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Article by Wendy McCance
I tend to think outside of the box. I feel there has to be more to life than just what you typically do from one day to the next. Things like reincarnation, an afterlife and many of the beliefs of Buddhism fascinate me. Along the way I have formed my own ideas about the meaning of life and how to live it. Ideas that might not actually be correct, but thoughts that have allowed me to get more out of my life as I live it.
One of the things I think often about is what are you here to learn. Maybe we are all reincarnated over and over again. Put on this earth to learn from past mistakes, then we die and begin again with a new lesson. If this is true then what should I be learning?
I think back to my childhood often and go over the path that has led me to my present state. I think that overall what I have naturally been working on without realizing it is how to care for others and how to have more patience.
Over the years my focus was tightly placed on myself. Maybe it was all the moving from one state to another our family did when I was little or the strained relationships I had with my family while growing up, but I relied solely on myself. I believed that nothing was permanent and you couldn’t count on those you felt were supposed to be close to you. Once I was in that mindset, disappointed by fractured relationships and friendships that were torn away from me by distance, I didn’t spend much time looking outward towards others anymore.
The big adjustment in that way of thinking came when I began having children of my own. I just fell so deeply in love with each of my children. I no longer put myself first. My three children became an extension of me. I loved them so much and their well-being, sense of being well cared for and adored became everything to me. It really was my first experience giving up my own cares completely for others.
What is fascinating about having children is that in many ways it is like a mirror is stuck in front of your own face. There are many times I see myself in those kids. Stubbornness will take over or I see their insecurities or their bold and strong sense of ambition comes through. There are times my heart breaks when I see their intense need for reassurance or a hand held out when they have lost their way. It all takes me back to feeling I’ve had as I’ve grown up.
Having kids is in many ways like a do-over. In my case it has given me the opportunity to learn about focusing my attention outward on a more consistent basis instead of shutting off the world around me. I have learned how to guide my kids down better paths and show support when they have needed a boost. It’s that lesson of caring for others and having patience as I help my kids along their own path.
Sometimes I think each person lives until they have learned the lesson they were put here for and then they move on to an afterlife. It might sound dark to you, but for me it gives me some reassurance that I have done well working through something I needed to learn and now I will go on to a different place. Who knows, I might come back again another time to learn something new from where I left off.
I know to many this will all sound a little illusory, but it is a way for me to find some peace in a world that feels so out of control. A way to focus in and become a better person. When I think maybe each person is working through their own lessons, I feel a need to reach out and help them where they may be stumbling along. Wouldn’t it be great if that was the way the world really worked? Everyone evolving enough to help and support each other as they are each taught something valuable that will help them along in their own lifetime?
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