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What advice would you give your 20 year old self?

I believe that time is just an illusion. That everything is happening now … past, present and future collide as the gift of life in the present moment. Sure, our physical body matures and ages. But time is simply a fabrication - a construct of the mind … a concept we humans have created since the dawn of man.

I often find myself having conversations with my younger 20 year old self. I visit with him in my morning meditations. I strive to connect with his mind and his heart. I help him breathe and push through the temporary discomfort of life. I help him see that life is truly ALL of it. It’s as if I’m somehow transported through time and space. No walls. No barriers. I’m sitting at my computer, working on an architectural design and somehow feeling the presence of my wiser future self reassuring me. I feel the younger version of myself in my hopes, in my dreams and my aspirations. I smile in gratitude for the steps he took in life … the path that brilliantly brought me to this place. Here. Now. This all-giving moment.

Present day. I’m 54 years old. I’m sitting in a cozy wooden cabin in the heart of the Quebec Laurentians writing these words … answering this thought-provoking question that my beautiful daughter, Emma, shared with me this morning. A gentle breeze is making its way through the trees. Oh the trees! The Laurentians are swimming with them. It’s one of the miracles that drew me here eight short months ago. They stand the test of time. Tall. Proud, rising in all shapes and sizes. I feel them smiling down at me - their lush foliage dancing with the wind - a hint of laughter in their breezy serenade. A magnificent oak towers over me. I extend my neck and tilt my head up. My eyes widen at its massive trunk piercing a puffy white sky like a one hundred foot spear. I hear his song stirring deep in my soul.

“You humans. You don’t know anything. It’s about BEING not DOING.”

So, that is the advice I attempt to instill in my naïve younger mind. ‘Life is about being not doing. Like most humans, during my younger years I was too defined by pursuits, accomplishments, titles and square footage. These later years have sparked a new and deeper sense of awareness:

“None of that shit really matters in the end.”

I would share that it’s OK to fail and fail again as long as you are being who you are meant to be - following your heart … living your passion - losing yourself through the pursuit of the ONE THING that fills you up with joy. My 20 year old self was filled with all sorts of questions: Who am I? Why am I here? What am I meant to be? Just ask my mother and teachers. I used to drive them crazy with my questions. I would guide my younger self to open his heart and trust in love - God’s only why. It’s an emotion I’ve struggled with my whole life. LOVE. I recently wrote a whole novel about it titled: ‘The Life I Left Behind.’ I’ve spent the second half of my adult life with the intention of opening my heart. Surrendering the EGO, letting go of the need to be right. Forgiving others.

More importantly, I would share with my younger self the miracle of my first daughter, Emma. She is a timeless jewel. A rare treasure among treasures. She will enter my world in a few short years. Her eyes are liquid ink. They pierce directly into my soul - reminding me of who I really am. Her smile will disarm my defenses. She will show me what true love really means.

As I sit here contemplating the present moment all I seek is a life of peace, balance and harmony. I’m building a simple and elegant cabin in the heart of the Laurentians … a haven to call home. A place to write and marvel at nature. A place to share with family … sitting by a cozy, crackling fire, cooking, laughing, playing games and simply ‘being.’

My final message to my younger self is quite simply this … ‘we’ve arrived.’

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