How Are You Living Your Dash?

by Connie

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Cemetery gravestones of old were succinct.

They cut to the chase; noting the name of the departed, birth year and year the soul transitioned.

The two dates were separated by a dash chiseled into the rock.  This hyphen represented the person’s life.

A whole lifetime reduced to one glyph (-) carved in stone…one uncomplicated dash.

Which brings me to ask…how are you living your dash?  Is your Life, today, everything you wish it could be?

What do you need more of, or less of, to feel fulfilled? 

If you were headed toward the light could you proudly say, ‘I loved well.  I had fun and enjoyed myself.  I had a really good run.’ 

Each Day a New Beginning

Every day, you’re given an opportunity to refine your dash and live whatever you define as ‘the good Life’.

It’s something I thought a great deal about when I was diagnosed with ‘the little c’.  (Most would call cancer, ‘the Big C’.  I always refused to give it that much power in my Life.)

When blessed with the opportunity to stare down my mortality, I found it clarifying.  This was a defining moment in my Life. 

For a day and a half after receiving the diagnosis, my husband, Steven and I were shell-shocked, walking around in a dreamlike state.

There were intermittent crying jags followed by spaces filled with disbelief.

Exhausted, we needed the respite of a midday nap.

Your Work of Art

While napping, I had a dream that was so lucid, it seemed real.  In the dream, I was an artist, wearing a splattered smock and holding a painters palette.

A canvas, that went on as far as my eye could see, stood before me.  The canvas was teeming with images, people and experiences depicted on it.

I scrutinized every aspect of my Life to see if it fit my ideal.  I held every facet up to the light.

Acknowledging my days were limited, (and let’s face it…whose aren’t?) I wanted to guarantee my Life was filled with only those people, experiences and things I enjoyed.

I saw my Life as my living masterpiece and I was the artist holding the brush

When I woke up, I felt rested, energized and ready for the fight of my Life.  No longer afraid, I was confident of my treatment decisions.

The diagnosis was an opportunity.  It was a blessing in disguise.

My dream became the impetus for me to review my Life.  I still use this powerful tool to assess the quality of my Life, today.

Every time I’m faced with fresh opportunities I ask myself, ‘Does this fit into my ideal Life?  Is this something I wish to invest myself, and my time, to experience?’

If the answer is, ‘Yes!’ then I jump right in.

If the answer is, ‘No’ or ‘not so much’, I take a pass. 

Let the Exam, Begin

The day of my dream was the day I sincerely began evaluating my existance.

I wrote an inventory of every aspect of my Life.

Nothing was exempt from scrutiny; my spirituality, my friends, career, how I spent my free-time, how I cared for and fueled my body, my volunteer work.  Everything went under my microscope.

One-by-one, I assessed my list to see if it meshed with how I intentionally chose to live what’s left of my dash.

  • If it matched my ideal Life, it remained a part of my landscape.  If the item in question enhanced my dash, it remained on my canvas.
  • If someone was an energy drain or the relationship was unbalanced, unhealthy or something I did out of obligation rather than from a place of joy and happiness, I made a conscious decision to end that relationship or insulate myself from that situation. 

Taking my brush in hand, I gently painted over the less pleasant things, making room for something more balanced and fresh. 

It’s Inventory Time

Consider this your wake-up call.

Don’t wait for a life-threatening dis-ease to rock your world. 

Take stock of your Life, now.

Write it down.

Then, clarify it.  Distill it to your essence.

Filter out that which doesn’t fit.

Purify your Life.

  • What makes you happy?   

Hiking?  Playing in a band?  Exploring?

Then, do more of that!

  • Who do you enjoy being around? 

A special loved one?  A dear friend?  Your pets?

Schedule a visit or spend time with them, today.

  • Who or what frustrates you? 

Make a conscious decision to avoid that person or experience.

When you’re at the end of your dash, what’ll you wish you did more of? 

You already know the answer.

It’s impatiently waiting for you to give it a voice.

The answer is straightforward and effortless.

Whatever your response, you can start heading in that direction, today.

Live consciously and with intention.   

Live your passion, whatever brings you joy and puts a smile on your face.

Do more of that, today, for your sake.

You’re worth it.  I know you are.

Anyway you cut it; this is the only dash you’re ever going to live, like this.

Why not do it proud?

Bring your A-game.

As Dylan Thomas, the Welsh poet wrote:

‘Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night.’

You don’t have to wait for an unthinkable diagnosis of your own, to paint over that which doesn’t fit into your perfect Life.

Bloom.  Flourish.  Thrive.  Evolve.

I challenge you to live your ideal masterpiece, now.

Dare to Live Your Dash.



Are you ready to see how your current Life measures up against your dream Life?  Does your Life already fit your ideal?  If not, what people or experiences do you think you might add?  What types of things would you cut out? 

Maybe something else has prompted you to examine your dash.  If so, please share your story, so others can learn. 

I’m living my dream Life…writing my blog, sharing my experiences with you through my seminars, e-books and work books. 

If you were drawn to this post and feel others need to read this, I’d be grateful if you would pass it on by clicking on the ‘share buttons’ below to email, tweet or facebook ‘like’ it.

I’d love for you to share your thoughts and experiences by leaving a comment below. Your feedback inspires me, so please don’t keep it all to yourself.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jody January 31, 2012 at 8:02 am

What an amazing post! the uplifting message is so clear, so inspiring it brought tears to my eyes! thank you.


Connie January 31, 2012 at 5:56 pm

Thank you for making the time to share your thoughts, Jody.

Wow! I’m honored to know that this post moved you, so.

My hope is that it inspires you to ‘live your dash’ however you see fit, so that you feel content, happy and complete when your dash transitions.



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