Just before Christmas, my husband and I had a free evening so we sat down and watched the movie classic, Shawshank Redemption. Although I have seen this film several times before, this time, one phrase from Andy, the lead character and prison inmate, seemed to leap from the screen straight into my heart. He said,
‘I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living, or get busy dying‘.
To be honest, there have been many thoughts and activities consuming my time and energy over the past few years that have left me feeling empty and blah. Of course, I’m not living in a prison cell, but some of my choices have been far from life-giving. Since, this phrase has prompted a month of sincere personal reflection and emotional monitoring regarding the choices I’ve been making.
I’ve been asking myself daily…..When I do, or say this (insert activity), do I, or those around me…
- experience life, encouragement, hope, power or other ‘living’ attributes like love, joy or peace?
- feel neutral, ambivalent or flat?
- experience a sense of sadness, jealousy, judgement, anger, discouragement or in some way feel drained of life?
Here are some of my personal findings.
When Andy, the prison inmate, uttered the words, ‘get busy living or get busy dying’ he was serving a life sentence for circumstances beyond his control. The truth is – we cannot always control what happens to us, but even in limiting circumstances, we still have the incredible ability to choose. And choice is such a powerful gift that can profoundly alter any given moment. We can either get busy living or get busy dying! And when we choose life-giving attitudes and behaviours despite what others are doing, courage, hope and power nourishes our soul which allows us to respond to others from a position of strength and vitality.
Since we only have one life to live, why not be ruthless with the choices that affect our well-being! I’d encourage you to consider taking this experiment for yourself. I’d love to hear your comments on the life-giving choices that have impacted your sense of well-being today!