To my beautiful, intelligent, kind-hearted, and caring daughters, there are so many things in this life I want to teach you. There are so many lessons I want you to learn. There is so much joy I want you to experience. As you grow into women, you will face many trials and tribulations, joys and sorrow in your life. Know that I am always here for you whenever you need me.
As you read through these pages, I hope that you learn from my experiences, knowing that you are the greatest gifts and most significant achievements in my life. I write these thoughts in hopes that they will serve as a compass on your journey through this life, helping you to pave your path, achieve your dreams, and find your joy. These pages are written based on my experiences with all of my love and hopes for your life’s happiness.
Life Lessons Part 1: On Love and Moral Character
Find Beauty in Your Surroundings
Life is a beautiful portrait waiting to be revealed, each stroke adding to your story. Regardless of where you are or who you become, always find the beauty in your everyday surroundings. From a simple sunset to a flower blooming in a park, take time to appreciate the beauty in your surroundings.
This will create your life art from your personal experiences — even when these experiences are considered ‘projects’ or ‘work.’ There is beauty in all that you do.
On Love & Opening Your Heart
“Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” — Alfred Lord Tennyson
There is perhaps no greater gift in life than giving and receiving love. Love manifests in our lives in so many different forms and circumstances that it is an ongoing opportunity to explore and express. When we open our hearts, and we can see that love is a predominant theme in life.
Loving is an experience that is immediately reinforced by expanding and enhancing our life experience.
To learn about love we only need to give love as fully and completely as we can and to accept all that love offers to our life. It is profoundly simple, but often not easy.
You will find that the people you love are bound to disappointment and even hurt you and you may hurt others. Do not let this deter you from opening your heart. When you open your heart to love unconditionally, you will experience the purest joy that life has to offer. This is truly one of life’s greatest gifts.
The Importance of Courage
The fear of failure is an emotion that knocks on everyone’s door at one time or another. However, in life, failure is inevitable, as we are only human. Time and time again, we will all fail in one regard or another. The key is to not focus on the failure itself but to hold our head high knowing that you dared to try in the first place.
Most importantly, when you fail, get back up, dust yourself off, and try again.
It takes courage to follow your heart. It takes courage to do the right thing. It takes courage to love and embrace your fears.
Always Remain Positive
To avoid situations where you might make a mistake is a mistake. Life is full of ups and downs, trials and tribulations, joy and loss. Even a negative situation offers us an opportunity to learn and grow.
Cultivate and live in a positive environment, surrounding yourself with positive people who believe in your ability.
I believe when we project positive energy to the world, it will return to us. Every action shapes your life and destiny. So remember that even when a situation may appear bleak, always remain positive and find the opportunity ahead.
Resiliency Drives Success
If you take a good look at the world’s most successful individuals, they have one thing in common: resiliency. They did not ever give up or lose sight of their aspirations. The ability to follow your dreams without quitting while giving your maximum effort is called grit. Grit fuels determination and success as every failure leads to new opportunities. Of the 24 NASA lunar space missions, only 12 landed. Each failure was an opportunity to grow and learn. With grit, determination, and resiliency you will succeed in life. Above all, when you fail — get back up and try, try again.
Live your life with personal integrity. Integrity, at its most basic understanding, is doing the right thing from your perspective no matter what other people think. Integrity is found in harmony of the mind, body, and spirit. Living, working, and leading with integrity means that we don’t question ourselves when it comes to doing the right thing.
When we listen to our hearts and do the right thing, life becomes simple, and we live with dignity and in peace.
Doing the right thing is not always easy, but it’s the only path to living a life built on sound moral integrity.
Life Lessons Part 2: The Power of Family and Following Your Path
The Power of Family
Few people in this life will provide unconditional love and support that your family will provide. There are two types of family. The family we are born with and the family we choose to keep — our close friends. Whether you are family by biology or choice founded on trust and respect, the bond of your family is forever.
