Expiration Date

Life is resilient but comes with an expiration date. We enter this world supple and flexible, but leave it dried-up and stiff. If you’ve ever witnessed the birth of a child, as I have, then you know about flexibility. As we move through the stages of life, we tend to become rigid in body, thought, and spirit. If we aren’t careful, aspects of our lives become fossilized. This growing rigidity can move our expiration dates up. Of course, none of us want that.

Louisville was founded along the Ohio River at a series of rapids because the white water presented a navigational hazard for early explorers heading west. The Army Corps of Engineers later constructed a dam and locks to improve navigation on the river.

The Falls of the Ohio State Park was created to preserve a 390-million-year-old Devonian fossil bed. On a recent visit to the park, I was amazed by the fossil detail, but wondered what they really tell us about the lives those creatures lived. There are remnants of dinosaurs among us, and some are as common as a sparrow. As interesting as fossils may be, I prefer to observe life rather than an image impressed in stone.

The older I get, the more fascinating birds become. They remind me to remain light as the air I breathe and to adjust as necessary in mid-flight. I choose supple…flexible. I choose an open-mind. I choose life rather than death.

A New Journey

It is a well know Taoist proverb that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. I don’t know about you, but such a long journey is not something I would undertake lightly. Before I take that first step, I want to be certain that the destination is worth it. Don’t you? So how do we do know our goal is a worthy one?

There was a time when you were fresh. The old masters call this the state of the “uncarved block”. What we have become was shaped by forces outside of ourselves. If we can remember who we were before we changed, then we may discover our true purpose in life. I don’t know about you but that is a goal I can get excited about.

So, how do we remember who we were before outside forces carved us into our present form? My favorite method is meditation. Fortunately, it’s very easy to learn

Choose a quiet comfortable place. Sit with your back straight. Drop your chin slightly. Stretch your spine by lifting the crown and simultaneously sinking your tail bone. Take long deep breaths, in your nose and out your mouth. Release your tension. Continue until your breath settles into its natural state. You will know when it happens. Trust yourself. Now, let your mind begin to wander through your unfulfilled desires, hopes, and dreams. Don’t judge yourself. Just remember.

Pay attention to anything you keep returning to. How would it feel to fulfill this dream? What would it take to realize it? Is it worth the effort? You will know when you have found a goal that is worthy of a thousand mile journey. Congratulations! Now take that first step.