What if you knew you were going to die soon?
If you found out you only had a month to live, would you feel you'd wasted your time on earth? Would you regret that you'd spent your time unwisely—perhaps chasing illusions that faded away before you could reach them?
In our youth, this seems a remote consideration, but when I turned 50 (and I'm now well beyond that), I felt the need to up my game, make better use of my time, and work harder to ensure my actions were more aligned with my values and my faith. Whatever time I might have left, I wanted it to matter to someone besides myself.
If this a priority for you, too, then you're in the right place and I look forward to sharing the journey with you.
We all want our lives to count
Let's face it, though, in spite of the lyrics from Porgy and Bess, livin' ain't always easy, even when the road is fairly smooth and straight. Interruptions, obstacles, and irritations can plague us. Or sometimes it's just a nagging feeling that there's something more…something we're missing.
Occasionally—and it can happen in the blink of an eye—fate or circumstances conspire to knock us right off the road, forcing us to take a good, hard look at our lives and reassess. We may find we're completely mired. Those are times when we need help to get out of the ditch. Other times, we find we have to shift gears or change direction. Here are a few life experiences that can get have this kind of impact:
- Hitting the next decade of your life
- Empty nest
- Illness—your own or in a loved one
- Death of a loved one
- A national or world-wide crisis
The symptoms will vary with each of us, but you might recognize some of them:
- You feel stuck, paralyzed, or floundering.
- You feel an urgency to escape, change, or just DO something.
- You feel unfulfilled or just restless.
These situations and feelings are typical of intelligent, vibrant women and men who, for one reason or another, are at a crossroads in their life. You feel like you're missing some pieces of your puzzle. I've been there, and while I was finding my way, I came to a critical insight: everything important to me—everything that had contributed to my happiness or success in life—was the result of one or another of life's four essential connections. I call them Keys to the Heartspoken life:
Key #1: Faith
“Faith is letting down our nets into the transparent deeps at the Divine command, not knowing what we shall draw.”
The belief in a higher power is a theme that runs through all cultures, even though its interpretation and manifestation vary widely. I have found spiritual richness in traditions other than my own (Christian/Episcopalian) because when the truth is Truth with a capital T, it transcends labels, don't you think? Do you remember the ancient parable of the blind men who are trying to describe an elephant? One has grabbed the trunk, another the tail, and another the leg, etc., and each comes up with a wildly different idea of what the elephant is. I hope that by sharing our individual and unique perspectives, we'll come closer to reality than if we go only by our own experience.
Faith is nothing, though, if it doesn't inform our choices and our actions. That's why I've included it as a major key to the Heartspoken life.
Key #2: Community
“When we seek for connection, we restore the world to wholeness. Our seemingly separate lives become meaningful as we discover how truly necessary we are to each other.”
~ Margaret J. Wheatley
The bonds we forge with others will shape the quality and character of our life, so it pays to invest in the relationships that matter most to us. It also matters how we treat everyone we encounter, from the store clerk to the person next to us in the doctor's office. No matter where we are, we have the ability to be a positive or negative force for those around us. Choose wisely.
Key #3: Self-Knowledge
“To know yourself as the Being underneath the thinker, the stillness underneath the mental noise, the love and joy underneath the pain, is freedom, salvation, enlightenment.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
Key #4: Nature
“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”
~ Frank Lloyd Wright
These are the keys we'll be exploring. I read voraciously and listen to a great many podcasts. I'll curate what's best and share it with you.
Who is Elizabeth Cottrell?
CLICK HERE for more than you probably want to know.
The people who make me look good:
Kay Ely-Pierce, artist and friend, has been a staunch cheerleader in my journey towards the launching of this site. She graciously offered me the use of some of her original paintings of hearts to use on the site as I saw fit, and the beautiful heart I use as a logo is hers. A gifted and versatile artist and a wonderful human being.
Lynne Crumpacker, also artist and friend, has brought my vision and writing to life in several ways. She has worked her magic on some poetry and prayers that I've written to make them frame-able pieces of gift art. You can find her work every month in the Mountain Courier.
Website and marketing genius, Nancy Camden
Nancy is the principal at Camden Web Marketing. She and I became friends at a creative business retreat, and I've come to rely on her expertise when it comes to all things WordPress. She is behind the current redesign of my site and is a trusted mentor on marketing and visibility on the Internet.
Whenever I have a special project that needs another pair of eyes, I call on Karen R. Sanderson, “The Word Shark,” an extremely capable and conscientious proofreader and editor. Karen has made me a better writer by helping me with everything from pesky dashes and dangling participles to ensuring that I say what I mean as clearly and effectively as possible.
When I was at my wit's end trying to wear all the hats in a growing business, Tishia Lee of Tishia Saves Time came into my life, highly recommended by a trusted friend. She is a knowledgeable and top notch virtual assistant in Michigan, with special expertise in autoresponder and newsletter set-up and management, eBook formatting, PLR rewriters, blog management, social media, and keyword research, but she's also great at brainstorming and keeping me accountable! If you need extra help in your business, call Tishia and tell her Elizabeth Cottrell sent you.
DISCLAIMER about Affiliate links:
You should assume that links to books, products, and gifts are affiliate links. This means that when you purchase through one of these links, I receive an affiliate commission, but you will never pay any more for it than if you had gone to the site directly. These help me cover the costs of this website.
I would never recommend or affiliate with any book, program, product or website that I didn't believe to be worthy of mention or endorsement. Don't hesitate to contact me if you have questions or concerns.
Elizabeth H. Cottrell