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Turning My Life Around

October 16, 2010

What happens, asks Swami-ji, when you suddenly realize that years and years of your life have passed before you realize that you have forgotten. Lost track of who you are, who you intend to be, what you value most. Somehow, life takes on a momentum of its own and you are no longer driving but just getting pulled along. You might even regularly say out loud how stressed out you feel, how unhappy you are, and feel as if your life is simply not yours.

Listen here to his inspiring talk about Looking Forward Looking Back.

Today I met the most courageous young man. He walked into ByteWORKS (an organization for which I volunteer) and asked if he could take a class, volunteer, or just hang out and learn. He told me that he is now “Turning my life around” and that he is interested in learning and not wasting his time getting into trouble and hanging out in the streets. I could see the pain, fear, and humility in his eyes and was relieved that I had baked some homemade chocolate chip cookies the night before. I offered him a cookie as he filled out an application for an upcoming computer class.

“It takes enormous courage in life to say ‘I am responsible'” says Swami-ji. But once we do pull together the courage and might to recognize that we indeed have the choice to drive our own lives, “nobody in this world has the power to take away our own joy, peace, and contentment.” The thing is, we too often pitch ourselves at fate and move through the days mechanically and single-handedly, mindlessly, destroy our own well-being. Create a mess of our own lives. We forget. Who is driving?

“When our lives lack mindfulness, our lower nature gets the better of us and we behave in a way that destroys rather than heals. Destroys our own happiness and unconsciously we do things against our own self interest without even realizing it.” (Swami Tyagananda-ji).

You know, I told that young man, you are way ahead of me. I was a late bloomer too. The fact that I am responsible for my own life and happiness didn’t even begin to dawn on me until I was twenty-five and frankly, the notion continues to unfold in my consciousness. This man, this courageous young man, is going to shine. He has had the guts to say “I am responsible” and there is no doubt that he will be Rightly Guided.

Does this story remind you of anything?

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