationships are temporary. In fact, most things on the planet are temporary, or at the least, always evolving and shifting. As humans, we're on our glorious planet for mere blips in time, yet we observe the brevity of our environment. Recognizing a natural deterioration, food processing companies stamp an expected longevity on the packaging, instructing us that we'd better consume the food quickly before it spoils. In turn, we can look inward and ponder the vitality of our spirit and consume life itself with gusto and delectable fulfillment before our time, too, runs out.

One of the few things we control about our lives is our attitude. While good and bad things happen to all of us, our outlook on every situation determines our level of contentment and happiness. We learn we cannot always prevent negative things in our lives, but our ability to approach them with a sunnier disposition offers us the benefits of more smiles, lower blood pressure and relaxed relationships.

When we lose sight of our positive approach, we grow cynical and angry. How long can you genuinely sustain your optimism? Take a closer look and understand that when your automatic response to any situation is positive and loving, it’s no longer a struggle to remember to see the glass half full. A long shelf-life of empowered thinking may sustain you for the duration of your life.

We all know someone who defied science and outlived other family members or a physician's prognosis. We also know of people who smoke several packs a day or consumed great amounts of alcohol who lived healthy lives well into their 80s and 90s. Then, we see others die at childbirth, in youth or in their productive prime of life. We share stories of people in hospice announcing their final days then requesting the company of loved ones. At some time, does your spirit subconsciously know its time to leave?

Many of us eat healthily, exercise regularly and follow the "rules" for living a long life. In spite of all that, none of us gets off the planet alive. The health advocate may die in an accident, or someone who took fastidious caution against disease may succumb to an airborne virus, demonstrating over and over that life's ironies are never lost. At some point perhaps we agree that our time is limited and we’ve accomplished all we could. The shelf-life of our years on earth is but only one expression of the essence of our being.

Everything begins with an idea. From the first wheel to the light bulb, to space exploration, original ideas propelled mankind from darkness and isolation to light and connectedness. When in relationship with one another, we use ideas to springboard into other ideas and so the domino effect of creative thought and progress beings.

Looking internally, we examine our own ideas, no to be confused with opinions. As beings with insight and understanding, we can either build upon the good ideas of others or create our own patterns of forward movement. Examine the shelf life of your ideas – are they tired and worn out, or simply mirror someone else's? Or do your ideas burst from the inkwell of who you are and of what you are capable? The ideas which endure from generation to generation rank equally with the ideas than transform the here and now.

From sports to passion, the term spirit connotes an embrace of, and enthusiasm for something outside of oneself. We hear stories of people with a fighting spirit to continue overcoming obstacles that repel others. "...in the spirit of..." terminology indicates that one acts in the manner of, or likeness of, another. Keeping enthusiasm for something outside of ourselves eternal, we perpetuate that which we admire, or whom we admire.

Our true spirit lives within us, and not as objects separate from us. We base our spirit, our nature, our soul-recognition, on that which we are, not that which we represent or imitate. How sustainable is your spirit in this context? Do you love and admire yourself enough to maintain the fire within to aspire to even greater life experiences?

A gift that cannot be given or received, passion for life begins in the core of our being. We can share our passion for people, activities, and even our work and play, yet true butterfly-in-your-tummy type of passion cannot be induced. Identifying passion allows us to enjoy life with temporary blinders on, ignoring all around us to focus on that one thing. Passion reminds us that we’re alive.

Some of us, as we age, grow complacent and resigned to our state of affairs. That which once thrilled us with the excitement of a child, now bores us with drudgery and familiarity. At some point, we may wake up to notice this change and attempt to discover when the flame of passion extinguished, or not. What is the shelf-life of your passion? Do you trade one passion for another – in spouses, sports, activities, foods, etc.?

We come to the planet to learn and to grow, through the context of relationships. In the human form, our time is a mere blip on the grand expanse of universal existence. When Henry David Thoreau noticed that most people "live quite lives of desperation" he saw the flame within many of us snuffed out long before our earthly bodies ceased to exist. Some of us live life to the fullest and our shelf-life endures exactly as long as the body. Others among us lost our zeal long ago yet continue to play out the game of life with someone else’s chess pieces.

Today is it. You get to choose. Enjoy your attitude, your life-force, your ideas, your spirit and your passion every day of your life! Live every day not in desperation, but in determination to express the true character of your beautiful soul, shining forth beyond your expiration date!

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