the no regrets pact

Liesel - no regrets pact

If you were to live today with no regrets, what would you do? This isn’t the sort of question that gives you time to make a bucket list of everything you want to do before you die. It is a decision maker based on what is within reach here, right now.

According to Erikson’s stages of development, we shouldn’t really be thinking about the value of our lives and the impact we make in our world around us until we hit at least 40 … and spend the rest of our lives making sure we leave a meaningful legacy for someone within our spheres of influence, however big or small those may be. Maslow figured that the ability to think beyond ourselves and give to others altruistically, spiritually, is the pinnacle of development. But what if it didn’t have to be that way? What if there was a way to choose to hijack these lines of development?

I had this weird niggling thought in my head since I was a teenager that I would die between the ages of 26-28, mostly likely in a plane crash. A little morbid and a little weird? Absolutely! Oddly enough though, it never made me afraid. It pushed me to really live. Guess what? I’m still not dead.

No regrets living takes us places and gets us off the couch. It builds bridges with people. It accomplishes things. It gives us experiences and wisdom. It only has that healthy respect for fear. It is a courageous life. No regrets isn’t the ability to forgive yourself for not meeting the mark. It is the choice to do something that you won’t have to forgive yourself for.

Several weeks ago I had a friend over for dinner and we decided it was time to start a #noregretspact with each other. The best part is, we actually check in with each other: “How’s your #noregretspact?” It has challenged me to live like I used to live when I thought time was short – fully alive. The key to success? When there is a choice, make the courageous decision that you won’t regret tomorrow. For me, that might be getting out the door to Pilates, telling someone the good I see in them right there and then, swimming in the sea when it is still freezing cold, getting out of bed when I wake up (even if the alarm hasn’t gone off yet), saying “no” to that good thing I don’t actually have time for, having that conversation with God I don’t feel like having, answering emails in the morning, stopping to listen to someone, following through with something I told someone I’d do, taking a risk …

Right now, when you finish reading this, what will you choose to do?

#noregretspact

preach to me what you practice

I see your actions. I hear your words.

You preach what you practice and it sounds good.

How do you do it? I might ask.

Preach to me what you practice. Give me knowledge to do the same.

 

I hear your emotion. I see your expression.

You preach what you practice and it sounds real.

How do you do it? I might ask.

Preach to me what you practice. Give me courage to do the same.

 

I see your dream. I hear your reality.

You preach what you practice and it sounds strong.

How do you do it? I might ask.

Preach to me what you practice. Give me faith to do the same.

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St. Brendan

made of courage and hope

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On the long padded benches of McDonald’s on O’Connell Street I quizzed M. about teen culture in the area of Dublin known locally as “town”, more commonly recognised by outsiders as the inner-city.  She told me about their pride in fashion, mobile phones and shoes – those blinding, neon Nikes. With articulate grace she spoke about her hopes and dreams. With calm confidence she spoke about her plans of opening her own beauty salon, having her own flat and one day (a good few years from now) her own family.

We sipped our milkshakes as she continued to help me on this little project. She probably didn’t know this, but I couldn’t help but be filled with all sorts of pride for her. Sure, I took in what she was telling me about teen culture but I was secretly distracted by thoughts of what an incredible young woman she has become. I was there since before M.’s first communion. On occasion I was even one of the privileged few that she let babysit her. I was there as she entered her teen years. And now here she was, a beautiful young woman exuding so much courage and hope about reaching whatever dream that she wanted. At one stage she looked over at me and said, “I don’t remember a time in my life when you weren’t around.” I’ve always known welcome in her home. Her mam made sure of that, always making sure that I had all I ever needed. When going to study in Canada she even gave me an Ireland necklace so that I wouldn’t forget where I came from. She has been a true friend all these years.

In our conversation M. proved that she see’s town realistically – the strengths and the challenges. She’s also aware of the stereotypes but they are merely a passing thought that she counts as ridiculous to base life around. She has pride in where she comes from and in her community. She finds her value and worth in who she is and the choices she can make.

M.’s eyes were alight as she graciously answered all my questions over a couple of hours. She has influenced me for the better, reminding me of all that is good in the world. She is a picture of resilience that I hang in the gallery of my soul.