When I started this blog last year, it was really to keep family and friends updated on my progress through my breast surgery and recovery, with a view to using it in future for my possible art business. As time has gone on, the thing that I really love is when my blog helps someone else. I have received quite a number of comments and emails from other women, who have been through, or will be going through the same breast reconstruction, and they tell me it has helped to hear of my experience too.
With that in mind, today I want to share something that has really helped me in a broader sense over the last few years, through the loss of my two sisters, my business and my breast surgery and recovery. I have had plenty of time to have a good think about my life to date, and how I would like it to be going forward. I have started to see things in a whole new way. I have developed a “life philosophy” of sorts that really helps me make sense of things, to live in the moment more and not to worry so much. I call it “My life is a movie”. It’s a bit out there, but it works for me, and I hope it resonates with (and helps!) even one other person reading this post. For the record, here’s what I now believe life is all about (aka “the meaning of life” according to Sarah – haha!)
As I’ve said before, I am not a religious person. I was brought up as a Catholic. I know organised religion is a strong and supportive cornerstone of many others’ lives, but all of the “rules” of being a Catholic really did not appeal to me. There were so many ways to be “wrong”! The rules for the most part, seemed more harsh and restrictive than loving and supportive. I don’t know much about religion, but I do think at their core, that religions based on love are all just like different brands of airline to the same destination anyway, it’s just which one you are born in to or resonates with you. I have always had a belief that yes, there is a God. I’d pray to him in a simple way, usually when I was worrying and asking for help for someone else, like my sister, Martha. I said many, many prayers of “please God, look after Martha”, during her long battle with breast cancer. But that’s about it. Going to church, following the rules, really were not my thing, albeit that I could see that the “rules” were based on sound principals of loving each other and being our best selves.
Since Martha passed away almost three years ago, I’ve really come to believe that we are all just spirits, living in our respective bodies. I believe that my sisters Martha and Lou have left their bodies, sooner than we had all wanted, but they are still floating around with us all, guiding us along, helping us to feel good about ourselves. I think that our experience on earth is just one of a number of lifetimes we will have here, just like actors being cast in a movie. We can play different roles, in different movies, and each time, we learn a little more about life. I believe that, as spirits, we choose each role, or life, before we are born. Kind of like an actor would consider different roles before choosing which movie they’d like to star in next. I think we are given different scripts to consider by God. We might choose a challenging role, if we felt we were up for it or an easier one if we were exhausted by our last movie. But in each one, God will make sure we have the opportunity to learn good things for our soul’s development and this builds on the knowledge we might have learned in our last life.
When we are born, I believe that we lose all knowledge of the role we have chosen. I know that Plato wrote about the “the river of forgetfulness”, where souls forget about their past lives before they reincarnate into the next one. I think we forget about the “script” we have chosen for our next life at this point too. But throughout our lives, somewhere deep inside ourselves, we will know the broad outline of what is right for us and what we have learned in past lives. That’s our “gut feel” or intuition, that tells us when things feel right, for no rational reason, other than just a good (or bad) vibe. I am right into “trusting my vibe”! The more I do it, the more things work out right for me, in big and small ways.
I think it is a bit like that TV show, “Thank God you’re here!”. In it, actors are thrust through a door into an “improv” scene, where they have to work out where they are and what their role is in it. It might be a christening or a car accident or a classroom – they just have to work out what role they are meant to be playing and run with it. It’s not up to them to change the scene or anyone else’s role. Their job is to just tune in and make the best of it. And I believe that’s what life is like for us. God has already determined the important things that are going to happen in our lives. There’s no point in fighting them or arguing about it. If your sister has died, your sister has died, you just have to deal with it the best way you can. If you are meant to marry/ have kids/ buy a house/ have a certain job, then it will happen. You just have to listen to your own wise heart to know which way to go, find out what makes you happy and then do everything you can to give it the best chance of happening. If it is meant to happen, then it will. Take responsibility for your own life and your own actions. And don’t be too proud to ask for help. You just have to keep heading in the direction your heart tells you to go, keep learning and growing and one day the right door will open for you to end up where you are meant to be.
There’s also no point in wishing you were given another role in life. You have chosen your role sometime in the past, so don’t complain if you are not a rock star or Barack Obama or Kate Middleton – they are not your roles! You just live your best life. Others are just making the best of their roles too and we don’t know really what it is like to be anyone but ourselves. That’s what it’s all about. Being your best you. Being brave. Being kind. Making a difference. Being honest, with yourself and others. These are the things we will be judged on at the end of our lives. God will review our lives with us and see how we measured up. He certainly won’t care how much “stuff” we have accumulated, or how much money we have in the bank. He will ask us things like “Did you make the best of your life and the gifts I gave you? Were you true to yourself? Did you live fully and love fully? Did you know when to let go of the things that were not meant for you? Were you kind? Were you brave? Did you make a difference to others? Most importantly, how much joy did you bring (or take away) in your thoughts, words or actions?” This is what will count in the end.
I think one of the main ways we are meant to make a difference to others is, with those of us cast as parents, have we raised the best children we possibly could? Have we loved them and nurtured them and helped them to believe in themselves? The same could apply to our colleagues, our neighbors, our clients or customers, our friends, our family…. because none of us are islands, and we are here not just for ourselves, but to help others be their best selves too. Have we had compassion for others that have been cast in less fortunate, more challenging roles than ours? Of course there is a balance, and our first responsibility is to love and nurture ourselves, but we all need to do our bit, in big ways and small. Dig deep and do the right thing. “Sometimes you just have to put yourself out”, as Mum always used to say to us!
I also believe that God gives us everything we need to make the best of our lives. Our job is to make the best of our talents and all that we are given. We should be grateful, as I am, when we are cast in a role with a roof over our heads, a warm bed, good health, plenty of food on our tables and loving people around us. I often think, “there but for the grace of God go I” that I don’t live on the streets of Calcutta or in a war zone. I think we are meant to have compassion and offer support when we come across others in more challenging roles. Because we all will be given our life challenges. And that is when we will learn the most about ourselves. We probably won’t like the challenges when we are in them, but if we know some good will come of it, then it does help. I’ve come to this conclusion over the past few years through reading, thinking and chatting with like minded people. I believe that everyone is in our lives for a reason – to teach us, perhaps to support us or inspire us, or even to show us how NOT to behave. I am so grateful for the people who have provided me with love, support and food for thought throughout my challenges. Thank you God for casting all of them in the movie of my life!
So, that in a nutshell, is my life theory of what we are here for, and what it all means. Try it for yourself! When you look at life this way, it helps you to let go of worrying too much about everyone else. Yes, you can have compassion, but you don’t do your head in with worry (like I used to do about Martha!) when others have their challenges. You just have to do what you can to help, whilst also keeping things in perspective in your own life. If people are nasty, you can just think, well that’s sad for them, and keep your distance a little. Stand up for yourself, and try to associate with people who are going to help you be your best YOU. Work out what is your life purpose, what your own true heart is telling you to do, and go be that best YOU. Finding quiet space every day really helps you to reflect and keep on track with what your heart is saying. Have your goals, pursue them, give it your best shot! And turn up each day with an open heart and mind, because you never know what God is going to throw at you.
I hope that helps at least one person. It has really worked for me! At the end of the day, I just have to do my best, and let God take care of the rest.
I love hearing feedback, so don’t be shy and please do post a comment if this resonated with you too.