Fully Awake – Fully Alive

“Sometimes the fog lifts, however slightly, and we see more clearly the better road ahead. And while it may be dimly lit, if we keeps our eyes wide open, we see places we have never known but only dreamed possible.”
            Doug Gustafson

             “Explore. Dream. Discover.”
                        Mark Twain

The quest to be a better man necessitates taking a vivid look at your own person – at your life in all its colors and shades. Ponder for a minute these thoughts:

“Just how awake are you – to love, to your dreams?”

“Do you feel fully alive, awake to your potential, to what life is calling you to be?” For many, “What God is calling them to be?”

“Do you know yourself, what your made of, what you stand for when push comes to shove – when facing crises or difficult times?” “Can you talk candidly about your values and what creates resilience in your life when the pressures mount?”

I bring to the table a huge bias. That the only life worth living has gone through rigorous testing – by the fire of radical honesty. Your fire. Your honesty. The fire you walk through where you try hard to uncover and understand your true self – what you stand for and what you’re made of. The kind of rigorous self-analysis that tests your metal – that peers in so close to the heart that both good and bad emerge into focus.

Let me challenge you to make two lists.

One – a list of the darker stuff. The list that includes where you’re selfish and just want your own way. Where you don’t really listen or love well and you withdraw from those you care about out of anger. The behaviors you’re not really proud of but maybe feel stuck in. Be honest and include your history, past and present.

Second – a list of strengths and what makes you vibrant, alive and strong. This list includes where you shine, how you bring light into the lives of others, how you love and tend to the people who know you. This list includes how you make a difference in the world to those in your circle – and those who will know you in the future.

Now ask yourself, which list do you build your life around? Which list do you keep in your conscious mind and which one drives your choices and decisions? Do you believe it’s possible to construct a life that centers itself on love, compassion and a desire to see good things happen – to you and to people you know? Where you’re driven by your passion to be real, to succeed and make a difference in the world?

When all is said and done, and the end of our days draws near, which list do you want to be remembered by?

Read this and repeat after me:

I want to be a better man. Whatever it takes. I want to live with influence, where I touch the lives of those I love and care about in ways that make them feel valued, worth every penny of life they’ve been given. I want to be a man of influence, however small, however large where I strive to know myself fully and where I take my strengths and use them for good. I want to create a huge life out of my dreams and talents and to do this, I will commit to the right list – where I   give my life over to creating my most amazing self. The one that shines. The one that prospers as it grows from a compelling vision of what it means to live well – for good and for love. For the life I want to create and sustain.

So just how awake are you? Strive to live fully awake and fully alive. Live according to the man you truly desire to be. Your best self. First, define who he is – be a list maker. And then commit to building a life centered on principles you have identified. Refuse to forget them or shove them under the rug of passivity – regardless of circumstances and the unexpected events of life. This begins the true journey of how to be a better man.

Picture of Doug

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About Doug and Leslie Gustafson, MFT's

As writers, speakers, therapists and coaches, our mission centers on working with men, women and couples who want a more fulfilling life by living out their true vision and passion. We have written the book Amazing Intimacy - Create A Spectacular Marriage In and Out of the Bedroom as a how to guide for love, sex and passion. Ultimately, we all have an incredible potential we have only partially discovered and fulfilled. This brief journey in life gives us the opportunity to realize and pursue this exciting potential.
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