The Value of DEAD- lines

Two people I know just died last week. Three notable colleagues, two of whom were mentors, died in the past few months. Many I know are facing health challenges.

There comes a point in our lives where we have a wake-up call. It might be the death of a friend, classmate, or someone else our age. We could be facing a serious illness or fear of one, or have a close call with an accident–some visceral reminder of our own mortality. And if we have important things undone, we are reminded to get about doing it. If there is still music in us, we had better make it now.

Awareness of limited time is your ally!

While no one knows how long we will live or how it will end, at some point, we ask ourself what do we want to do in the time we have left.

What is going to be our legacy?

What have we done, or learnt or experienced that will have made it all worthwhile?

What can we yet do, learn or experience that will give us meaning and joy?

What do we need to heal that will allow us to pass in peace?

What’s on our bucket list?

I was listening to Stephen Cope, psychotherapist and senior yoga teacher at Kripalu, talk about finding your true purpose and leading a passionate life. Cope works with the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita and dharma. Dharma is about finding your true calling and purpose in life found by discovering your unique gifts. 

Cope says that your dharma or calling gives you meaning, purpose and passion thereby ‘saving’ your life. But it damns you if you do not answer the call. I know this well as a former classical singer.

Gifts are a blessing if you use them, and a curse if you do not.

They are meant to be used, whether full time or avocationally, whether at one phase life or another. But they gnaw on your spirit until you do something about it. 

Following your calling has a sense of ‘rightness’ about it. It allows a feeling of flow, a connection with something deep inside of you, a feeling of fully being your authentic self. Not doing so, whether out of fear or self-doubt, or whether you are prevented from doing so by outside force, nags unceasingly at you.

Finding your authentic self

A calling is not necessarily just what you are good at, but what feeds your spirit. It is what makes you feel alive, in the flow. It gives you purpose.

Dharma can change in different stages of your life. And while it might be sensible or even necessary to stick with something because you have amassed some success, seniority, pension and continuing along those lines is easy, you do so at a price of growth, satisfying challenge, and engagement with your own life force.

There have been people throughout history that have in their spare time, followed their passion after-hours. For example, Charles Ives, the first American composer of international stature, worked in the insurance field during the day. 

Some were already successful in one field and switched temporarily or permanently to another. For example, Sir Isaac Newton worked in the British Royal Mint, reorganizing England’s coinage, and then Scotland’s. Charles Lindbergh stopped flying for a while to do successful biomedical research, and developed a perfusion device that kept organs alive and healthy without infection thereby allowing certain surgeries to be done. “Big Bill” Lear of aircraft building fame later invented eight-track tapes and co-designed the first car radio.

What do you feel is yours to do?

Cope says that once you discover your calling, you need to go all in. This will mean a clear commitment, and cutting off of other options. Burning the boats for your escape when things get tough takes great courage. But it will also force you to go forward, and cut out distractions in your day  to day life. This focus is a requirement for your path to flourish.

But rather than being focused on end results, Cope says to turn it over to something bigger than yourself. Let go of small egoic self, get out of the way and let God within shine through you.

Sometimes nature can provide a model. Whether dandelion or rose, gardenia or black eye Susan, flowers know enough to be their authentic self, and hold their head up high, and bloom. I think we can learn from them.

Copyright by Roxanne Louise. However, this article may be shared in other free online sources only if this copyright notice and link to and  are included with the content.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: see our main website: or call 434-263-4337

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: