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My recent experience with my sister Tammi’s crap-tastic cancer voyage has made me more contemplative about life. Despite peeking at my own mortality when I was diagnosed with cancer, somehow being on the outside of this experience with my sis has brought the temporary nature of life back to the forefront of my mind. When I was dealing with my diagnosis, I was in survival mode and doing whatever it took to get well, so there was less time to actually think about dying. I was consumed with the actions that would preserve my life. Contemplating mortality naturally happens as we age but gets accelerated when there is a direct threat to life.

I’ve written about fearlessly aging and facing illness, but I was inspired to take it further and delve into the quality of life NOW.

This brought me to the “acquisition” phase of our lives versus the “meaning” phase of our lives.

I found a great interview with Dr. Wayne Dyer on the subject:

Laurie Nadel, Ph.D., Mind Power News asks Dr. Dyer: Dr. Dyer, you write about what happens when we step into the afternoon of life. How do people know when they’re in the afternoon of life? I mean what kind of shifts happen in our lives?

Dyer responds: Carl Jung writes that the afternoon of our lives represents the time when we begin to shift away from the ego being the dominant force in our life. We begin moving towards a life journey that has meaning. The morning of our lives is really occupied by ambition—getting as much as you can, collecting as much stuff as you can get, impressing as many people as you can, preparing yourself for a job, saving your money, setting goals, pleasing everybody, and doing the right thing. Even getting good grades in school revolved around the ego part of us, which really believes that who we are is what we do, what we get, and what other people think of us. That’s basically the essence of the ego. In the afternoon of your life, you don’t do life. You do what resonates with the callings of your soul.

I want you to think today about the “afternoon of your life.” Where in your life are you creating and adding meaning to the world and yourself? How much meaning is currently in your life or are you too busy acquiring? Are you doing something you believe adds value? Have you ever stopped to think about how much meaning you experience on a daily basis? Or are you running on autopilot, just doing what needs to be done in order to make it through the day, rarely questioning your values and beliefs and instead just following suit from your family, friends, and/or community? (If you haven’t stopped to think about it, take a breather this afternoon—maybe during that 3:00 p.m. crash—and ask yourself these questions.)

If you realize after diving deep that there is not enough meaningful experiences in your life, how can you change that?

Life is too short to be running on autopilot. And, no matter what age you are, you are never too young or too old to increase the amount of value you contribute.

I am interested in your thoughts, so please share your answers to the questions above. What actions can you take to add more meaning and let some of the focus on acquiring go? Remember, in the end, you can’t take any of the stuff with you, but you will take all of the experiences. These experiences are also a great gift for your family and friends to inherit. And the best part is they get to enjoy it all while you are on this earth, in this form, at this point in time, as well as for the rest of their lives—truly a gift that keeps on giving.

I hope you have a week filled with meaning and, as always, take care of you.

Love Love Love

Terri


Terri Cole is a licensed psychotherapist, transformation coach, and an expert at turning fear into freedom. Sign up for Terri’s weekly Tune Up Tips and follow her on Twitter.

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*Photo Credit: Tambako the Jaguar via Compfight cc