What makes a life worth living?

 

What keeps us from experiencing bliss and fulfillment without the roller coaster ride of worry, anger and doubt?

 

When we choose to live, heart-centered and dedicated to the process, we offer ourselves a doorway to choices we hadn’t thought of before. Our minds clear, our tensions soothed, and our antenna raised, we gracefully accept our destiny. 

Born on April Fool’s Day, I’d like to think I came to earth with a humor for life lessons. As a child, I was enthralled with making noise and stirring the mud, both figuratively and literally. I spent my formative years banging pots and making mud-pies. And, by age five, I had begun to interrogate my parents on their choice of words during disagreements; what a thing for a five-year-old to do. For me, disputes were futile. It never felt good to argue, and I almost never got my way when I did. So why would their scenario be any different? 

 

I would soon channel my frustration by helping fellow elementary school classmates in playground conflict mediation. I learned to offer neutral advice, guide disputes, and find solutions where both parties could agree on a resolution. We applied a simple framework: resolution through communion and a common desire to create a positive outcome for both parties. 

 

Of course, all theory must be applied, tinkered with, and experienced to be truly applicable. So, my education in interpersonal communication had a growth spurt. My younger brother, just six at the time, began to show signs of mental disability. His temper was short, and he showed a relentless ability to dispute anything that didn’t agree with his worldview. For years, I struggled to bring peace to the conflict he felt. But over time, I learned that his condition was a great teacher in my life. Holding space for safe chaos. Love and compassion without condition. He opened my eyes to a world where all is welcome, the good, the bad, the positive and the negative. I learned the solution to our problems lies with understanding ourselves better. 

 

Life is no joke; the struggle can be very real. It takes certain life skills to be successful at making healthy life changes. And it is the duty of those who have walked over the fiery coals of life to help others accomplish the same. This is where I found my purpose.

 

During my teens and early adulthood, I wrestled with depression and weight gain. I shamed my body daily and struggled to find a quiet place in my head that wasn’t filled with endless chatter. But, at my lowest, there was always someone to pick me up, to remind me of my worth, my value, and the reward of being me​.

After my collegiate baseball career ended, I focused on my studies while continuing my early childhood martial art education. I majored in interpersonal communication and soon after started work as an exercise specialist with the rare opportunity to apply my communication skills while learning a new trade. My clients were demanding, but the lessons were valuable. I spent years supporting professional athletes, Olympians, actors and actresses to stay sane and fit during their careers.

 

A crucial time in my own career, I learned quickly that fitness coaching was really life coaching. Drastic body changes and performance goals involve more than effort and the perfect exercise plan. Helping clients achieve their goals often requires that we look at the whole picture: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. If you want to look like the hulk, you’d probably need to train like you’re actually thee Hulk: thousands of calories a day, hours and hours of heavy lifting, and one heck of a personality shift. But, for the average client, who wants to get fit or rehab an injury, reaching goals means a real change in their belief systems and relationship with self and others. Either life happens to us or we choose to get behind the steering wheel and hit the gas. To live a life worth living, we must fully believe that we can change and want to change. Easier said than done.

Eager to expand my knowledge of alternative healing methodologies, I became a certified massage therapist, cranial practitioner and soft tissue specialist. This included the study of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, various meditation techniques, breath-work, Qi Gong, Yoga and other somatic therapies. Each specialty gave me an expanded view of my personal experiences and my work with clients. With each new client, I utilized my ability to connect and respond with grace, which sparked great change and amplified results. My worldview expanded, and my desire for information grew.

 

In my trainings of ancient wisdom cultures, I learned that knowledge is not power. Capability is power. In my personal process of self-betterment, my goal has been to create a healthy container in which to explore relationships, career paths and mindset.

 

In my work with clients, the goal is the same. When we observe our objective and subjective realities simultaneously, we acquire an expanded view of our lives, one where many choices are available. We can choose to be angry, or find peace. We can choose to be worried, or find courage. We can choose to be doubtful, or help out. These are the lessons I have learned in my experiences. There are countless ways to pursue the unknown. But all methods achieve the same result, which is nothing or close to nothing. The most efficient way to help other people is to improve ourselves; and to improve ourselves, we must know ourselves, know our strengths, weaknesses, patterns, skills and unique abilities. What we do next is up to us. 

 

Life is hard work. It takes laser focus to achieve success in body, mind and soul. Like an Olympian competing for gold, we must learn to practice excellence in all facets of life, and the process should be playful and fun. One should attain fulfillment and pleasure from the journey of self-growth, not the destination.

 

As Welton Becket, my great uncle, has said, "The fundamentals of excellent architecture are synonymous with life mastery. Applied appropriately, design, function, form, space and structure create the cohesive art piece that is your life.”

 

So I ask myself and you; Will you create a life worth living? What will you create? Who will you create with? How can your creation help inspire others to live a happier and healthier life?


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