I feel a bit preachy with this one, but I found this a valuable exercise, so I'm hoping you do too. Maybe it will feel less preachy to you if I first say that I'm not going to give you my answer for this question. I'm simply putting it out there so that you can find your answer.
This morning I was asked to contemplate the following scenario:
Imagine it's your funeral. Imagine you have just died, but somehow you are still standing up at the front of the church, or the funeral home, or the meadow at your favorite camping spot, or wherever you want to have a service. Imagine all your friends and family that will be walking through, imagine co-workers and neighbors and anyone else you think might show up. Actually close your eyes and picture it.
Now, you are allowed to say one thing to all of them. All these people you LOVE - you are allowed to give them one brief message. One parting thought. What is it? ... Think on this one, because it's critical to answering the REAL question below.
(Do you know where I'm going with this?)
Now here, in the non-hypothetical world, are you living out the message you would give at your funeral? Is your life speaking those words for you? Is your life speaking those words loud enough that others can actually hear them?
I thought about this, and in terms of life-guidance, I think this is a pretty good one to go by. I know that HOW to live out your parting words is a whole other challenge in and of itself, but clarifying what those words are is a big step. It just dawned on me that I think these words need to become my mantra. I've never really had a mantra before and I don't really know how they work, but simply repeating something over and over seems like a good way to make it stick. Especially repeating them to myself in the face of the unknown and the uncertain. I like this idea. It's comforting. Plus it feels very Elizabeth Gilbert-esque a la Eat, Pray, Love. How chic of me. ;)
Ok fine, if you REALLY want to know my mantra, I'll tell you. (You're just so persuasive.)
Love one another... that's it. And again, I know "how" to love other people might be the logical next question, but how would I change if I really loved every single person I came across? I think that's where we really get tripped up, is when we start de-valuing other people. And it's hard because love can mean so many things and it plays itself out in so many ways, but I know when I love someone that I want that person to see their full potential and to have the best life possible. To give and grow and stretch and love as much as they possibly can. That's what I want for people I love, that's what I want for me. You may not agree with me, but that's why it's MY mantra.... go find your own.