2009-06-19 / Columnists

Health & Harmony

Commencement Address
By Dr. Nancy Gahles

Health & Harmony

Each chapter in Life is a commencement. The beginning in a new direction, the pursuit of new goals, the completion of former dreams. Children are fortunate to have school terms as their marker. There is a circumscribed time when you begin and when you finish. Awards are given for high achievement in academics and sports. Clear demarcations of graduation allow us the chance to plan ahead for our next level of education. The commencement of a new chapter in our Lives.

As adults, our next level of education seems to be a swirling array of events that somehow meld together to form an endless series of dreams pursued, goals met and the direction, well, it's more like negotiating a curvy road at night without a GPS.

The commencement address is traditionally given by someone who has shown a marked level of achievement and is there to tell the graduates how to do the same thing in their lives. A role model of sorts. I love the stories where they talk about themselves when they were in high school and were the least likely to succeed. I love their stories of failure and missteps. I love when they weave the reality in with the truth.

The truth is that everyone is on his or her own journey and there really aren't any clear cut demarcations about when you achieved and when you failed and at what point you are deemed to be successful. Life is that series of breathless moments of exhilaration and of breath held moments of anticipation. Life is that series of choices that allows us to navigate the murky waters until we regain clarity. We can document those moments as successful when we emerge on the other side, safe and sound. We can also document them as successes when we didn't make it to the point we strove for. Success is found as much in the failed efforts as in the accomplished ones. A success story is one where the hero or heroine keeps on going, pursuing the dreams envisioned, meeting the challenges along the way and gaining strength of character and many loyalties in the process.

Life is a process. Certain cycles or phases can be commenced and completed. We can make notes of how we feel that we handled each one and apply new strategies going forward. Commencement is just that, a beginning. Every day is a commencement of sorts. It is all in the manner in which we perceive it. Awards or rewards can be given in the context of your day. Gratitude is a way of feeling achievement. In fact, gratitude and congratulations are both ways of celebrating achievements and good fortune.

Congratulations to all of us for special achievement in the areas of living that we thought we couldn't accomplish, for those areas in which we excelled and gratefully accept the award for most improved in those areas that we have yet to master.

As you will hear in many commencement speeches, the key is to trust yourself, never say "I can't," don't be afraid to try something new and always remember that it is NEVER too late to commence anything that you desire to manifest. Life is all about that. The eternal now. Make the most of it, kids!

May the blessings be!

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