Your life begins to end the day you become silent about things that matter.
– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
This past week, the video of Liz Murray’s TEDxYouth talk landed in my inbox. (You can click to watch the video at the bottom of this post.) Her story is really quite extraordinary – growing up with drug-addict parents in the Bronx, homeless at age 16 and sleeping on the streets, making clear choices and decisions to create a new life for herself, and ending up at Harvard.
Towards the end of the 12-minute talk, she shared the above quote from Martin Luther King. Such a great follow-up to last week’s post on paying attention to what is really important in our lives and work. Many of us feel a calling to something bigger – a vision or dream that won’t let go of us. Pioneering dancer and choreographer Martha Graham called it “a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”
Following that calling or dream can give us a sense of purpose and direction. Yet many things can get in the way of going for it. We may not realize the personal cost at first, yet each day that we don’t honor and give voice to the blessed unrest deep within, we die a little bit inside. We start to live in exile from our souls. We may tell ourselves we have good reasons to keep quiet – “it’s not what my family believes,” “my spouse wouldn’t understand,” “I don’t want to rock the boat,” “people will think I’m crazy,” “I could lose my job,” “I have too many responsibilities to take that risk,” “it would be rude to speak out,” – and the list goes on and on. Yet the dream or vision doesn’t go away. Over time, when we don’t say yes to the callings of our souls, our hearts shut down and our life force diminishes.
Liz Murray had a really tough life growing up – probably tougher than most of us can truly comprehend. Yet she chose to change it. She gave voice to what mattered to her. She paid attention to who she was going to have to be and what she was going to have to do in order to live the dream that was calling her. She refused to be silent about the things that mattered to her. She never accepted that her dream was not possible. She just kept moving forward. And she lifted herself out of homelessness and poverty into graduating from Harvard and now sharing her message of falling in love with possibility.
What matters to you? Whether it is a soul mission you know you are called to live or a belief or truth that you know you must honor, remember Dr. King’s words: Your life begins to end the day you become silent about things that matter.
P.S. If it’s time to take a big step into living what really matters to you, the Center for Transformational Presence can support you in taking your next steps, both personally and professionally. Visit our website to learn more about workshops and audio learning programs, the Transformational Presence Leadership and Coach Training program, or our personal coaching services.
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