Chapter 4: A Fulfilling Life
You Have Chosen to Remember: A Journey of Self-Awareness, Peace of Mind and Joy by James Blanchard Cisneros.
I have always wondered whether I would be able to make a difference and be of service to others. I wanted to be like my uncle, who has been a very successful businessman, creating thousands of jobs for people in Venezuela. As a young man, I remember thinking that to earn that kind of respect and make that kind of difference, I would have to equal or exceed my uncle’s accomplishments. It was always such an exhausting mental exercise to even imagine closing the difference between his accomplishments and mine. In my mind at the time, if I did not come close to his accomplishments, my life might be seen as a failure by me, my family and the outside world.
I remember at the beginning of my business career, praying to God to allow me to become a great business leader. That way, I too could create a great number of jobs and lead a great number of people. At the age of 30, I had completed my college degree, had gotten my MBA, and had worked in the family business for a few years. I had completed the plan the world, my family and I set up for me. I had done everything right. Yet I still felt that I was not in or heading to a satisfying place. How could I be doing everything right if I was not comfortable or at peace with where I was? It just did not make any sense! How could I not be in the “right” or “good” place if I was taking the “right” path?
Soon after my 30th birthday, I started to become very concerned with my progress. Although I had everything that a 30 year old could possibly want, I was still dissatisfied, and my idea of greatness, of making a difference, was not materializing. I was upset at my lack of progress. Internally, I blamed my uncle for not making “it” happen for me. I began to wonder if anything that I was doing was making a difference.
One night after my frustrations peaked, I decided to take my complaints to the man upstairs. No, not my uncle, but to God Himself! Although I did not have an institutionalized, religious-based relationship with God, I did feel that I had enough of a personal relationship with Him that I could file a complaint. I got into a meditative state, quieted my mind and began my inquisition (sorry, I meant to say I began my prayer). I vocalized all my feelings, and became quiet in order to hear the response. I waited and waited, got nothing, heard nothing and fell asleep.
The next morning, right before awakening, I got a response that would forever change my life. It was a simple message, yet with this thought form came such a profound understanding that my life would be eternally affected. The message, or thought form, was as follows: “Concern yourself not with leading a great number of people but learn to lead by example every day.” That was it. Yet from that thought form it became crystal clear that we all touch and serve an innumerable number of people during our lifetime; that we can and do, in every single individual interaction, lead people to a more happy, peaceful and beautiful world or lead them to an angrier, more stressful, more confusing and chaotic world; that we all can be and are great leaders; and that we all literally create the world we live in by our interactions with each other.
In this OBE, I was given an example where I was led through an individual interaction where I offered love and peace. The example felt like it lasted just a moment in time and yet it seemed to forever flow through eternity. I was shown how one individual interaction touched not only the person with whom I interacted but flowed to those with whom they interacted and so on. I wondered how many people my one interaction affected, and in that one moment I was brought into a stadium full of people. I was in such awe of the number of people that single interaction in one way or another touched, that I had to hold back the tears. An angel smiled at me and said, “No, not yet.” He lifted me above the stadium and there I saw what seemed to be a thousand more stadiums filled with those my one interaction had in one way or another touched. I could no longer hold back the tears. Before this thought form, I believed that the only way I could make a difference in the world was by directly leading or serving a great number of people. But it was there that I learned about the magnificence of the moment, the importance of even the shortest conversation, the beauty of a kind glance, the value of a caring smile, the substance of a gentle touch, the magnitude of an honest compliment and the magnificence of a warm hug.
Before that thought form, I went through the day without noticing the splendor of the great service that could be provided in the moment. Today I’m eternally grateful for even the shortest of interactions, and now, like a small child on Christmas Eve, I look forward to each and every moment as a present waiting to be unwrapped, experienced and shared.
Before that thought form, I would open doors for people or give away my seat on the bus simply because I was taught that it was the right thing to do. Today, I experience great joy in such actions and thank God for being able to be there for the interaction. I now see any moment that I can be of service as offering a great service to humanity.
Before that thought form, I found silence boring, and tried to find something to drown it out. Today, I use those moments to fill my body and soul with a light filled with absolute peace and gratitude that I then use to expand out into the world. And as the world breathes a little easier, so too do I.
Before that thought form, I fought to better myself and directly lead and serve a great number of people. Today I find peace and love in the moment. This expands to everyone I touch and with whom I interact, and they in turn expand what I offer them to others. By doing so, I serve the world. By simply knowing the truth about my brothers, sisters and myself, I help lead the world to a more peaceful and joyful place.
My friend, you touch the world on a much deeper level than you currently perceive. Do not concern yourself with the number of people you believe you need to lead or serve at one time to make a difference. For knowingly or not, you change the world with every interaction you have with a fellow brother or sister. Lead by example, it is truly that simple. Offer love and you will find your world more loving. Serve the person in front of you and you will find the world a more caring and hopeful place. Smile and laugh with the person you interact with and you will experience a happier and more peaceful world. Do whatever brings you joy, and the same world that you once cried in, you will now smile and dance in.
A fulfilling life also comes as a result of loving and serving others. Author Leo Buscaglia puts it this way in his book, “Born for Love:”
10 We all have so many possible occasions for loving and yet there is so little demonstrated love in the world. People are dying alone, crying alone. Children are being abused and elderly people are spending their final days without tenderness and love. In a world where there is such an obvious need for demonstrated love, it is well to realize the enormous power we do have to help and heal people in our lives with nothing more complicated than an outstretched hand or a warm hug. Day’s end is a good time to reflect on what you have done to make the world a better, more caring and loving place. If nothing springs to mind night after night, this can also be an excellent time to consider how you can change the world for the better. You need not perform monumental acts, but act on the simple things which are easily accomplished: the phone call you have not made, the note you have put off writing, the kindness you have failed to acknowledge. When it comes to giving love, the opportunities are unlimited and we are all gifted.
I am ending this chapter with a favorite short story that I first read in the book “Chicken Soup for the Soul.” It illustrates the point that one person, by his actions, can make a difference.
10. Leo Buscaglia, Born for Love: Reflections on Loving, Copyright 1992 (Random House).
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