Monday, May 26, 2008

The Memorial Days of Your Life

A note from for Monday May 26 2008

Welcome to a shiny new week.

For our U.S. friends, we wish you a happy Memorial Day holiday today.

Now, down to business.

The “reader” came out later today as we wanted to reserve the space until our friend Philip sent us his Memorial Day message. He always delivers a great one.

The Memorial Days of Your Life
by Philip Humbert

This is our Memorial Day Weekend, a time traditionally set aside to honor those who gave their lives for our freedom.

Liberty and democracy are fragile things and they do not flourish by themselves. They require loving care and, too often, costly sacrifice by those who cherish them. Every day, liberty is under attack by those who would censor our words, our thoughts and our prayers. Every day, freedom is challenged by those--often good, well-intentioned people--who want "order" at the expense of chaotic, inefficient democracy.

We are free people and we can disagree about where, and when, and how we should defend freedom, but we are only free because brave men and women have resisted tyranny. In honor of those who died on 9/11, and to those who have sacrificed in the past and are continuing to sacrifice every single day so we can enjoy our holidays, have our picnics, and have our debates: Thank you.

And now I want to make a tricky intellectual "pivot" and turn from talking about honoring those who fought for our freedoms, and talk about how we build our own lives, and the "Memorial Days" that signify our progress. Clearly, we must first acknowledge Memorial Day the way it was intended and honor those who have given their lives for our freedom, but we honor them most by USING our freedom, not merely luxuriating in it.

I'm going to make a strong, blunt statement that may offend some, but here goes: I believe too many of us (around the world, not only in the U.S.) have grown flabby and lazy. We enjoy our freedoms, our wealth and our opportunities, but we also squander them.Too often we use our freedom to become consummate consumers, rather that expert builders. Too often we use our freedom to complain rather than to create.

Too often we use our wealth and our power to become couch potatoes and channel-surfers rather than pursuing our potential and exploring the limits of possibility.As you celebrate this national Memorial Day, I encourage you to note the key Memorial Dates in your own life.

As you look back, do you mark the date you graduated, or the date you launched your business? Do you mark the date you set your own course, perhaps the day you risked it all for your dreams?

On a warm, sunny day in July, 1984, a friend and I reached the summit of Mt. Blanca, a 14,110-foot mountain in Colorado and as we enjoyed the view, I knew we would climb many mountains together. I didn't ask Mary to become my life partner for two more years, but that day on that mountain is one of my "Memorial Days." I remember it well. The view, the struggle to the summit and the partnership we forged that day changed my life forever.

I remember a blustery, rainy day on December 12, 1997. That was the day I turned in my keys and walked away from the clinic I had built. I'd sold it earlier, but agreed to stay until the end of the year, and on that Friday afternoon, I launched a new direction. It is one of my Memorial Days.

How about you? What are your personal Memorial Days? Have you used your freedoms, your talent, your dreams and abilities to create the life you want? Some dates are specific and easy to recall, others may not have seemed special but in retrospect, we know they were turning points. We all have these Memorial Days and they are important.

Honor them. Honor yourself! Freedom and opportunity only exist if they are used! And more than that, one of the ways we fuel our dreams and empower the future is by "borrowing" confidence, courage and momentum from the past. Celebrate your achievements and use them to know, deep inside, that you can boldly go wherever your wish in the future.

Go climb some big mountains!

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