The tree’s branches were heavy with bluebirds – so many of them, perching lightly as if they were smiling and content. The tree itself was deeply rooted in the earth, with a thick knobby trunk and branches like arms ready for an embrace. It seemed as if this particular tree could reach the sky if it just kept trying.

The tree represents growth and the bluebirds are all about confidence. You walk into a room and you know that you are the person to be noticed, that is how you carry yourself, she explained.

On the ceiling, tiny white Christmas lights shone from around the rafters. It was a peaceful moment and a heartening one, on the eve of a holiday dedicated to gratitude.

There are an increasing number of businesses today that convey their missions, their messages, in the very fabric of their storefronts. Lululemon, for one, with its messages of meaning hanging in word clouds above the cash registers. And even Starbucks. What brilliant concepts and they both have flocks of customers, like birds returning to a familiar nest.

In the book I bought by chance at a Starbucks recently, entitled 1: How many people does it take to make a difference?, I marveled at the message in the pages.

For a coffee shop to seek to produce a book for sale beside the treats and lattes, well, it’s a novel concept to begin with – but so is having a private record label on which famous performers agree to do exclusive projects. Brilliant marketing.

And this book, at a time when so many are teetering, it’s about living a life of meaning, not living a life of money. It’s not a book about making a living; it’s a book about making a life.

And so I put before you this very important question on a Monday morning in the last month of this year: What are you doing to make your life worth living? When you look back at the end of your days, what will you be glad you did? And what will be your imprint on this earth when you are gone?

A friend recently flew to Kathmandu for work. She spent 2 and a half days en route in order to improve the maternal-fetal health care system in that Nepal city at the foot of the world’s tallest peaks.

“I’m glad I go there on business,” she told me, “because I really get to meet the people and see how they live. If I went as a tourist, I’d spend my time in shops and restaurants – and that’s not the truth of a place.”

We all make choices every single day – we choose to live a certain way, choose to work in a certain field, select the people we surround ourselves with and whom we turn to for inspiration. I’ve been trying these past few months to clean house – eliminate the bad energy and make room only for the good. I sure hope you can do the same.


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