Sunday, May 01, 2016

What Has Formed Me? Part Two

Ironically, it was while living in a Trappist monastery that I first became aware of Zen, Mindfulness, Buddhism, Thich Nhat Hanh, and the Dalai Lama.  These things and these teachers continue to be influences and have had a great impact on the kind of person that I am today.  Another influence from that time of my life is Henry David Thoreau and especially his book "Walden Pond".  Christian monasticism, especially the Benedictine and Cistercian expression, Zen Buddhism, and the writings of Thoreau planted within me a desire for a simple life.  Although I am no longer living in a monastery, and I cannot totally live like a monk, I have tried to be as simple of a person as I can while living life as a married, family man.  This bring me to the next major influences in my life.  For the last 40+ years I have lived as a married man, father, and grandfather, while working for the last 30+ years in corporate America.  None of this has been easy for me.  In many ways it has gone against the grain of who I am at my deepest level.  On the one hand marriage and family life has provided a stability in my life that I might not have otherwise had.  It has also demanded a selflessness that I did not always want to have but which I also believe help form me into the person I am today.  My children are now adults, my granddaughter is nearly a teenager, and my working career is coming to an end.  Most of my working life I have been in leadership positions.  I believe I am a natural leader but I am a reluctant one.  Being a leader has also demanded a certain selflessness as well as a demand to put myself "out there" when I would rather stay in my cave.  Optimistically, I may have twenty years of life left to me.  I am not in denial concerning my mortality.  I do not know what the remaining years of my life hold for me or how they will continue to form me.  I am eager to begin the next phase of my journey and to see what life holds for me.  I believe the people and influences that have formed me up till now have done a good job.  I am happy with who I am and I am optimistic about who I will still be as I continue to age and reach my ultimate conclusion.        

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