“Take pride in how far you’ve come. Have faith in how far you can go. But don’t forget to enjoy the journey.” Michael Josephson Speaker on the subject of ethics and former law professor
We all have the ability to look at life either as a difficult experience or a joyful experience. Having gone through recently many challenges in my life, it can be easy to focus on the perspective that life is a difficult experience. But, this is no way to LIVE for a prolonged period of time. Everything has a time and place, and when it has gotten to a certain point in time there is a beauty in the release and surrender of the pain to embrace the joy. Growing up in an Italian family who came to the United States for a better life, the work ethic was deeply entrenched into my psyche. That is well and good, but there is also the Italian myth of embracing the passions of all aspects of life that I may have forgotten about altogether during challenging times – a renewed passion for music, love, beauty and art can shift a focus and make life, if not worth living, certainly exciting to live. I am sure that my ancestors would have been greatly disappointed if I did not make a conscious decision to do my best to embrace more so “la dolce vita” (the sweet life) while also doing my best to become a more fully educated and successful person. While the sweet life may be appealing, for whatever reason we need to give ourselves permission to enjoy. Because if we are not working ourselves to the bone, filling our minutes with busyness, and ruminating over how we are disappointed over expectations that go unfulfilled, we are not able to justify our existence. While the lack of embrace of the sweet life causes more times of pain, we can also stand in awareness of beauty and the joy that can help us to avoid the risk of getting stuck there for longer than necessary. This awareness will never need justification because it exists for all of us to experience, if we just wake up and open our eyes to it and live in the moment.
No matter where you are on the journey of life, be proud of how far you have come, both big and small accomplishments. Look to yourself for the validation that you seek and resist looking for approval from another. Your life is not for another to judge. Be gentle enough to also not judge yourself based upon what you perceive to be another’s path because no one can truly know what another is feeling on their journey as well. While we are all moving in the same direction, forward, keep the faith that you too shall be protected to rise from the ashes of your pain and see the light from the sun beaming down on you anew. Keep the faith that as long as you listen to your internal guide you will experience your reality with a gentleness that makes the path easier. Keep the faith that everything happens for a reason. And, perhaps you can more fully experience “la dolce vita” by living well, laughing often and loving more fully. Live in gratitude for each day, laugh with your friends at the amusing parts of life, and love others as you would want to be loved. If you have not already, you will truly begin to enjoy the journey more and more each day. It is priceless when you experience a rebirth, a renaissance that I am sure would make my Italian ancestors proud. Make the conscious decision to just embrace your own existence and make it a priority to do your best to enjoy the ride!