Family has the power to build you up, providing the foundational support for greatness. On the other hand, your family will elevate you to achieve all of your dreams and life’s ambitions. Regardless of where you end up in life, it would be best if you always remembered where you come from it all starts with family. Your family roots provide the values that will lead you through life’s joys and trials.
Every moment in life has brought you to this very moment in time. Every moment in life was meant to happen. Even the smallest moment is part of your journey.
Whether happy or sad, courageous or fearful, content or angry, how you feel at this particular moment is exactly how you are supposed to feel. These feelings are your truth.
They are the pieces of the puzzle that is your life.
Even the worst moment has a silver lining and a lesson to be learned. The key is to build your puzzle with passion, kindness, and positive energy along the way.
When it comes to life, timing isn’t always perfect. More often than not, timing in life will seem off. However, it would help if you remembered that everything in life happens at the exact moment it is meant to be happening. The right thing may appear to occur at the wrong time, or the wrong thing may appear to happen at the right time; it will only be later that you fully understand the impact of that moment on your life. The trick is to embrace the moment and know that there is a lesson to be learned in every moment we experience.
It’s good to have ambition and drive in life, but it’s also essential to manage your expectations. You must always ask yourself when is too little or too much? Everything in life comes at a cost. For example, great success comes at the expense of long hours and hard work, which may keep you from having time to enjoy other aspects of your life. If you let go of expectations, there will be no attachment to the outcome. This will set the course for a well-balanced life.
Create Your Life’s Legacy
We all want to create our life’s legacy, to leave something behind when we are gone. When most people think about their legacy, they think of their possessions and “things” they will leave behind. However, if you choose to live a virtuous life, a life of reflecting your values, you will create a legacy far more magnificent than material possessions.
Your legacy is built one action at a time. On any given day, ask yourself the following question:
“what is the number one thing you are doing (or could start doing) that will have the most positive impact on your life and the life of those around you?”
If you are continually striving to improve your experience and the presence of those around you, you are living an enriching life that will create a legacy for others to look upon as an example.
Life Lessons Part 3: The Importance of Giving Back
There is no more excellent gift in life than the ability to impact the life of another human being. When it comes to giving to others, always give for the sake of giving. It’s perfectly fine to give without reciprocation. We all reach a moment in life where we start to search for a purpose. A purpose where our life touches other lives in an in a meaningful way and they pass that goodwill forward.
Whether it’s personal success or personal satisfaction, in the end, givers gain. When you give without expecting anything in return that positive energy will pay itself forward. When you are generous for the sake of simply being generous, you are starting a chain reaction beyond your wildest comprehension.
It’s OK to be Selfish
You can’t help others if you don’t take care of yourself first. When you are fully charged and fulfilled mind, body, and spirit, you will have more to give others. As humans, we are wired to want to connect with others. What we often neglect to understand is that we are all connected through our humanity. When it comes down to it, you must always place the good of the group over personal gains. Ultimately, without the greater good the individual cannot thrive; and what benefits the greater good, often tends to be what will help your life on a personal level.
We are all in this life together, and we need to work together to live this life to its fullest. What goes around, comes around. When you are selfless and place the good of others ahead of your personal needs, you will reap the rewards of success tenfold.
Empathy is the art of stepping into the shoes of another person, understanding their feelings and perspectives, and using that understanding to guide your actions. Empathy offers an exciting route to self-reflection. It’s a way of discovering who you are by discovering the lives of other people.
There will always be people in life that have more than you. Moreover, there will always be people in life that have far less. Show empathy and compassion to those who are less fortunate. Help in any way that you can. You’d be surprised what a smile and shoulder to cry on can do for someone who is in need. Empathy is the cornerstone of cultivating great relationships and relationships are the cornerstone of happiness.
Life is beautifully imperfect.
There will be ups and downs and imperfections, but in between those moments are countless moments of joy, love, laughter, and happiness. Always protect each other and remember where you come from. Remember the values we have taught you and let those values manifest in everything you do. Never forget who you are and that you are loved. Bask in the joys and sorrows of life, as they are your legacy.