How to Live a Real Life

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day…

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real… It doesn’t happen all at once. You become.” –from The Velveteen Rabbit

I took a few minutes yesterday to write a short encouraging email to a friend. It was a simple thing, really, something I do often and that I enjoy doing for people I care about. I soon got the following reply:

I love you John. Thank you for sharing. :) You warm my heart with your words.

Just like the Velveteen Rabbit, I am becoming real. And just like the Velveteen Rabbit, it is because of love. No, not the passionate, heart-stopping Hollywood stuff, but the ordinary give and take of simply loving people in simple and ordinary ways, and being open to receiving their love too. I like to think that’s what living a real life is all about.

But it’s not always so easy, is it? There seems to be two big traps that crowd out real life: fluff and drama. By “fluff” I mean things that easily occupy the time in our day, that seem to be engaging and life-giving, but that really don’t have anything to do with the real business of life, giving and receiving love. Spending hours watching entertaining television, surfing the net to watch the latest cute kitten video, watering vegetables you can’t eat on Facebook— they all certainly seem to be enjoyable, but do they help us become real? Are they paths to giving and receiving love, or are we just pointlessly spinning our wheels, going nowhere?

The second trap is what I call drama: anxiety, worry, focusing on what others think, power, bitterness, greed— there are so many things that suck us into a whirlpool of drama that consumes our time and energy without giving us any life in return. Whether it’s that nagging thought of whether we really look pretty enough or a resentment that fills every waking thought, every second of drama in our life is one second less that we have to abide in love.

So, once you cut out the fluff & cut out the drama in your life, what next? Fill your life with pathways to give love, according to your unique gifts and your unique place in the world. How do you love? I love best when I use words to encourage, teach, & give wisdom, when I listen, when I laugh, when I hug, when I help people with their health concerns. Spend time thinking about how you love best, and use your list to structure your time & priorities.

And how are you loved best? I am loved when I am open to God’s presence, when I am open to receiving gratitude (& hugs!), & when I immerse myself in life instead of being on the sidelines. Don’t be afraid of a life filled with both giving and receiving genuine love.

Do you want to become real? It’s simple: live a real life, a life filled with love. Start today.

1 comment to How to Live a Real Life

  • Love the real definition of “real” John. I am sure your friend must have felt deeply touched with your words.

    Thank you for being. . . “real” :)


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