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Friday, August 17, 2007

Changing Courses

Every person we meet will to a smaller or greater extent change the course of our lives forever. Like refracting little balls of light that bounce into one another, consequently changing course and direction, we will be influenced and touched by others. And I believe that everything we experience can be turned to our benefit.

Who knows how your life may have been different had you not read Tarkan Deluxe today?

How different would your day have been had you not said good morning to the first person you spoke to today?

In telling our stories, and living our lives, we are also freelancing in the stories of others.

The importance or enormity of our contact with others is not often realised, or given due weight. After a unique holiday trip in the streets of Nicosia, in Cyprus, I have come to understand how the experience has fundametally changed me, but more significantly how it has changed the course of my life, too.

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. Viktor Frankl, in Man's Search for Meaning emphasised that what we have experienced, no power on earth can take away from us. Yet, even more than that, it is our present contact with others that not only translates our past with hindsight, but predicts our future.

An old aphorism has it that to live is to change and to live well is to have changed often. I truly believe in this particular mode of "changing"; in how people think about the world and what is good and true and of value. In many of my discussions with friends I can't accept the view that after a certain age - simply because of the years we have spent alive - we will become "set in our ways".

Age doesn't close our minds to change, or to learning. Only the other day I read in a Cypriot newspaper, that lined someone's bin, about Phyllis Turner, a 94-year-old Australian woman. She has become the world's oldest person to get a masters degree - in medical science. Something must inspire her to keep on studying.

To be educated (literally e-ducare, "to be lead out of" ) is to develop capacities to deepen awareness, curiosity, and finally to come to a judgement about matters of significance; judgements that can change over time with new experience, new information, a wider and more comprehensive horizon of understanding. Age isn't a barrier, but a pipeline for that.

To constantly educate ourselves, we need to examine our belief systems and change those beliefs that are outdated and no longer serve us. We must release the emotional charges which are holding our ability to evolve hostage.

We each have an inner guidance system to assist us in transforming the old pattern of our lives, and the influence of other lives plays a great part. Learning is a work of a lifetime, but it can be an adventure as we learn to move into the new stages of our lives. One of the soul lessons learned during my vacation, by introducing my life to lives very different from my own, is that my life has changed its course.

Naturally, this doesn't mean I will stay on the streets of Nicosia. The experience will come to an end. I will go back. But I sense the change in me, and I have to confess that I love the feeling. I am a new person.

Exactly where my life will lead from now on I don't know, but that's the fun part...getting to find out.

My Life Handbook: Epilogue: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

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