Living is a giving thing. The more we pour ourselves into the world the more we get from the experience of life. A quiet satisfaction and contentment springs forth from our investment in the world. While it is the source of unbridled happiness and pleasure to be a well and not a drain, the opposite is also true. When we shrink away from giving, when we live in the shadows of fear, taking from the world and hiding away all that we have to offer, we find ourselves slipping towards regret.
And regret is a slow rolling storm that gains momentum as it moves. It starts as shower and ends as a tempest, battering us against the waves of life and shadowing the future of our movements. And when regret finally breaks us we look back at our shattered life and we say, “How can there be so many broken pieces of me from things I never tried? Why should I shatter so completely from simply never giving everything of myself?”
I don’t think anyone wants to dwell among the fragments of a half lived life. And that is why we must give. But what should we give in order to die without regret?
Only these four things, which are everything to life.
You have to live free of the fear of getting hurt. You have to give forcefully, fully, frequently and freely of the unique heart that only you possess. You are the entrepreneur of a special kind of love. What you can create from your heart is an exclusive, desired and important product that there will always be a demand for. The world needs everyone’s sort of love; to mix them all together to make that special shade of fellowship that only the combining of everyone’s heart can produce.
But it is not enough that you should give your heart only to those people who are easy to give it to. You must habitually give your heart to everyone and everything. Remove the choosing of compassion and love and settle into the ritual and routine of it.
You must never close your heart; no matter what pain or misery that you endure by leaving it open. Because when you shutter the windows of your heart you are not only shutting out the potential for pain, you are also shutting out the potential for connection; for light and beauty and joy and devotion and all the other graceful things that can come dancing in out of the dark, looking for a bright place to stay.
And if you want to know if you will get hurt again; you will. Because sometimes you will give your heart to people who do not see the value in it. People who are only facile collectors of such things as love and loyalty and trust and respect and not honest connoisseurs of them. They put these things on shelves and swear they know the value, but they never experience the flavors and complexities and vintages in earnest.
But even with all that, you never stop looking and loving and giving and being a god damn invincible, personal crusader for everything that your heart desires, because you get what you give and giving your heart with a brave and relentless consistency will get you the world.
All the blood, sweat and tears that you have inside you should be laid down often at your feet as witness to the passion and intensity of your life. The world should be able to track you through the trail of your blood, sweat and tears and you should die knowing that you put out all the humors that were inside of you and there was nothing left of your body that you had left to give.
Bleed because you have been wounded. You have stepped into battle often enough that you know what it is like to spill blood unto the ground. Yours and your enemies. Sweat because you have worked hard. You have pushed yourself to the limits and have tasted the salty, satisfying substance of exertion. Cry, because sometimes it hurts so much that the only way to get through it all is to let your tears trace down your cheeks in a waterfall of release.
Do not be ashamed of your body. Be unafraid to give it to the world, with all it’s million flaws. All of it is yours; if you love it, leave it and if you hate it, change it. You carry it with you for the rest of your days so, above all things, take care to nourish it. It is the only one you get and it will carry you only as far as you prepare it to.
And when you give it to the world, know that you are giving the world the cover of your book. You may not want them to judge you by it but they will, and you can use that to your advantage or complain about it until you die.
Give the world your big ideas – your dreams and hopes and wishes for life – the ones sitting on the shelf collecting dust. The ones you are too afraid to give because you don’t want them to be misunderstood or mishandled. You need to give the world the mental best that you have to offer. Remove the fear of what they will do with those big, beautiful things living in your head and put them out there. Stop punishing all the amazing things that live inside your mind with distractions and doubt and let them live and flourish like flowers in a well tended garden.
Not everyone will understand the things you have in your mind, but the right people will. The ones that share a motivation towards the things that you are so inclined. Those people will gravitate towards you like moths to a flame and they will be a constant, swirling reminder of just how many people want the kind of light that only you can produce.
You should resolve to die empty of the regrets that slowly creep into the mind of a life half-lived. All the things you should have said and should have done and should have been, those things want to be free of your mind and exploded into the world so they can work their magic. Nothing want’s to live the shadowed life of a regret so let them free. Nurture and tend to your dreams but do not hold them so tightly that they suffocate. Our dreams are never ours alone and once we give them to the world we must be confident that we raised them right and they can survive without us.
It is not enough that you should give the world your big ideas, as though they were the best you had to offer. You need to give the world a completed aspect of yourself. Your everything. The carefully tied together expression of your heart, your mind, your blood and your body. That is your soul. The things that put together makes you, you. The world needs that, because you are the only you there is and ever will be in this world. The carefully constructed probability of you will never exist again and this is the only moment you have to give that to the world.
So, crawl to your death bed knowing that there was not a single part of you that did not come into contact with the world. You gave your soul and all the constituent parts of it that make it yours. You gave this one opportunity for life everything you had and, for better or for worse, what the world saw of you was truly you. Not some half assed interpretation of what you think the world wanted of you, but a full-blown, fucking declaration of what you think the world should want from everyone; their everything.
That’s it. That is the only magic we have. But it is powerful and it is enough. Enough to last a lifetime. You get to choose if you want to save it up and huddle under the blankets, piling up regrets until it all gets taken away. Or, you make the choice to go out there into the world everyday and give every single, fucking, bit of your heart, your body, your mind and your soul. Because when the magics done, it’s done, and whether you used it – whether you gave it everything you had – only makes a difference to your story and what people tell of it when you are gone.