12/14/2012 04:18 pm ET Updated Feb 13, 2013

Imagine Finding Yourself in a State of Bliss

Imagine finding yourself in a state of bliss -- unanticipated and unaware until bingo, there it is! It happened to me today with the realization that I loved my life, doing what I wanted, as I wanted. How lucky am I? Not only to have a life I love but to know it: a feeling to know in your heart and hold in your head. How good is that? Especially at this time of year when or times move to fast-forward -- how could that be?

By the time we get to 50, we know for sure that we've lived at least half of our life. If we took the time, we could see what relationships are working and which aren't. What about your family -- whether they are your siblings, children, spouse/partner, parents if still alive? What about your work relationships? Your friends? Your living space -- home, apartment, other? And then of course, the most important of all, your relationship with yourself.

We, as Americans, have been given opportunities to take stock of ourselves and our lives. September 11 was one of the most powerful. That was followed by the space shuttle Columbia explosion two years later, followed by the Southeast Asian tsunami, killing at least 220,000, followed by Hurricane Katrina, which reportedly killed as many as 1,800 and displaced countless others, and let's not forget Columbine -- a tragedy beyond anything imaginable.

These events serve to shake us up, and then slowly, most of us go back to our complacency. Leading lives maybe less than ideal, but tolerable. What's the difference between those that stay the course and not? My first thought was courage, but it's more than that. Is it about maturity? We know that aging is what happens on the outside and maturity is what happens on the inside, and they don't necessarily match!

Stepping back from my bliss into my analytical mind, I realized this -- consciousness came first, awareness came next. Maturity followed. I am sure the answers to what maturity is would be different for each of us, but answering that helped me identify my values and my goals. It keeps me on the path of who and how I want to be in relation with myself and others. Here's what my "maturity" list includes:

  • Knowing myself
  • Recognizing I always have choices in my thoughts, attitudes and actions
  • Admitting when I am wrong and taking action to make amends
  • Accepting help when I need it
  • Forgiving myself and others
  • Understanding my strengths and shortcomings
  • Living in gratitude and seeing my life as a blessing
  • Knowing that my needs are my responsibility
  • Having an opinion without having to share it
  • Knowing that I am a work in progress

With the holidays again upon us and a new year about to begin, what time will you make for yourself to ensure that you are being the best you you can be? Life is short, make the most of it!

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