While attending business school, an assignment to decide the words upon our tombstone fostered a meaningful discussion. Writing our eulogy for leading a better life examines values, ambitions, and dreams. Hearts beat in an inspiring direction to live life with purpose. Grounded in meaning, our actions breathe a life of compassion, kindness, and connection. A playing field of anything is possible sprouts from the imagination. Yet as I took stock of my life, awareness of my damaged wings rose to the surface. Emotional baggage prevented me from soaring, tattered and torn wings weighed down by my past grounded me from liftoff. A wounded soul in need of healing, I reexamined my life from the inside out.

To live a life with meaning, my wounded heart must know forgiveness, experience peace, and learn to love again. Without the wherewithal, I searched within for worthiness only to find empty space, a tortured anger, and dormant sadness from yesteryear. Uncovering the depth of my despair, healing the wounds with compassion, love, and forgiveness, years passed. The process was as silent as a whisper, as if inching closer without hearing fully, gathering strength by the gram rather than pound, and releasing the past like a caress that dissipates into the wind. Enigmatically with fifteen years of gradual ascent, a knowing of self-love, gratitude, and comfort of self-worth encompassed every cell of my being.

Arrival at this knowing is palpable, but not readily explainable. Like a softened heart, an inner strength, and self-respect, the intangibles source the emotion of well being, happiness, and self-love. Healing reformulates wings, magically it seems, stronger than I imagined or thought possible, and spread full of Grace for flight. Soaring now with self confidence, self-worth, and comfort in my skin, I fly effortlessly, higher by the heart’s internal light, and smoother by the wind that releases my sails initially obstructed by weight, force, and obstacles. Lightened by the healing, love, and journey, I see my tombstone now engraved by a life being fully lived. Written upon it is the description of a woman who lived, worthy of speaking her truth, loving, and connecting all the way to her grave. She soared like an eagle, free to fly, free to roam, and free to live without fear. Are you living from the tombstone?