What I’m going to be talking to you about this week is a subject that is really dear to my heart, and that is the art….literally, the art….of being fully human. I don’t know about you, but I really love the concept that I am a human being and have all the potential to be a human being. I remember being terribly moved by something that I read in a book. It’s a very poignant thing and it’s written by a school principal who gave this to her student. She said:
“I am a survivor of a concentration camp. My eyes saw what no person should witness. Gas chambers built by learned engineers. Children poisoned by educated physicians. Infants killed by trained nurses. Women and children shot and killed by high school and college graduates. So I’m suspicious of education. My request is: help your students to be human. Your efforts must never produce learned monsters, skilled psychopaths, or educated hit man . Reading and writing and spelling and history and arithmetic are only important if they serve to make our students human.”
You know what occurred to me? We teach everything in the world to people, except the most essential thing. And that is life. Nobody teaches you about life. You’re supposed to know about it. Nobody teaches you how to be a human being and what it means to be a human being, and the dignity that it means when you say, “I am a human being.” Everyone assumes this is something you have, or you should have gotten by osmosis. Well, it’s not working by osmosis!
I love to do talk shows because you encounter so many beautiful people. Everybody wants a definition. Isn’t that interesting? “Ronnie, will you define love?” And I say “Nooo! But if you follow me around I’ll try to live it.”
It’s very difficult to define, because it’s such an enormously broad concept. The more I live in joy and beauty, the greater a lover I become. Every day, I’m becoming a greater and greater lover. And to define it would be to limit it. But at least along the way I kind of have an idea of where I am. But I also know that if I put my hand out, you could give me new definitions, new strokes, new ideas, and together we could grow.
There maybe two thousand readers on this platform. There isn’t one person who hasn’t known loneliness. Isn’t that wonderful? There isn’t one person who hasn’t known despair. Isn’t that wonderful? There isn’t one person who hasn’t cried. But also, there aren’t many who haven’t laughed, who haven’t known joy. And in all those ways, we can communicate. We’re alike, because I’ve known it, too, and we’re all involved in the same struggle: to become fully human….which is the best thing we can become. And what a goal! What a wonderful goal.
To me, probably the most exciting thing in the world is the realization that I have the potential of being fully human. I can’t be a God, but I can be a fully functioning human being! And what I’d like to do is talk to you about some of the things that I think are essential in order to become a fully functioning human being.
We must get back to the point again; and, this is going to shock a lot of people, and you’re not going to like it, but I’m going to risk it. I feel this very strongly. We’ve got to risk again by saying that “I like me.” You cannot give to anyone in this world what you do not have. And therefore you must concentrate on getting. You must become the most beautiful, sensitive, wondrous, magical, unique, fantastic person in the world to be able to have all of these things in order to give them away and share them. Think about it. If I don’t have wisdom I can only teach you my ignorance. If I don’t have joy I can only teach you despair. If I don’t have freedom I can only put you in cages. But everything I have I can give away. That’s the only reason for having it. But I’ve got to have it first. And so I dedicate myself to becoming the best the world has ever known.
Being the best, I can love you as the best you. I will not have anybody playing “follow me.” Because when you start following my way, it will lead you to me and you will get lost. The only way to follow is your way. You’re that magic combination that will never be again, and I don’t care who you are, how exalted you feel or how lonely you feel. Every one of you is something unique and special. I wish we could tell this to children early so it wouldn’t take them a lifetime to find out! You have a unique world to share.
People who have studied perception and sensation know that everyone sees the world in a different way. Yet, it’s the same world. We don’t observe a tree in the same way. Yet it’s the same tree. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could share that tree and see it in two different ways? Just the concept sends me into orbit. And yet I hear people constantly saying, “What have I to offer?” You know what you have to offer? A central piece of the jigsaw puzzle. Unless you assume the responsibility, that picture never will be completed. I’ll never see your tree and I’m convinced that we still have misery, despair, agony, all of those things, because people didn’t actualize themselves and share their worlds. Because if they had, our picture would have been clearer. You have something to paint on that tapestry that’s uniquely yours. Don’t miss the opportunity. You are wondrous. You are magical. There is only one you.
The next time you pass a mirror, look in it and say, “My goodness. You know, it’s true! There’s only one of me!” Oh, if we could get into that! And the wonderful thing is, too, that it doesn’t matter where we are in that “you.” You’re only just beginning, because do you know that no one has ever been able to find a limit to human potential, or to humanness? You are unlimited possibilities.
COMPLETE AND BALANCED LIFE
“I will not die an unlived life. I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire. I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible; to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise. I choose to risk my significance, to live so that which came to me as seed goes to the next as blossom, and that which came to me as blossom goes on as fruit.”
Re-read the above quote, then close your eyes for a moment and imagine this it’s you speaking the words. Imagine it’s the kind of life YOU chose. What comes up for you? Do you feel inspired? Do you feel like it could never happen?
In the years I’ve been coaching I’ve found there to be some essential qualities of people who live a complete and balanced life: They firmly believe their success is more about who they are, rather than just what they have or what they do. They’re clear about their values and what’s most important to them. They have a vision for their life. They’re willing to take clear and focused action to fulfill that vision. They hold themselves responsible for the quality of their life.
Living a full and balanced life starts with knowing what a full and balanced life means to you. Each day, we are bombarded with images from the media that tell us who to be, what to do and how to act. We are saturated with “shoulds,” past experiences, family edicts and endlessly disempowering messages.
So the first step in claiming a complete life is to embrace the distinction that I make quite succinctly, “Don’t worry about living THE best life, just live YOUR best life.”
ere are some suggestions I give my clients to help them begin the journey toward living their best life.
(1) Start a journal. One of the best ways I know to quiet the mind and access your deeper thoughts is to write. Let yourself write in an uncensored way. Let your thoughts flow without concern for grammar or impressing a reader. Be curious about what your inner self wants to tell you.
Here’s a series of provocative questions to help start the journey:
What will my life feel/be like when I’m living fully and in balance? Here’s where you imagine in detail the life you want. Let yourself dream about how you’ll feel. Will you feel peaceful? Energized? Both? Will you be fulfilling a dream or simply living fully in each moment? Paint a picture for yourself.
What’s most important to me? Begin to make a list of your values. Your values are your personal inventory of what you consider most important. We all have values, but unless you take the time to clarify them for yourself, you can inadvertently be living someone else’s values. Your values inform the choices you make.
(2) Get to know yourself. Walk, meditate, exercise, or take yourself on a date. Getting to know yourself and what you like is an important piece of the puzzle. What movie would YOU chose? Is nature most enlivening or would you prefer a cultural romp in the city? Do something you’ve always wanted to try. Take a risk. To live a complete life you have to be in touch with what makes you happy.
(3) Find support. It can be difficult to explore or make life changes without the benefit of a support system. Often, when people start to grow, others around them – friends and relatives – may feel threatened. They may not want you to “rock the boat.” Seek out at least one person you feel safe sharing your desires with. This will help you to stay motivated and provide some accountability.
(4) Take action. Inspiration without action is like being dressed up and having nowhere to go. Take some baby steps. Ask yourself: “what’s one thing I can do this week to feel great about my life?” Then do it.
What does a complete and balanced life mean to you? I’d love to hear your thoughts and what you discover. It’s truly possible. You can love your life and watch the seeds turn to blossoms and the blossoms turn to fruit.
It’s YOUR life…. live it completely! _