Life is lived in the dash

Life’s lived in a dash and accidentally for many people.

The early part of my life was lived by accident, and certainly not on purpose. Each day felt like a dash, as I raced through my to-do list.

I was alive, but I’d hardly have called it living. I lived in response to life, never having really made a decision about what I wanted my life to stand for.

The poem, The Dash, really caused me to pause and take stock. I think of it often when I’m trying to decide what’s important.

In this poem, Linda Ellis reminds us of the importance of the dash, the life that’s lived between the years of birth and death, listed in an obituary.

Life is contained in our dash.

Until I read the poem, life unfolded in front of me; I did the expected things. A cookie-cutter life made of the same dough as everyone around me. I often spent my days in response to what was happening around me instead of what was important to me.

It never dawned on me to stop and ask what I wanted in life, and to listen for the promptings of my heart.

I was happy enough, as one day rolled into the next, but really, it was a pretty beige life. Days were paved with sameness and predictability. It felt safe. I fit well into the societal mould, but didn’t really feel I was living my purpose.

I didn’t want to get to the end of my days wishing I’d followed my heart, wishing I’d taken the risk of breaking out of my established mould, and trying something new.

Crazy as it might sound, I’d never taken the time to search my own soul to ask myself probably the most important questions of my life.

  • What do I really want to do?
  • What do I want my legacy to be?
  • What do I stand for?

Waking up, letting go of all of the unwritten expectations and rules of life, and delving in to ask myself who I wanted to be was a powerful day for me. Everything changed.

There’s a huge power in connecting with the wisdom within, and in making a decision.

According to Raymond Charles Barker, author of The Power of Decision:

“Your life becomes the thing you have decided it shall be.”

I’ve found this to be true.

Once I make a decision, it’s like a mobilizing force in my life lifting me forward.

How many of us take the time to consciously decide, and then have the courage to live out the decisions we make?  Not to decide is still a decision, as we simply accept the status quo.

Having made my decisions, life has been an epic ride and I’ve done things I never would’ve imagined. At times it’s been scary, as it requires that I step outside my comfort zone.

Comfort is over-rated, and I’ve learned life begins at the edge of my comfort zone.

It’s easy to slip into the routines of life and forget to pause and ask ourselves what’s next. It’s a great question to ask ourselves from time-to-time.

What do you want your dash to stand for?

What legacy do you want to leave?

Each person has a unique role to play and gifts to share with the world, as only they can. Check in with yourself:

  • what’s next?
  • what’s calling you?

Make a decision. It’s never too late.


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About the Author

Corinne is first a wife, mother, and grandmother, whose eclectic background has created a rich alchemy that serves to inform her perspectives on life.

Corinne, a registered nurse with a master’s degree in Health Science, is a staff minister with the Centre for Spiritual Living Kelowna, and a hospice volunteer. She is an adjunct professor with the school of nursing  at UBC Okanagan, and is currently teaching smartUBC, a unique Mindfulness program offered at UBC, to the public. She is an invited speaker and presenter.

From diverse experience and knowledge, personally and professionally, Corinne has developed an extraordinary passion for helping people to gain a new perspective, awaken, and to recognize that we do not have to be a slave to our thoughts or to life; we are always at a point of change.

Through this column, Corinne blends her insights and research to provide food for the mind and the heart, to encourage an awakening of the power and potential within everyone.

Corinne lives in Kelowna with her husband of 41 years, and can be reached at [email protected].

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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