Dear Fellow Travelers,
What does it mean to love life and what is the impact on the world when an individual does, in fact, “love life”? This question was answered for me this past summer in the midst of joy and sorrow. A former colleague experienced a brain aneurism and transitioned to the arms of the Creator. It was devastating for not only his family, but a very large community of people. This particular teacher was the type of person about whom novels are written and then later turned into blockbuster movies, a Mr. Holland’s Opus type. Unlike the main character in that movie, however; my friend Dan loved his job from the second he came on the scene. In the over decade of time we worked together, only a few times did I ever see him without a smile, and then only for brief moments. He radiated light, enthusiasm and joy. It was impossible not to love him because he exuded love. It was impossible to resist joy and laughter in his presence because he carried enough for everyone. A brief conversation with him had the power to banish a bad mood.
I don’t know if this is a common experience, but when I listen as people share their stories about a departed loved one, I reflect on my own life and wonder what the final words about me will be. It’s a sort of personal evaluation, if you will. As I sat at the Celebration for his life, I became present to just what an impact someone like Dan has on a community.
Many of Dan’s former students, some of which I had not known before, reached out to tell me how different their lives would be had it not been for Reg (their nickname for him). Not just because he was a great teacher, but because he gave them courage to reach beyond personal limitations and grab a life of happy pursuits, especially in their choice of careers. Warren Beatty has been attributed with saying: ”You've achieved success in your field when you don't know whether what you're doing is work or play." Warren would have considered Dan a great success.
I believe people like Dan bring the energy they do to the planet because they choose to follow their dreams and thereby live in a state of joy. You see Dan made choices based on his own personal bliss and this created a bubble of energy around him for miles. Anyone who came in proximity to him was affected by it. When we follow our bliss, as Joseph Campbell teaches, it lights up the world. It gives others more than an example or a road map; it gives them courage and hope. It creates an energy of enthusiasm that is infectious. In this back-to-school season, my wish for you as well as myself is that we will live as authentically as my friend Dan, spreading light and joy along the path for others to follow.
Blessings & Light,
“Do what you love.
Do what makes your heart sing.
And never do it for the money.
Don't go to work to make money;
go to work to spread joy.”