Your Life is Now
The great Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius once noted that "the present moment is equal for all", that the "past" and "future" are borrowed concepts that are neither truly possessed or owed. Quite simply, the great Caesar was a classical advocate for living in the moment, and dedicating that fleeting instance to being the greatest version of you that you could be. In that sense, he would have likely found our next guest to be a kindred spirit. After making significant professional strides early in his young career, Mike Duffy cast aside the security of the status quo for the promise of something greater. Now, he's embarking on an odyssey to honor his deepest passion, service. This week, he joins us in sharing his plan for making the most of his moment.
Tonight I received the warm embrace of more than 80 squeezing hugs with bright beaming eyes staring up at me followed by the words ‘Goodnight Brotha!’ in the best English the children could muster. Two months ago at this time I was sitting in cozy air conditioning behind a box at a financially comfortable job in public accounting. I was living with the many luxuries and surrounded by an abundance of blessings that we are so very often acclimated to. In less than two months’ time I have gone from the corporate salary setting to spending my days working among children with varying special needs of the rural poor villages of Cambodia.
Life: For all the books and beliefs, lectures and lessons, advice and insight that we drown in, it can be simplified to a very basic principle – Your life is now. The present moment is all we have and all that there will ever be. There has never been a moment in your life that was not now. This is a simplistic but profound concept that I came to understand in recent years. Why is this so important? Isn’t this construct so obvious and completely understood?
Well, I wouldn’t say so. Many of us, and I for one, choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality. The things that we intrinsically dream of and desire seem impossible and out of reach. So often attached to the responses I receive when asking people their dreams, soulful ambitions and deepest desires is that it will come ‘one day’, always in the future, only waiting for the perfect time.
Truth is, there will never be a perfect time nor will our circumstances ever align seamlessly for what we hope to accomplish. Instead of playing it safe, avoiding risks and maintaining the status quo in the hopes that the future will hold my happiness, I decided to venture in the direction of the calling in my heart.
So here I find myself, at the Marist LaValla School for children with disabilities outside of the capital of Cambodia.
"Your life is now. The present moment is all we have and all that there will ever be."
As long as I can remember, my heart ached with a passion to make the world a healthier, more loving place for those most in need, especially children. Sure, a lofty goal, but achievable through small acts of loving kindness. A more wildly ambitious and daring dream is to backpack, living simply, and explore beyond the limits of my comfort zone. So at 24, I stepped away from the successful job, left behind the luxurious comforts of my lifestyle, and stepped on a plane to head to the geographical opposite side of the world.
"Do not downgrade your dream to match your reality. Upgrade your conviction to meet your destiny." –-Stuart Scott
Through life we can understand the inevitable reality that there is only one life to live. To quote the great Jim Carrey, “You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance at doing what you love”.
I will be spending six weeks through the Christmas holiday with the Marist Brothers in Kandal, Cambodia offering my time and energy in the areas of English learning, construction and care for the children.
I will then embark on the adventurous journey of a lifetime completing an ultra triathlon trek of 2,000+ miles through South East Asia in an effort to raise $15,000 to bring freshwater to those most in need throughout the world. I will be joined with a long-time friend, John Herman, and we will complete the trek in the fashion of 15 Ironman Triatholons – 36 mile swim, 1,600 mile biking and 400 mile by foot. I find life most fulfilling by daring to do the things that seem impossible and scare us most.
I chose to set my mind on my dreams. Make a plan and stay persistent. I endured months of long hours studying and working to accomplish the ability to go after mine. Believe in yours whole-heartedly and realize that what you do in this very moment determines the rest of your life. Stay consistent and be fearless in pursuit of what sets your soul on fire. Your life is now, you are not defined by your past and the future is only a rambling misuse of imagination, live now. The life that fills your heart, the days where sleep becomes an inconvenience, chase those moments that make your soul feel vibrantly alive. Be you.
The great blessing that we have in life is to learn from one another. I particularly enjoy learning from those who have lived a great portion of their days. I always seem to receive the same wise advice:
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -- Mark Twain
To learn more about Mike & John's journey, as well as ways to support them in reaching their goal, please visit: www.JourneyforWater.com